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Bay 9 News Article - Owing it all to the Internet

News  Owing it all to the Internet

Owing it all to the Internet

Mark Sternal writes books on how to play the guitar.
Opening a business is one thing, but getting customers in the door to spend money is another, which can be a real challenge if that business is in a smaller city.

However, technology is helping many small businesses in the Bay area.

Swimming with manatees in Citrus County is a popular thing to do, but for many small town businesses like Bird's Underwater Dive Shop in Crystal River, to keep in business the word must be spread.

"I'd say my web site brings in about 75 percent of my business," owner Diane Oestrich said. "I do not believe that is an exaggeration in any way."

She said the Internet is changing the way small business does business, especially in rural areas. If Oestrich couldn't advertise on the Internet, she said it would be hard to keep a-float.

"Oh, I wouldn't be," Oestrich said. "I'd be down to one boat and probably going out of one of these local hotels. Locally, I do not have a whole lot of business."

She isn't the only small business owner who relies on the Internet to keep things rolling in the county. Things are jamming business wise for Mark Sternal, who writes books about how to play guitar. He said if his customers couldn't buy his books over the Internet his business might not survive.

"When it started going out on the Internet, word spread and that's how we sold so many books and it was all by word of mouth," Sternal said. "Recently, we started to get into book and music stores, so our entire success, we owe that to the Internet."

Oestrich said the business she gets from people finding her on the Internet filters into other businesses around the county like hotels and restaurants.

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