topher

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine named Elisabeth Klaar contacted me to let me know she was working on a cool new project. She lives in Cambridge, England and many of the businesses local to her are either partly or fully closed during the pandemic. She started a business listing site that lists all the local businesses and describes what they’re doing during the pandemic to stay in business.

It’s called Cambridge Local Shops – Help During Covid-19.

Some of the businesses are offering delivery, some are offering special hours for the elderly, and others are offering a variety of things.

At the time there was a lot of manual moving of data, and I saw some places I could help streamline, so we worked together to make a better system. This post will include all the code we wrote in easy-to-use plugins, themes, and import files, instructions on how to use them, and some discount codes for some of the plugins we used.

The idea is that YOU can build this same thing just by installing what we built for you.

Software Overview

The highlight is that we have a custom post type to hold the businesses with Advanced Custom Fields adding some custom fields to it. We’re using WSForm with the Post Management Addon to make a form for stores to submit their own information as Draft businesses. The theme is a child theme of GeneratePress with some custom templates and CSS to render the businesses nicely.

Getting The Resources

GeneratePress – That link will get you a 20% discount if you’re building a project like this. The paid version is not required, but Tom is a great guy making a living building great software. Support him if you can.

Cambridge Child Theme – This contains the CSS and template files. It’s on github, so click the green button in the top right of the page and download the zip and install it on your site.

WSForm – That link goes to the paid version, which gets you the Post Management Plugin. Use the coupon code STAYINSIDE to get 20% off to build something like this.

Simple Business Listing plugin – This is a plugin I wrote using code I got from GenerateWP.com. This provides the custom post type. This is also on github, but downloading the zip gets you a normal plugin.

ACF and WSForm import files – Both ACF and WSForm have the ability to import what you need for this project. This file contains them both, simply unzip them on your computer and use the Import function of each one to import the proper file respectively.

What You Get

The Site

You’ll get a Business archive at /businesses like this one. Single businesses will each get their own page with a singular slug like /business/the-essential-soaps/. Here’s an example.

If a business chooses to print its physical location the address is a link to Google Maps. Phone numbers are printed at the discretion of the business.

Inputting Data

You also get a form that businesses can use to submit themselves to the listing, like this one. Submissions are saved as a draft so you don’t get garbage posted to your site. The site owner gets emailed about the submission and can log in and Publish the business if they wish.

Sorting

There are two taxonomies, one for Business Type and one for Location, so people can sort by interest or location.

Summary

Check out https://cambridgelocalshops.co.uk/ and if you think your neighborhood could use something like that try using these tools. If you get stuck leave me a comment and I’ll help if I can.

There’ll be another story about Elisabeth’s experience posted on HeroPress on Wednesday, I’ll link there then.

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