ALEXANDRIA — John Dockrey says rural America is dying.
The CEO and owner of What’s Up 24/7, a free social calendar, said it was the realization that small communities are struggling that inspired the creation of his business.
“We sit at home watching reruns and saying there is nothing to do,” Dockrey said.
There is a breakdown in communication between businesses, organizations and their communities, he said. The biggest problem is an overwhelming number of community calendars that offer only regional or local events.
“Every time you draw a line around it, you are done,” Dockrey said.
That's why What’s Up 24/7 is a calendar without boundaries.
What’s Up 24/7 lists community and event calendars into a single database, creating one site for people to visit for information on events in their neighborhood or anywhere in the United States. The site is easy to navigate, providing an easily searchable format that can target the communities the user wants to see.
The format is also easy for the businesses using the calendar to upload their events.
Robert Anders, chapter chair of SCORE, previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, has posted several events on the What’s Up 24/7, including a fall workshop.
“It’s pretty user friendly,” said Anders. “Not only is it good for us, I think it is going to be great to have in the community.”
Dockrey said his calendar can be personalized to an individual user specification and it allows people to find everything in one place.
The shrinking rural communities that inspired Dockrey to create What’s Up 24/7 are also reflected in 2012 census estimates showing a population shift in one of every three counties as older generations pass away and younger generations gravitate toward metro areas.
Prior to his new company, Dockrey owned his own mortgage company from 1998 to 2007. When the economy bottomed out, he had to close his business.