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      Local stores have global reach

      Last year President Obama came to Marquette with a message to spur economic growth in small businesses rooted in rural america, like Getz's Clothiers in Marquette. The president praised the clothing retailer for harnessing broadband technology to widen its customer base.

      "To be able to grow this business, we looked outside and with the web have been able to gather a customer base that really is a national customer base," said John Spigarelli, Vice President of Marketing and E Commerce at Getz's.

      For more than a hundred years, customers have walked through the doors of Getz's on Front Street. But now a growing number of them are going online, and they are shopping using their smart phones and tablets.

      According to new data released by the IBM Benchmark, online sales made from a mobile device doubled in December of last year, and Getz's was no exception.

      "2011 was a wake up call," remarked Spigarelli. "Now that we've put some concerted effort into mobile, we've seen some significant growth; we converted about 4,000 sales from a mobile device."

      The surprisingly strong numbers inspired Getz's to develop a mobile website, which is slated to launch later this summer.

      Getz's is just one of several U.P.-based businesses to tap into a global market.

      Terry Dehring, president of QuickTrophy in Marquette, says his exclusively online business receives orders from all over the country, every day.

      "It's like running a different kind of business," said Dehring. "If you want to sell to a larger market nationally, you need the ability to have a website that allows customers to pick products and personalize them and pay for them online."

      In today's inter-connected world, online commerce stands to expand.

      "As people get more comfortable with the Internet, our business will continue to grow," Dehring said.

      Both QuickTrophy and Getz's have expanded their teams of web developers and distribution employees, many of whom are Northern Michigan University students.

      A click or a tap in Boston or San Diego means work and progress here in the U.P.