Frogapalooza: Disco bash to benefit Habitat for HumanityWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Eventgoers can catch some “Saturday Night Fever” to benefit Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity at Frogapalooza Disco Bash on Oct. 20.
“We want people to dress up in their best disco attire with their platform shoes,” said Gary Ross, one of the developers behind Frogtowndeals.com, the business behind the bash. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Ross runs the sales part of Frogtowndeals.com, a website for local businesses that offers daily deals à la Groupon. His partner Todd Gagné runs the technology side of things and Brent Fink backs the pair up.
“Part of what our company wants to do is really help and work with the community and charities. We really want to be involved. This is just the first thing that we want to do,” Gagné said. “[Habitat does] so much for the community and there’s a lot of people involved with it and it brings communities together.”
During the past 20 years, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity has built 150 homes for needy families with the help of more than 7,000 volunteers.
The Frogtown website officially launched in July and recently partnered with Clear Channel to feature deals on the radio. Frogtown is under i2M, a social media management and text marketing company.
The Clear Channel partnership has the possibility of eventually catapulting the business to a national level, Gagné said. Still, being local is an important part of Frogtown. If the company expands, it will use its locally based model.
“People love the local aspect of this thing. That’s very important for people to support local. That’s where our big difference is from LivingSocial or Groupon is,” Ross said.
“I’m here. I’m local. I’m here for the customer and they can get ahold of me,” he added. “I like the warm and fuzzy, where you can actually be there for them.”
Another big part of the business is its amphibian mascot — which is usually Gagné in a frog costume.
“People love it. We go to events and people come and hug the frog,” Ross said. “One thing that we are that nobody else is is a lot of fun.”
The business originally started as Glass City Deals before its owners decided on something cuddlier.
“There’s a lot of other companies out there that do what we do, but nobody’s doing it the way that we’re doing it,” Gagné said.
Despite all the fun, Gagné and Ross are currently putting in 16-18 hour days to make their business a success.
“It’s a challenge because all of our revenue goes back into the company,” Gagné said, adding that going to bed at 3 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. is not uncommon for him. He is also working to develop a social media presence and smartphone applications for Frogtown.
Gagné, a Waterville native, used to work in real estate and Ross, a Toledo native, was once in print advertising. The pair encourages businesses to think of daily deals as a form of advertising.
“It’s a unique way to advertise because you only pay for what people are coming in for,” Gagné said. There is no upfront cost for companies and if someone purchases a deal, Frogtown takes a portion of the revenue. Most deals offer services for half off.
Frogtown is partnering with Costume Holiday House and Attitudes A Salon to help outfit eventgoers for the party.
Staying true to the ’70s theme of the Disco Bash is important to Frogtown.
“We want it to be what it was then. Oh God, help us all,” Ross said and laughed.
The website will also offer dinner deals the day of the Disco Bash to encourage a “date night.” The party conveniently falls on Sweetest Day, Ross pointed out, adding that surprises, raffles and contests are in store.
The Disco Bash is 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Oct. 20 at The Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. Tickets are $25 each or $300 for a VIP table of 10 at FrogtownTickets.com. A cash bar will be available.