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The Examiner Newspaper  4/13/04

The Grain Valley Pointe Newspaper  4/20/04
Grain Valley Family Builds Local Web Portal

Grain Valley, Missouri - Local family launches website to help businesses and consumers discover
comprehensive information about Grain Valley, Missouri.

A few months ago, local resident Marti Lawrence, severely broke her leg and was immobilized following the surgical
repair. To put a good spin on her condition, she began writing
humorous articles, which have been published in the
Examiner Newspaper. She also wanted to learn more about her community, and had the Internet as her companion.

She soon discovered there was no single website where comprehensive information about her town could be found.
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She began brainstorming ideas with her family on how they could enrich their area. Through her research on the Internet, Mrs. Lawrence realized there
was a new phenomenon just beginning, offering exactly what she was looking for -a Local Web Portal.

A portal is a kind of home base for Internet surfers, organizing the chaos of the Internet  to help users find local businesses and information. This Internet-
based neighborhood serves as a virtual Main Street, offering information about businesses, services,  government organizations, and nonprofit
organizations based in the same physical area.

She enlisted her family to help gather the necessary information, by culling local phone books and newspapers.  They searched the Internet for local
websites.  Her husband John, made notes during his daily commute, seeing new businesses opening or advertising. Every family member has helped
with the website building and design.

"There are lots of search engines that focus on national companies, but not many that focus on a local community, " says Mrs. Lawrence, "Since local
stores can't shout as loud as national ones, they benefit from being wrapped into a directory that attracts local shoppers.”

Having a website isn’t a requirement.  The Grain Valley Local Area Directory Information has all local businesses listed by their Business Name and
Street Address, at no charge.  Anyone can use the free classified advertising.  Event listings for churches, and community organizations are provided at
no charge.

‘We wanted to serve individuals looking for information with simple-to-understand divisions, and alphabetical listings by business name or category,” said
Mrs. Lawrence.

The first page (Home) has constantly updated instant weather and national news headlines.  Business information is listed in broad categories, (like
"Shopping"); in alphabetized listings by individual category, (like "Antiques"); and by alphabetized listings by name (like "The Brass Armadillo Antique

“Whenever possible, we have listed businesses and services from Grain Valley,”   Mrs. Lawrence said.  “If we were unable to fill a major category, we
have listed nearby businesses or services, or a reputable online equivalent.  If a website is available, it will be linked. We offer inexpensive website
design and hosting as well.”

In March 2004, DigitalDoorway.Net typically received 3,000 visitors and 12,000 page hits per week, largely through word-of-mouth.  Because there is no
advertising budget, the Lawrence children have been enlisted to pass out flyers to local businesses and residents.  “This is a team effort, everyone in the
family has been a big help” said Mrs. Lawrence.

"We’re not Internet tycoons," laughs Mrs. Lawrence, "but we are proud to have created this resource for Grain Valley residents, businesses and visitors.  
My family loves our community, and we want to do all we can for it.”

Mrs. Lawrence also volunteers as the webmaster for
Grain Valley Grad Night, the parent group that sponsors each year’s senior class all-night party
following graduation.
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