Store owner's CD-ROM puts spotlight on Severna Park Free discs include local merchants' ads

July 11, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Madison Avenue it's not, but David Troy has managed to turn Toad Computers at the Park Plaza shopping center into a local advertising mecca.

Troy, founder and president of his computer store, has created a CD-ROM that features ads from area businesses and an assortment of information about Severna Park.

"It's all about Severna Park," the 24-year-old native said of the CD-ROM. "This is about my hometown."

The CD-ROM, which can be picked up free at Toad Computers and the businesses that advertise on the CD-ROM, includes footage from the 1994 and 1995 Fourth of July parades, copies of the magazine Chesapeake Living and the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce Business Guide.

Troy said he got the idea for the CD-ROM when he was working on his senior class project at the Johns Hopkins University in May. After he developed a web site on the 15th Amendment, Troy said, he became interested in creating a CD-ROM on Severna Park.

Troy said he decided to sell advertising space to help offset the production costs. But he didn't realize that 25 businesses, including Woods Community Center, Anne Arundel Medical Center and WRNR 103.1, a progressive music station in Bethesda, would be so willing to shell out $120 within 10 days.

"I thought it would take a harder sell," he said.

Each ad is permitted up to two minutes of audio and a maximum of 10 color photographs scanned onto the CD-ROMs. Todd Love, a graphic designer responsible for creating the format for the ads, said he and Troy worked on the CD-ROM for eight days last month.

The finished product justified the effort, Love said. The CD-ROM is a better advertising medium than newspapers and television, LTC he said.

"I think you can fit a lot more information onto a CD than a 4-by-4-inch ad in a paper," he said. "And it's a lot more engaging than TV."

Many of the merchants who participated said they wanted to take advantage of a new medium.

"I've been in this business for 18 years, and I've tried everything else," said Coleman Eldridge, owner of Shoe Specialists in the Benfield Village Shopping Center. "It was something new. I just wanted to give it a try."

"I always try to support things that other local merchants in Severna Park are doing," said Susan Lynn, owner of Chocolates From the Heart at Park Plaza. "And the Internet and computers is the way to go. It will definitely be a way for my store to grow."

The footage from the 1994 Fourth of July parade came from the video camera of Troy and his wife, Jennifer. The 1995 clips came from a friend, Troy said.

Troy said he has given away 3,000 of the 4,000 discs. "A real draw to the CD like this is that people can say 'This is where I live,' " he said. "I thought it would be fun for people to have this technology that touches their everyday lives."

Pub Date: 7/11/96

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