Athlone shortlisted for #shoplocal VillagePod app launch

Cormac McKenna, founder of the VillagePod app

Cormac McKenna, founder of the VillagePod app

Athlone has been shortlisted by new app VillagePod for its #shoplocal payment solution.

Hot on the heels of its successful pilot in the Wicklow towns of Bray and Greystones, the platform is emerging as a key tool for small businesses to signal to consumers that they intend to make shopping local a safe and rewarding experience.

Small Firms Association Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens estimates that if we all spent €20 a week in small businesses over the next three months it could boost the local economy by up to €875 million. The VillagePod app is designed to do just that and more, helping both the local community and economy to thrive. Crucially, the digital payments, gifting and rewards solution will help retail businesses to attract shoppers back in-store and keep them coming back.

When launched in late 2019 the Wicklow-based team behind the app never imagined a pandemic would result in such demand for VillagePod into towns and communities across Ireland so soon. The simple app, which allows small businesses to take contactless payment from consumers without expensive set-up costs, also features attractive customer reward tools to engage customers. Appealing to the lucrative gifting market, the app also supports retailer and local area gift cards to be delivered contactlessly and keep this money circulating in the local economy.

The company has made a proposal to Westmeath County Council to secure funding for a rollout of the shop local platform in Athlone town under the Government’s recently announced Town and Village Renewal Scheme for COVID-19 response measures.

“We’ve been greatly encouraged by the interest in the platform coming from local businesses and towns around Ireland and would love to be in position to rollout in the town of Athlone,” VillagePod Partnership Manager Louise O’Neill, remarked.

The availability of grants and local council supports for small businesses who need to improve their digital strategy for customers after COVID-19, represents ideal timing for businesses to adopt the VillagePod platform. Not only will businesses improve the safety of customers through contactless payment, but they can also boost the local economy through #shoplocal initiatives, offering rewards and enabling local area gift cards.

Business owners, local town committees and business community groups are encouraged to contact the VillagePod team to ensure that Athlone town is prioritised for full rollout and marketing support as part of the nationwide expansion. Email: [email protected] or visit


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