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Online Startup Business Keeps Central Missouri Connected

Say goodbye to endless Internet searches in the central Missouri area. Events, restaurants, forums and more can now be found in one convenient location thanks to Web developers Mark Beall and Ben Seidel.
Beall and Seidel launched their website, CentralMO.com, in August 2009. “We had the idea to create CentralMo.com because we found there was not a single website that pulled all of central Missouri together as kind of a one-stop shop to look for resources in the area,” says Beall, co-owner of CentralMO.com. “Everything was kind of disjointed or focused specifically on Columbia.” With this website, the entire community is brought together to give people a single place to search for the information and resources they need.
CentralMO.com functions as an online community resource for the central Missouri region. The website offers a free classified section, a business directory and a local events calendar. “There’s also a social networking aspect to it as well,” Beall says. “It’s kind of like a Facebook interface as well as a forum so people can post new things happening in the area.” In this regard, website visitors act as customers and are able to connect with other residents, find out about local events and businesses and buy and sell items locally. Area businesses are able to advertise through the site using both general and targeted marketing.
A cutting-edge aspect of the company is that both Seidel and Beall are Web developers. “We like taking the latest and greatest new technologies in website development and integrating that into CentralMO.com,” Seidel says. “That enables us as designers to present the newest services or come up with new ideas in this realm.”
Seidel and Beall agree that the goal is to provide the region with a single location to find information about Columbia and the surrounding communities. “We want to be the name people think of first when turning to the Internet in search of all things local,” Seidel says.
In terms of business structure, Beall and Seidel are co-owners, and both handle the day-to-day operation of the business. “I’m the primary developer of the website as far as coding and the implementation,” Beall says. “Ben is definitely quality control. We complement each other well on that. Ben’s also good at looking at ways we can improve.”
“Operating our own business has been both a freeing experience but also quite the challenge,” Seidel says.
CentralMO.com is continually adapting to new technologies. “We have the flexibility to increase the value of the website by implementing new and different features,” Beall says. “As Web developers, that’s what sets us apart.”

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