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Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA, and Leah Higens, executive director of the Ancaster Heritage Village BIA, check out the new app on Drewitt’s smartphone.

Mobile app showcases city’s BIAs

By Mike Pearson, News staff

If you’re searching for antiques on Locke Street, an authentic British pub in Ancaster, a book store on Concession Street or fine food in Dundas, there’s an app for that.

The Hamilton Association of Business Improvement Areas (HABIA) unveiled a new smartphone app on Thursday that allows users to instantly locate businesses in 10 of Hamilton’s 13 BIA districts. Along with maps and event listings, the app contains information on individual businesses and a search function. Users can search by business type or name and instantly find what they’re looking for. Fed by a content management system, information can be edited and adapted when new businesses come to town.

The free app is available at www.habiamobile.com.

Leah Higens, executive director of the Ancaster Heritage Village BIA, hopes the app will draw more visitors to the historic commercial area of Wilson Street East.

“We just want people to know a little bit more about what BIAs add to the city economically,” said Higens, who helped develop the app. The Ancaster BIA already has an online app at www.ancaster.mobi that links to the BIA website with a heritage walking tour of the area.

Other participating BIAs include Barton Village, Concession Street, Downtown Hamilton, Downtown Dundas, International Village, Locke Street, Ottawa Street, Waterdown and Westdale Village.

Kathy Drewitt hopes the app will showcase the unique attractions of downtown Hamilton like theatres, restaurants and clothing boutiques.

“Instead of going to the shopping mall, hopefully they’ll go to the shopping district,” said Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA.

Phyllis Kraemer, proprietor of The Keeping Room in Downtown Dundas is excited by the possibilities for the new app. The Dundas BIA already features a free downloaded mobile edition of its website available at www.downtowndundas.ca.

“I think any kind of promotional activity that benefits BIAs is good for us,” said Kraemer, president of the Downtown Dundas BIA.

Lynn Page, executive director of the Concession Street BIA, hopes the app will increase foot traffic through the commercial district.

“I hope it will make it easier for folks to realize how much we have in smaller square footage settings,” she said.

Along with helping to promote member businesses, Page sees the app as a way to market Hamilton as a tourist destination.

“It presents Hamilton as a package. It just gives people a good idea of what Hamilton has to offer,” she said.

Hamilton has a total of 13 BIAs within its city limits. BIAs in Stoney Creek, Main Street Esplanade and King Street West are not yet included in the HABIA mobile app.

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