SRU students hope Twitter feed will satisfy classmates’ stomachs
(From left) Zach Harris, a marketing major from Brownsville, and Anthony Billhimer, a business major from Gibsonia have developed SR Billboard. The Twitter feed provides “the best deals in town on food, shopping and local events” for SRU students.
Jan. 30, 2017
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Finding the best deal on local food and drink isn't always as easy you might think. Even with a laptop or smartphone, it's easy to spend more time than you want to combing the web for discounts on a deep dish pizza or a few bucks off the a burger.
Fortunately, for students at Slippery Rock University, Zach Harris, a marketing major from Brownsville, and Anthony Billhimer, a business major from Gibsonia, have a solution - SR Billboard.
The Twitter feed - which can be found by the handle @SR_Promotions - advertises "the best deals in town on food, shopping or any local events."
The concept is simple. SR Billboard seeks out, solicits and partners with local businesses, including Dominos, McDonalds and Bobba Tea Shop; develops exclusive discounts for SRU students; and promotes them via social media. All that is required to reap the rewards is a student ID card at the time of purchase.
The need for such a service struck Haris and Billheimer when sitting at a computer painstakingly digging through restaurant websites for discounts and deals.
"As broke college students, we realized how difficult it is to find deals and quality food at inexpensive prices," said Billhimer. "We began to think how much easier it would be if there was just one source that could direct people to every deal in town."
It was at that moment, said Harris, that the pair asked themselves "Why don't we create it ourselves?"
While food has been a primary focus of SR Billboard, Harris and Billhimer are dedicated to expanding the feed's benefits beyond pizza slices and are hard at work on bringing shopping and event opportunities to their followers.
"We have asked ourselves 'What does a college student like to do?' and then we act accordingly," said Billhimer. "Being students ourselves, it is easy to see things from that perspective."
Haris cited the variety of existing discounts available to students that simply are under promoted.
"Grove City Premium Outlets is a good example," he said. "Some stores may have a 10 or 20 percent discount available, but students are unaware of the opportunities. That is where we are stepping in."
SRU students are taking notice. Within two hours of its initial post in December, the Twitter feed had accumulated 80 followers.
"Our initial goal was to have 250 followers before the start of the spring semester," said Billhimer. "We ended up with over 600. We've gotten so much positive feedback and our fellow students have definitely helped spread the word.
With a fast-growing base of followers, Harris and Billheimer are already thinking of possible "expansion" into other social media sites, including Instagram and Snapchat.
"It's the best feeling in the world, not only getting to enjoy the business, but also seeing the students' interaction with our page, giving us shout-outs and support. They definitely want to see this succeed and we want to see it succeed for them. It's exciting to be able to make a positive impact for our fellow students and the local businesses," said Harris.
The pair is working on potential partnerships with Sheetz, Primanti Brothers, Compadres and Nico Luciano's as well as the possibility of extending their offers to include other local universities down the road.
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