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On the Town: RYP Perks app connects users to local businesses

Erin Burd (RYP lead networking liaison) and Melissa Killeleagh (RYP networking liaison) display the RYP Perks app on their phones.

Erin Burd (RYP lead networking liaison) and Melissa Killeleagh (RYP networking liaison) display the RYP Perks app on their phones.

Rochester Young Professionals gathered at the Strathallan on Thursday to celebrate the re-launch of their RYP Perks Program – this time as an app instead of a discount card.

RYP President Brad Flower spoke with energy and enthusiasm about the community collaboration the organization enjoys, noting that nearly 550 RYP members attended the original discount card launch in 2012.

Hanok George and Pauleen Vacca served as co-chairs in the conversion of the discount card into an app available for Android and iOS systems. Jamie Matthews, a mobile application developer at iVEDIX, helped develop the app.

The home page of the app lists categories (arts & entertainment; restaurants & bars; etc.) as an easy way to locate participating businesses, and representatives of some of those businesses were on hand at the social gathering to reinforce their interest in reaching the young leaders in the community.

George, an employment law associate at Littler Mendelson, joined RYP in 2012 when he first moved to Rochester.

“Being a transplant, I found that RYP was a great way to connect with new people and learn about Rochester,” George said. “It is a very unique organization that balances business, social and volunteer events very adeptly. I joined the board of RYP in February 2014. I found I had gained so much as a member of the organization and I wanted to give back.”

Founded in 2002, RYP is an organization that coordinates, collaborates and promotes events around Rochester that are social, volunteer or informational in nature. Current membership exceeds 5,500, and there is no cost to join RYP nor is there any cost for a business to join the RYP Perks program. Of the more than 100 businesses currently participating, some offer trial services, discounted prices, repeated business discounts and other creative perks.

Hart’s Local Grocer – which is all about local – was one of the spotlighted businesses at the event.

Midtown Athletic Club, LSC Entertainment and Salububrious InSPArations, along with the Strathallan, pitched in to sponsor the RYP social gathering.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and her chief of staff, Jeremy Cooney, mingled with peers and colleagues, sharing in the excitement that this young crowd brings to any initiative.

“I’m hoping you’ll add some babysitting services to the list of businesses,” Warren chimed in, praising the group for its creativity.

Also on hand were representatives from the Ugly Disco, promoting this year’s 12th annual event to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“Last year we raised $25,000,” explained Reagan Burns, noting that discounted tickets to the March 7 event were available. “We are shooting for $100,000 this year.”

George added: “If there are local businesses you want to see added to the RYP Perk program, let us know via the RYP website.”

What could be a better marketing plan if you wish to get young professionals acquainted with your local business? To join, contact Hanok George or Pauleen Vacca at RYPPerks@gmail.com.

Photos by Nora A. Jones

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren recognizes the vitality of Rochester Young Professionals in Rochester’s renaissance.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren recognizes the vitality of Rochester Young Professionals in Rochester’s renaissance.

With the reception from 6 to 9 p.m., the make-up of the crowd was constantly changing.

With the reception from 6 to 9 p.m., the make-up of the crowd was constantly changing.

Hanok George (associate at Littler Mendelson) and Pauleen Vacca (founder of Pauleenanne Design) co-chaired the effort to convert an already popular RYP discount card into an easy-to-use app.

Hanok George (associate at Littler Mendelson) and Pauleen Vacca (founder of Pauleenanne Design) co-chaired the effort to convert an already popular RYP discount card into an easy-to-use app.

Adrienne Schleigh and Reagan Burns were on hand to promote the upcoming Ugly Disco event to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Adrienne Schleigh and Reagan Burns were on hand to promote the upcoming Ugly Disco event to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Andrew Katz, communications director at Hart’s Local Grocer, offered a discount coupon to the East End store, noting that the same discount is available via the iPhone app.

Andrew Katz, communications director at Hart’s Local Grocer, offered a discount coupon to the East End store, noting that the same discount is available via the iPhone app.