By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank RiverCenter, the downtown business-promotion entity, has gone mobile with the introduction of an app for iPhones and iPads.
“It’s part of our marketing mission, getting information about Red Bank out far and wide, and making it easy to come to the theaters and restaurants and stores in town,” says RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams.
She envisions visitors getting off the train and using their iPhones to find places to go.
“There are who just don’t want the paper” on which directories and maps have heretofore been printed, she says.
Mimicking RiverCenter’s website, and branded with the agency’s “Only One Red Bank” slogan, the app’s meatiest element is its business directory, broken down into categories of dining, shopping arts and services.
Users can dig into “books” in the shopping list, for example, and find, well, no book stores, but two retailers carrying books among their wares.
Under “Italian” in the dining list are 20 eateries, including Mr. Pizza Slice and Sicilia Café. Listings include tap-to-call phone numbers and links to websites, where available.
The app features a page of “hot deals,” though no deals are yet being offered.
“We’re hoping to have our local ‘Groupon-ish’ feature loaded with special offers very soon, says longtime borough resident Steven Craig Sickles, who built the app, at no charge, using it as a prototype for a service he plans to offer elsewhere.
An events calendar, so far showing Tuesday night’s Menorah Lighting at the train station (no time given) and successive $5 Cheese Fridays at the Cheese Cave on Monmouth Street.
Municipal phone numbers
RSS feeds from two news sources, one of them being the area’s only independent, Authentically Local online publication: redbankgreen.
“To cement the app’s hometown appeal,” Sickles says he’ll be adding “more local interest and social networking features, including resident, local journalist and business blogs, and even a feature that will allow users to know when their other friends are in town.”
The app uses Google Maps to direct users, and as some of its familiar errors are immediately evident. The locator map for the mid-block Bagel Station on Monmouth Street, for example, shows it at the corner of Monmouth and Water streets the actual location of Juanito’s restaurant. Juanito’s, meanwhile, appears to be located on the railroad tracks at the nearby train station.
The app still has some glitches to be worked out, Adams says. And there’s no non-Apple version available yet, though RiverCenter is exploring the possibility of getting one.