Launched by Williams in 2019, the app was intended to support businesses in the region by providing news, events, business and job listings for the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.
Since its launch, the app has been a finalist in the McLaren Vale Business and Tourism Awards each year, winning the home-based business category in 2022.
The small core team behind the app includes Susie, news editor Julia Beckett and sports editor Anthony Tucker.
“I’ve got two very stable people that are my rocks in the app, and I’m pretty proud that they love what I’m doing as well so we can all do it together,” Williams said.
Williams grew up in a regional community on the Eyre Peninsula and noticed that the bigger she got, the smaller the community around her became.
“Local shops would do what all regional shops and businesses do and support local sporting clubs, but unfortunately our community didn’t support those businesses enough to keep their shopfronts open,” she said.
Importing a good idea
While working as a precision viticulture consultant, Williams moved to Marlborough, New Zealand and began taking on work as a photographer with a local newspaper and magazine.
In her last year in New Zealand, she helped to launch Marlborough App, a digital compliment to the publications and brought that idea back with her to McLaren Vale.
“After I moved back to the Fleurieu I decided an app could help encourage the region to shop local and help locals and visitors to find businesses and events operating around them,” she said.
Williams approached the business which produced the platform for the Marlborough App to create an app for the South Australian locale, and then tailored the contents of the app to suit the region.
“It’s about keeping communities connected – local news and sports, celebrating our region, community groups, local radio, what’s on this weekend, the app has all these things,” Williams said.
The app can deliver push notifications warning of car accidents and fires, letting users know to avoid those areas.
More than locals
The app has also been popular with tourists and visitors.
“I always say that it’s a local app, but for visitors to the region it’s a bonus,” Williams said.
“We have plenty of people download it because they are down for the holidays or the summer.
“There are QR codes in visitor centres which direct visitors to the app, as well as AirBnBs in the region that recommend it to guests.”
Williams said the feedback she has received has been encouraging and humbling.
“Each little milestone has been extremely exciting because it means that everyone else is loving what I’m trying to do as well,” she said.
“Making that impact and having people tell you so is pretty exciting, especially since I’ve come from an agricultural background and most of that time is fairly solitary.
“It’s really nice to be able to do something for the community and give back to a region that we absolutely adore.”
Williams said several visitors have asked if she plans to expand, saying their regions could benefit from their own apps.
“My real vision is to make sure that maybe 80 or 90 per cent of the little businesses in our region are supported on the app,” she said.
“Plus I have a wall full of ideas of different things that I want to create that add even more function for both locals and visitors.
“It’s in the back of my head to expand to other regions, I’d love to do that, but I would need to make sure that the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island version is the absolute best that it can be first.”
Fleurieu App is available on Google Play and the App Store, and a web version is available at Fleurieu News.Jump to next article