College offers free development of ordering sites for businesses

Published 03.21.2020

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Pennsylvania College of Technology students, guided by a quick-thinking faculty mentor in partnership with the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, are providing a true community service: facilitating online ordering pages for businesses still permitted to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

When the Chamber sent out an email with a listing of local restaurants that were still accepting orders and providing take-out meals, assistant professor Spyke M. Krepshaw realized that you couldn't order online for many of them ... and that some don't even have websites.

"I strongly believe that we need to help support the people and businesses in our community during this time of crisis, so I came up with the idea of offering my services free of charge to help businesses start selling their goods online," explained Krepshaw, lead faculty member for the college's web and interactive media major.

He started messaging various businesses Friday afternoon, then realized later that night that he could do more.

"The Chamber has been doing a great job of sending periodic emails keeping people informed," he said. "I thought, 'What if the Chamber made this a mass announcement for all businesses, not just ones in the food industry? And what if my students could get in on the action, too?' All of my students are capable of putting something like this together with a quick turnaround."

He contacted Chamber President/CEO Jason C. Fink at about 11:30 p.m., and got immediate buy-in for the joint initiative.

"We are excited to partner with Penn College on this effort to bring local commerce to those companies here in our community that are still operating," Fink said. "The Chamber appreciates Spyke Krepshaw and his students in coming forward to assist those currently without a company presence to develop an online sales outlet for them. We will be working with all businesses here in the county independent of a Chamber membership. At this time, we all need to come together in supporting one another."

The Chamber will promote the new resource and will continue to push it out as it grows. Those already with an online presence have been asked to forward their links for inclusion on the main landing page that is being developed.

"I think this is a great example of what Penn College stands for," Krepshaw said. "Not only are our students getting real-world experience, but we are giving back to the community that we love so much."