Many college students are on a tight budget and most can appreciate a good deal when they see one. Campus Pinch, a website that connects students with local businesses, seeks to help college students find deals on a daily basis.
Western alumnus Brendan Pape, co-owner of Campus Pinch, said the website helps local businesses target a college-aged demographic. Since Jan. 16, the site has targeted students through Facebook and word-of-mouth and has more than 300 members and more than 20 businesses involved, he said.
Starting in February, the website will post deals ahead of time so students can plan better. This change is based on feedback from users since the website launched in January.
Pape said there would be a calendar on the site, so students can see what deals will be offered for the month.
He wants to partner with Western to help get more businesses involved. Eventually, he hopes the website will branch out to other universities.
Co-owner and Western senior Casey McEnry said they plan to expand to Whatcom Community College as well as schools in Seattle. He said they also have connections with schools out of state.
However, the main goal right now is to perfect the business model at Western, he said.
“We want to make sure we do it right here before we go anywhere else,” McEnry said.
The goal of Campus Pinch is to create easy, accessible deals for students from local businesses on a daily basis, he said. McEnry said they only do deals that are at least 50 percent off.
“We want it to be a website people religiously use and can benefit from,” Pape said.
Another important goal of Campus Pinch is to connect students with local businesses that they wouldn’t otherwise hear about, McEnry said.
McEnry said the original business plan came from Western graduate student Kyle Maltz, who was working with The Big Idea Lab, a Bellingham-based small-business incubator that connects entrepreneurs with experienced mentors.
After creating the business plan, Maltz enrolled in Western’s MBA program and McEnry and Pape took over the business. Maltz is still a partial owner of the business, but has not been involved in the day-to-day running of Campus Pinch since its launch in January.