Two Slippery Rock University students have created a Twitter page called SR Billboard, which helps students find the best deals on food, shopping or local events around Slippery Rock.
Zach Harris, a junior marketing major, and Anthony Billhimer, a freshman business major, created the handle @SR_Promotions to help the student body find the best deals that can save students money.
Harris said the idea came to them one night when the two were hungry and wanted to get something to eat, but didn’t have a lot of money to spend on food. Billhimer mentioned how hard it is to find these deals online, and how they had to go through each website looking for the specials and deals.
“We spent all of winter break setting up meetings with the GMs and district managers of different businesses, and gave them the whole business plan,” Harris said. “We wanted to make it a win-win situation for their business. If you give our students some deals, then we’ll get you some more customers. We were really excited about it.”
It started off with just some flyers handed out to businesses, and some took it and some thought it wasn’t big enough yet, Billhimer said. Billhimer said the notice of the administration and student body helped them get going.
“Now that we’ve been gaining followers and had stuff written on us, it has gained us a bigger level of respect,” Billhimer said. “We’re working with Sheetz right now, and that’s the golden ticket.”
Harris and Billhimer admitted that at first it wasn’t easy to get followers, but once they knew what they were doing it became much easier.
“I think getting followers when we first started was the hardest,” Billhimer said. “We had zero followers to start off with, and we’re trying to gain respect but we didn’t have any clients. Once we started getting followers and told them the deals were coming, it got a lot better and easier for us. I think we have close to 800 followers now, and growing each day.”
Harris said that meetings they had with local businesses were easier than getting the students to buy what they were selling.
“Businesses liked what we said and they saw dollar signs, but students needed to be convinced this would help them,” Harris said.
Harris and Billhimer discussed how their majors haven’t necessarily helped with doing this, but have helped them better understand them.
“It has given us the opportunity for real world experience doing something we both like to do,” Harris said.
Harris said that learning stuff in the classroom and then getting to do it on their page is a great feeling. Billhimer said the passion for business came from his father when he was young.
“I wouldn’t say my business major helped me, but my business passion did,” Billhimer said. “I just love business. My dad’s been in business his whole life, and being around him helped me a lot. It makes me want to keep gaining that level of respect, and one day become an entrepreneur. I remember I would go around my neighborhood on my skateboard doing tricks for a dollar. I just love business.”
Harris said this business they started has helped in the classroom, and has given them hands-on experience. Billhimer said the goal is expand to different campuses, with the University of Pittsburgh maybe being the next location.
The similar businesses around Oakland that are also in Slippery Rock is what makes it appeal to Pitt, Billhimer said.
“As long as we have good projections here, then starting this up at other schools shouldn’t be an issue,” Billhimer said.
The feedback from the school has been something that neither of the two saw coming, Harris said.
Billhimer and Harris agreed that they have enjoyed the feedback from campus, and it’s been a great experience for them.
“One of my professors was standing in the middle of the room and started clapping, then the whole class started clapping,” Harris said.” I had no idea what was going on then I turned around and saw our face on the projector. He told me to explain the business once he pulled the Twitter page up. It was pretty awesome to give an on-the-spot presentation on it in front of my class.”
Billhimer said that the two were never doing this for the credit or the recognition around campus, but for the students.
Harris said the two wanted to remain anonymous, but an article by the school as well as pictures prevented that from occurring.
“We’re not doing it for the credit or to become popular, but for the students here,” Billhimer said. “We want he students to save money, and for restaurants to get more customers.”