Groupon Gets Cozy with Wheaton's Small Businesses

Just because Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is a billionaire doesn't mean the company's employees are resting on their money-stuffed laurels or perfecting their break strokes in a gem-packed vault, Scrooge McDuck-style. In fact, as we veer into the nebulous time of year known only as "the holidays," Groupon is keeping its hands on the wheel and veering on a course for generosity and supporting small businesses.

Perhaps this is nowhere more evident than in Wheaton, where Groupon is offering deals town-wide starting Monday to "attract consumers and visitors to the area as they gear up for Black Friday." Folks who make the trek out can partake in a $10 for $20 Groupon voucher to be applied at any of roughly 80 local businesses. It's not exactly breaking the discount bank, but it's a nice gesture nonetheless.

“We are thrilled to be the first community in the U.S. to offer a Groupon for our entire downtown area,” Max Williams, manager of the Downtown Wheaton Association, said in a release. “We believe this Groupon is a great opportunity to promote the Wheaton area as a desirable destination and show Chicagoland residents that our historic downtown area is so much more than charming, especially, during a time of the year when small businesses are competing with big box retailers for holiday shoppers.”

Hey, whoever said being "charming" is a bad thing?

If you run a small business -- which is why you're here on Inc. Well, anyway, right? -- has a great round-up of four ways to "avoid being burned by Groupon" if you opt to list with them.

With its IPO and proven track record and zeal for grabbing headlines, Groupon is understandably sexy, but, according to this piece, "[your] daily deals could fare better by embracing Groupon not as a stand-alone cure-all to slow sales but as one element in a well-honed marketing plan." Which, yes, we'd be inclined to agree with. Their tips are well worth heeding, particularly as Black Friday and the rest of the commercialism onslaught gets unleashed in the weeks ahead, and listing with a site like Groupon becomes more and more appealing.

Meanwhile, on the IPO front, Groupon's stock is at $23.99. Again, expect that to change unpredictably as this eventful week unfolds.

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