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October 9, 2012

Website features downtown Utica’s goings-on

By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer

UTICA — Anyone who doesn’t know why zombies are roaming the streets of downtown Utica Oct. 13 clearly did not visit www.utica-events.com.

The Take a Bite Out of Utica zombie crawl was one of the first events posted to the new website owned and operated by John Sattmann, who is looking to better promote the various entertainment opportunities in the historic downtown.

“When we try to do something downtown, it’s hard getting the word out,” said Sattmann, who regularly has events at his restaurant, the Cass Bar and Grill.

“Basically (www.utica-events.com) is a free service to anyone who has an event. We’re not looking for things like garage sales, but it’s a way for businesses to promote what they have going on.”

Phil and Kim Stone, owners of Pop! Comics, Caffeine and Gaming, organized the zombie walk and said that Sattmann’s website was a natural extension of their online promotions, which had previously been restricted to Facebook.

“It just expands what you’re already doing, and it brings it together as the community,” Phil Stone said of www.utica-events.com.

“As a use, it’s a nice central thing to go on to. If I’m in Utica, I have a source to go to if I’m looking for something to do over the weekend. It’s a great avenue.”

Through the promotion on their store’s Facebook page and the zombie crawl’s Facebook page, Stone said he had generated some interest in the zombie event.

That interest spiked to 250 registered undead wannabes once the crawl was posted on Sattmann’s site.

“There’s been a lot of people,” Stone said of the increased traffic he’s seen on his shop’s Facebook page because of the links from Sattmann’s site. “And I watch it daily. There’s two to three more likes on the page than I would normally get.”

Along with simply letting the public at large know about an event, Sattmann’s site also allows organizers to keep the public abreast of any changes and added features to the event.

By linking to the event’s Facebook page, interested parties in the zombie walk were able to find out that while the Red Cross Bloodmobile is unavailable for the event because of a scheduling conflict, they can still support the charity through $5 donations that come with food and drink specials at downtown restaurants.

It also showcased late additions to the event, which will run from 2-9 p.m. Oct. 13 and start with zombie-fication at Pop! at 45613 Cass Ave.

“We brought in a Star Wars artist, Matt Bush; he just donated a bunch of posters that we’re auctioning off at the store — Hollywood posters that are zombie-fied,” Stone said of auctions he added to the event after a recent comic convention.

Along with links to event websites, www.utica-events.com offers event organizers an opportunity to post a small, 40-word description of the event, a piece of artwork or flyer and any contact information.

“The response has been overwhelming, and a lot of it has come off that new site that he has put up,” Stone said. “It’s really expanded our reach when it comes to that. And it doesn’t cost anything — about as free as Facebook.”

The site is privately owned and operated by Sattmann, who manages all content on the site.

“We went with www.utica-events.com instead of www.uti caevents.com because this domain name cost me $2 instead of $800,000,” Sattman quipped. “This is my site, this is what I’m doing and this is why we’re trying to keep it simple.”

For more information on the site or to post an event, contact Sattmann at jsattmann@comcast.net or at (248) 891-0829.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at bbates@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.