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Tuesday September 30, 2014
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ParknParty

 

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"Customers tell you where you need to be," says Bond, his decibel level rising and his words quickening in excitement. "We became the central repository for all things parking in Ann Arbor," Bond says. Most of the people who called wanted to know about tailgating--where it could happen, where to rent a tent and buy food--and the "party" half of ParknParty.com took shape. The site now offers event planning, food, and entertainment--for one customer, they provided a tent with power, cable TV, and Zingerman's catering.

In the beginning, parking lot owners weren't clamoring to sign up. They figured they would fill their spaces anyway--and in any case weren't sure how much to charge. They'd say, "'Bob's lot down the road sets the price,'" Kapica recalls. "'The traffic comes from that way, and Bob's is the first lot customers see.'"

So Bond and Kapica set out to educate lot owners on how to maximize their earnings. Were their spaces easy-out, or next to a picnic table, or with access to a bathroom or electricity, or large enough for an RV? And they pointed out the convenience of selling spaces ahead of time, eliminating the need for the lot owners to stand in the road waving customers in.

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