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Blue Sky Local has retailers wishing for rain

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Weather can have a big impact on local businesses. How many times have you wanted to go out to dinner but decided not to because it was raining? Now Blue Sky Local, a company that lets retailers send text messages, emails and Twitter promotions to customers, is looking to help businesses overcome the slow sales due to bad weather.

Blue Sky Local keeps tabs on the weather through a national weather API, and automatically sends promotions for retailers when bad weather is imminent. Co-founder Matt Ackerson (pictured above) explains how the system checks the weather:

Four times a day, at 2 a.m., 8 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m., our system “wakes up” and checks the present and predicted weather conditions for the next 12 hours. So say a restaurant hurts on rainy days, Blue Sky Local will wake up at 2 p.m., and perhaps see that although it’s not raining right now, there’s a high probability that it will later that evening. Thus a coupon promotion is triggered and sent out instantly at that moment. The timing gives customers enough of a heads up to make plans for dinner and to redeem the offer.

Blue Sky Local helps retailers get customers to sign-up to receive promotions. From there, the retailer uploads their information, such as an email address or cell phone number into an online dashboard accessed from the Blue Sky Local web site. Once the customer is added to a retailer’s distribution list, they are able to receive promotions. It’s up to the retailer how often and when promotions are sent.

Competition for Blue Sky Local around text and email marketing may be tough to overcome. Companies like Constant Contact or Eztexting.com all provide the option to contact customers with information, and have been around a lot longer.

The Huntington, N.Y.-based company, founded in 2009, has several well known restaurants participating, including Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings. The service cost is based on outgoing volume, but starts at $99 a month.