I have been running the Banbury-Cross website - www.banbury-cross.co.uk - since 1998. It is an Online directory of Businesses and Services in the Banbury area offering Free listings to ALL businesses based in OX15, OX16 & OX17. It makes money by charging anything from £60 - £240+vat per year to Upgrade listings.
It has been so successful that in 2011, I started setting up the business for Franchising - the new website is called the Shine Local Directory - www.shinelocal.co.uk - It will be run on the same basis as the original Banbury-Cross website offering Free listings to ALL businesses and small amounts to Upgrade their listings.
I have now moved to the Grantham area and I've set up Shine Local Grantham - www.shinelocal.co.uk/grantham - As of January 2015, it has approx. 500 listings of local businesses and I'm looking to get every single business in Grantham on the site - so if you're in business in Grantham, please get in touch with me !
If you are interested in running your own business, please consider the Shine Local Directory and feel free to contact me for an initial chat.
Well - I'll let you in on a secret - Raine Hilson is my married name and although I was divorced in 2002, I have kept on my married name - until now -
When I was trying to decide what to call my new website - I pondered for three months until someone from my youth rang me up and called me by my maiden name - which was Shine - yes - Raine Shine - this was my Birth Certificate name - and No my parents didn't have a sense of humour, they honestly didn't realise that the name would clash - if you want to know why - then ask and I'll tell you !
Anyways - I was in the music business for many years (Google me and you'll see more if you're interested) before retiring and leaving London - getting married and moving to Banbury.
I worked on the local newspapers selling advertising space for a few years before leaving to have my daughter. Friends from London told me about the internet in 1997 and I found a course I could do from home. So I borrowed a 486 computer and loaded up the course on 6 floppy discs and learnt HTML. The course obviously wanted me to design a basic website so I based it on the local newspaper - having a page for Property, a page for Motors, a page for Classifieds.... Hmmmm this is a great idea and thus the Banbury-Cross Website was born and launched on 1st September 1998.
I went into my previous customers' businesses with a laptop, plugging into their phone lines and showing them the internet when the biggest search engine was Yahoo !
The Banbury-Cross website grew and evolved through seven or eight different designs until I decided to get it ready to expand last year and Shine Local was born.