AUSTIN (KXAN) — Yelp, the consumer review based website, is launching a holiday winterization fund to help small businesses in the area cover the costs of preparing for the winter season. Yelp users can nominate their favorite local businesses to receive money for extreme weather preparations.
“We set up a winterization fund. It’s a $100,000 fund. We are helping businesses in the Austin and San Antonio areas get ready for the possible extreme weather that we can experience in winter as we all discovered last February. It can wreck havoc. We wanted to help with preparations,” Katie Burbank, the Yelp community director, explained.
“Anyone in Texas can nominate their favorite local business in the Austin and San Antonio and surrounding areas now through December 17,” she added, “to potentially win $10,000 dollars to help with things like weather stripping and sealing, installing pipes, having generators on hand.”
Yelp is often associated with restaurant reviews from your peers, but any business with a brick and mortar can be nominated. That includes your favorite mechanic, to your favorite coffee shop or your favorite pediatrician’s office — as long as it’s a small business. Yelp defines a small business as those having fewer than six locations.
“Your big chains, they don’t necessary need your help this winter. They might be doing just fine, especially after Black Friday sales,” Burbank said. “We want to concentrate on those small mom and pops that really are the heart and soul of Austin, San Antonio and the surrounding areas.”
Burbank said having Yelp users nominate their favorite locations allows them an opportunity to be a part of the action.
“We want to give the opportunity for folks to get in on the action by really showing their local business some love. It’s one thing to log onto Yelp to write a review. Which is amazing. It’s another thing to say ‘hey I love you guys so much, I nominated you to win $10,000 to help with these preparations for winter.’
Yelp will award $10,000 dollars apiece to 10 local businesses as part of the $100,000 fund.
Last winter Yelp data reflected the need in Texas for services professionals. Consumer interest in Texas in February and March of this year spiked in categories like chimney sweeps (+64%), fireplace services (+30%), generator installation and repair (+30%), water heater installation and repair (+16%), and plumbing (+10%).
You can submit a nomination here.