“You’ve all heard and probably used daily deal and online shopping sites before, but Markdown Marketplace is a different opportunity,” Santarelli writes.
The site “support[s] handpicked vendors that operate their business the right way and exemplify the values that make this country great,” he explains. “The online marketplace will give these businesses a chance to sell their products to consumers they could not ordinarily reach, and give consumers a chance to support the great small businesses that are the backbone of the economy.”
So why did Glenn Beck decide to get involved in the online market?
“I am launching the Markdown Marketplace so we all can have a place where we can support great small businesses,” Beck told The Blaze. “A place where you can put your money where your heart is.”
And launched it has. A GigaOM exclusive provides us with details: customers can now browse over 1,500 products in categories including food and beverage, camping gear, toys, games, and educational material, from over 50 stores all while supporting the backbone of the U.S. economy -- small business.
“We are handpicking and curating [small businesses] for our audience,” Markdown.com president Keith Ferry told GigaOM. “They all met the rigorous criteria we set up,” including tests of samples and customer service reviews, the report adds.
But just as important as the rigorous quality tests is the fact that many of these stores "have a story to tell," as Ferry puts it.
For example, maybe “they suffered a layoff and picked themselves back up off the mat to support their family. That’s probably the biggest requirement. Each company has a story to tell about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Our audience connects very well with that.”
Blaze readers may be familiar with some of Marketplace's vendors: MyPatriotSupply.com, EmergencyGoBags.com, Simple Schooling, and Creative Learning Connection. But there are definitely some newcomers you'll want to check out: Sent For Him (Christian greeting cards), BaconFreak (which is the most incredible thing we’ve ever heard of...seriously), Nuts For You, The Charleston Soap Chef, and several others.
“First and foremost it’s the stories, being able to connect with a small business in a way that [shoppers] ordinarily cannot do online,” Ferry said. “It harkens back to the days when you could walk down Main Street in your own town and do business with a handshake. That’s the kind of environment we want to create.”
And in the words of the site founder: “As a small business owner myself, I strongly believe in the power of small businesses. Their stories, their products and their passion is what makes America great,” Beck told GigaOM.
Glenn himself has also devoted an entire segment of tonight's show to the new service. Watch him explain Markdown Marketplace below:
This story has been updated.