EDWARDSVILLE - The Mass Communications department at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville has enjoyed a longtime reputation for turning out students who excel at fields such as journalism, broadcasting, advertising and other fields in communications.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chairman of the department has helped to develop an app that will assist people in finding small businesses that offers curbside services.

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Dr. Musonda Kapatamoyo, the chairman of the SIUE Mass Communications department, has joined forces with Jerry Grankaloff of Glen Carbon to develop Madison Curbside, an online app that helps users find various businesses that offer both curbside orders and pickups of items such as food and retail items, among others.

"It's a geolocation app, using GPS, and then tracks (businesses) by links by search engines," said Kapatamoyo, "it links to its entire presence on social media. etc., so people can find them my any means."

The reasons for helping to develop the app were very simple.

"I have a colleague that owns a chef's shop in Edwardsville," Kapatamoyo said. "When the store was closed, I thought there would be more stores closed, but there could do curbside service, and how do you find it? So we thought of an app to highlight businesses that would be able to sell and offer curbsides."

It's a simple app to use. People can either enter some key words of what they're looking for or can use various search links to find businesses offering the curbside services. The search then links up the user with various businesses that are offering curbside service. In addition, another feature of the app pinpoints exact locations of businesses that are offering the service, along with information about the businesses and offers that they may have.

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Kapatamoyo believes that the app helps both the various small businesses that offer the services along with customers who are searching for those businesses.

"We wanted to help people find those businesses," Kapatamoyo said. "We believe that it helps the businesses, and helps customers find those businesses."

The app has been open for only a week, and has had many listings for businesses in Edwardsville, and a few in Alton. Kapatamoyo is hoping to help get the word out about his app in places such as Alton, Granite City, Highland, Troy, Collinsville and other cities in Madison County, and also hopes to feature more businesses in the county as things move along.

"It just started last week, so we're adding on as many as we can," Kapatamoyo said. "If we can add more on, that would be great."

The important thing is to help highlight the small businesses that are offering the services and connect them to customers to help everyone succeed.

"It's able to connect small businesses to help sell on the curbsides," Kapatamoyo said, "but essentially, we hope for success in helping the small businesses."

For more information about Madison Curbside, please log on to the site, www.madisoncurbside.com, or please E-mail info@madisoncurbside.com.

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