Open Companies Technology began with RetireNet.com. RetireNet.com was established in 1995 as “The Retirement Net,” and has since become the largest online network of Active Retirement , Independent Living, Assisted Living, Nursing Care, Home Health, Home Care, and Home and Community Based Retirement Services in the world. Our current list of member communities tops 103,000.
“You Can Tell The Pioneers By The Arrows In Their Backs!”
Stephen Shultz began with an idea, and one client – The Moorings of Manatee, in Ruskin Florida – to create a single source where the aging Boomer population could go to find their perfect retirement spot. Initially, the process was slow, as the Internet was still a very new idea for most marketers, and there was a great deal of skepticism that the Senior market would embrace the technology.
As we now know, quite the opposite was true, and this market has become one of the most prolific users of the Internet, and this statistic is growing annually. The aging Baby Boomer market is also the fastest growing demographic in the United States, and possess a great deal of leisure time and disposable income. Recognizing the potential this technology brought to the table, RetireNet.com partnered with MHC Homes in Spring 1996 to bring the concept to a national audience. This new player in the Senior Marketing arena quickly gained traction, and begin growing exponentially, adding dozens of communities each month purely by word of mouth!
The earliest versions of RetireNet.com were simple directories with a brief description of the community and a link to the community website. Then, as now, websites vary greatly in their appearance and content. Some did a great job of showcasing the community, while others left a little to be desired. Any requests to RetireNet.com for additional information on a community was simply forwarded manually to the community contact person. This was an inelegant way of presenting the information, and Shultz became determined to seek out a better way. After much research and planning, Shultz chose to relocate their offices from Lakeland, Florida to Asheville, NC. Like many technology companies had discovered, Asheville offered a vast array of technical resources, along with the quality of life he sought for his family.
Technology & Design
In 1998, RetireNet.com opened its Asheville Headquarters, and begin the process of adding new staff. A development team was created, consisting of some of the most highly regarded people in the industry. Shawn Nussbaum became the Technology Director, and chief architect of all programming and development. Steven Dowty was brought in to oversee the Design and Creative Department. This meant that RetireNet.com had the on-staff resources to expand and develop the website beyond its initial concept.
Work soon begain on the next generation of RetireNet.com, incorporating the latest technology in design and implementation, along with a suite of tools for advertisers and visitors that is still unmatched in the industry. Unique among all similar sites is the RetireNet.com Community Showcase – which allows users to add and update their own information, as needed to provide visitors the latest and most complete information available on their community. RetireNet.com also offers visitors to the site the ability to create their own accounts, in order to manage their contact with advertisers, save favorite locations, and read and learn more about issues and events that impact their lives the most.
Sales Lead Management
As RetireNet.com grew and more and more communities experienced great success, demand grew for a way to manage all of the inquires, contact requests and sales leads that were being generated for advertisers. Building on the technological base established by the RetireNet.com website, Shultz began development of an additonal product, Open Leads. Open Leads is a web-based sales lead management application, which provided advertisers a central resource for collecting, distributing, organizing, and following up with their RetireNet.com prospects. Open Leads expanded beyond the retirement market quickly, and now finds FedEx, Chris-Craft Boats, Palm Harbor Homes, and many other prominent national companies among its thousands of happy users.