An Offline event at The Dillon | Photo by Jamie Robbins

The New Offline

In Eat, February 2020 by Lauren Kruchten

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How do you find out about new places to eat, drink and have fun experiences? For more than a million people in the Triangle and beyond, the answer is through Offline but soon, the six year-old digital media company, whose mission is to encourage people to “rediscover and reconnect with the amazing world around [them],” will be available to subscribers only. 

David Shaner started Offline Raleigh in 2014 and grew the company to cover Durham, Charlotte and Nashville. He says he wants Offline to cater to its Premium members going forward, those members who currently pay $12.99 per month for monthly offers to local restaurants, sneak peaks of newly opened businesses and bonus perks such as discounted concert tickets and complimentary happy hours. Currently, more than 3,500 Offline Premium members subscribe in Raleigh and Durham. 

“We’re making [Offline Premium] our core offering so we can make it as amazing as we possibly can,” Shaner says. 

David Shaner, Founder of Offline | Photo by Jamie Robbins
David Shaner, Founder of Offline | Photo by Jamie Robbins

Offline’s strategy will be to tailor events and perks in a more personalized way to individual members, a concept Shaner says he thinks of as a modern-day concierge service. Whereas Offline Premium currently is one size fits all, the Offline team will soon be able to customize offers to individuals based on a curated list of partners once the team learns where each of their members lives and works and what their interests are.

Shaner says the membership subscription model was inspired by research from the Knight Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to fostering “informed and engaged communities.” The Foundation’s research found that the top three things correlated with place attachment were social offerings, aesthetics and openness of the community. By exposing Raleigh and Durham residents to local businesses and experiences every month, Shaner says he feels that Offline Premium is helping community members understand the diversity of the cities’ social offerings and getting Raleigh and Durham residents to fall in love with their cities. 

As with the original Offline Raleigh, Shaner’s goal with Offline Premium is to get people in Raleigh and other metros to try new things in their cities and to spend more time out in their communities rather than on their couches with their laptops or phones.

“It’s really awesome to see that, not only is Offline getting individual people to try new things and getting businesses exposed to new customers, but it’s helping people spend more time together in the real world,” says Shaner. “That’s what Offline is all about.”

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