While big box stores are easy to spot in Town of Plattsburgh, mom and pop businesses make up the City of Plattsburgh.
"Irises has been here for 15 years and I can't tell you the number of people who walk in and say how long have you been open, I never knew you were here," said Carol McLean, owner of Irises Cafe & Wine Bar.
It's stories like that that have inspired the city's PlattInfo project. "It's designed specifically for small businesses in the city," said Jesse Feiler, who designer of the PlattInfo software.
The city is installing three touch screen kiosks with information about restaurants, shopping, recreation venues, events and historic sites in the Lake City. The screen provides information in English and French, since the Canadian border is just 25 miles away.
"Sometimes when you are lost, you might be a little hesitant to go up to someone on the street if you think you might not speak the language, so here we have something where you can just interact with it, touch a knife or a fork to find where a restaurant is," Feiler said.
The kiosks are managed through a central database. Businesses and attractions design their own page and pay between $50 and $150 a year to have their information displayed.
"It's something any small business can afford, it's equivalent to one small print ad, the marketing and exposure you are getting for a full year, people coming up and seeing it, it's certainly more affordable and hopefully reach more people," McLean said.
Each kiosk cost several thousand dollars -- funded by a state grant.
"Definitely this is another tool, just another avenue. Hopefully we will be able to attract the out of town tourists business and even for local people it is a great tool to remind or refresh yourself what's available in town," McLean said.
To start with, two Kiosks located across from City Hall, at the corner of Bridge and Durkee Streets, go up this week. A third will be installed on Dock Street during the summer. If they are popular, the city will consider adding more. The city is also looking to provide the information over the web and on smart phones.
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