9 Q&A: Anderson Twp. website founder talks about his passion for community news, information
Feoshia Davis, WCPO Digital Contributor
12:02 PM, Jul 22, 2013
ANDERSON TWP., Oh. - Anderson Township resident Greg Harshfield, a married father or four, is the man behind Around Anderson Township. The community-based site features the people, events, businesses, history and churches around the southeast Hamilton County township.
Harshfield is a Macy's executive who's been with the company for 18 years. His main Around Anderson Township collaborator is wife Leslie Harshfield. A passion for their community spurred the couple to launch the site two years ago. and have recently decided to revamp and grow the small site with new content.
9 Questions for Around Anderson Township creator Greg Harshfield
1. Why did you create Around Anderson Township? The simple answer is that we wanted to create a site that highlights the people and businesses around our township, and tell the stories of those that stand out as Anderson icons and represent the core of what our community values.
The inspiration, however, is a bit more detailed. In one of my first articles, written for another website, I wrote about an elderly man down the street from us who spent most of his days sitting in his driveway, waving at people passing by. Most people in the area know him as the "Waving Man of Nordyke." He became so popular that many families even sent him holiday cards addressed to "The Waving Man."
I found myself going out of my way just to drive by his house and wave. It made me think about how many stories there must be right here in our own neighborhood. I began paying more attention to the people I met every day and the local businesses I passed. My wife and I discussed the idea and began to brainstorm domain names and topic ideas. Then AroundAndersonTownship.com was created.
2. Have you ever created any other blogs or websites? We currently operate CincinnatiMom.com in addition to the Anderson Township site. That site is mainly operated by my wife, with topics on parenting and recipes being the main focus. We have tried a few times in the past to create some other types of websites, with little success. But when we had the idea for Around Anderson Township, it became a passion. I would pour my heart into this, regardless of the time frame for success.
3. What was your vision for the site? With the handful of local government and agency websites pertaining to Anderson Township, we didn't have a site that connected the real people, local businesses, schools, churches and other amenities. We wanted to feature these groups in a way that appealed to the residents, as well as people and small businesses looking for a place to call home in the Cincinnati area.
Our vision was to create a place that always had a fresh story about a township resident or business and also provide a resource for events, entertainment and local business information. We wanted to build a local directory with human interest that could become a standard resource.
4. What are the most popular features of the site? The two areas that people seem to like most are the articles about the people around our township and the listing of events. The human interest aspect of the site seems to be the most popular with the people who comment on the site.
5. How do you get the information you use to populate Around Anderson Township? We get information and inspiration for the site from local news stories, new business registrations and personal experiences. One of my favorite things to do is meet new people in the area and talk to them about their lives, businesses and what they like about our community. Also, having recently formed a relationship with the Anderson Area Chamber, we are including more content and event information that they are sharing with us.
6. What do you do in your day job? For the last 18 years, I have been an executive with Macy's and Macy's Systems and Technology. My current title is Business Analyst II. I work with the business side of Macy's to create the systems that support what they do. Macy's has been a wonderfully rewarding place to work.
7. How do you decide what events, businesses etc. to write about? The inspiration for feature articles can come from many sources. It can be a conversation in the checkout line at Kroger, stopping by a local business or restaurant, seeing an article on a local news site, a suggestion from the Chamber of Commerce or even something my kids request. Some of the articles are based on conversations with my wife regarding things that we like about our community.%page_break%
8. If people and businesses want to be featured on the site what should they do? We welcome anyone in Anderson Township and the surrounding areas to contact us to discuss being featured on our site. They can contact us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/AndersonTownshp),Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AroundATown) or email us at info@AroundAndersonTownship.com. We will provide our telephone numbers and any other contact information as necessary. We only write positive articles and never post reviews or controversial viewpoints.
9. What are your future plans for the site? Would you like to expand it?
In the immediate future, our goal is to keep adding content and create a solid foundation for our vision while expanding our audience. We would really like to expand our site and upgrade the technology at some point. Growing our content, audience and technology will help us with advertisers and sponsors in an effort to keep the site going. Another goal of ours is to move the hosting to a local hosting company this year.
More about Anderson Township
Population approx. 44,000 (2010 US Census)
Founded in 1793, Anderson Township was the fifth township in Hamilton County
The township is governed by a three-member board of trustees