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Drew Ferguson of West Point easily outdistanced Republican challenger Phillip Singleton to win the Republican nomination for Georgia’s Third Congressional District Tuesday evening. (Contributed)

Ferguson takes part in local internet crawl at local businesses

By Jenna Oden
Times-News

Drew Ferguson, who represents Georgia’s third Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, stopped in LaGrange Friday afternoon to talk with local businesses about how internet has an influence on their businesses.

Ferguson was joined by representatives from Amazon and Facebook, along with representatives from the Internet Association whom were hosting the ‘Internet Community Crawl.’

The ‘Crawl’ group made its first stop at the LaGrange Art Museum to talk with Laura Jennings, executive director of the museum and Laura Albert, deputy director of the museum.

“We have switched to online responses in submitting grants,” Jennings said. “It is no longer making copies and sending them in, instead, we are scanning them.”

Albert said the change to online applications in the recent years has been a big change for them.

“We also use email marketing to target members, donors and we also want them to know about our exhibitions and all of our events,” Albert said. “We use our website so children can sign up for classes and then we also use social media to show our programming. We have audience development and engagement through that.”

Ferguson commented that having the free broadband internet access in LaGrange opens options for career and learning accessibilities.

“Broadband opens up a whole new world of educational and career opportunities and is critical to ensuring folks in Georgia’s Third district have access to the same opportunities as the rest of the country,” Ferguson said. “By providing all residents access to broadband, the LaGrange community has been at the forefront.”

Ferguson and the other representatives hit four shops in the downtown square and walked from each one. On their second stop, Rick Brock, owner of Golden’s Bike Shop, talked about how important it has been to share things on social media.

“Pretty much anything I do gets put on Facebook,” Brock said. “I like to create a dialogue using Facebook to make a social environment.”

Brock said his main use of the internet is not only to help sell his inventory but also to drive a focus on his events.

“Pretty much everything I order is through the internet where I am connected with five or six suppliers,” Brock said. “I do a lot of live Facebook posts and have a wide charismatic personality.”

Before walking to the last stop, the group transitioned from art and bikes to cuisines. Tulla White Cuisine and Catering recently revamped its website, and manager Teresa Dutton said it was completely worth the cost.

“We saw an increased amount of people come to us,” Dutton said. “They can search the internet and see us. Our commercial events and catering come from people doing searches and seeing photos and us.”

Ferguson said that he was extremely impressed with their success along and the visual aspect work they do.  For the last stop, the group made their way to the end of Main Street to talk with Wild Leap co-owner Rob Goldstein about their rapid rise with the internet as the brewery planted its roots in LaGrange.

“Marketing and branding need to be just as important the liquid in the can,” Goldstein said.