published Friday, September 7th, 2012

Small Biz: Google photographer helps small businesses in the Chattanooga area

Blue Hayes takes photos for Google Maps at SmartFurniture on Manufacturer's Road.
Blue Hayes takes photos for Google Maps at SmartFurniture on Manufacturer's Road.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Name: Chattanooga Panorama

Location: Mobile in Chattanooga

Contact information: 423-799-0499, Facebook.com/ChattanoogaPanorama

Products/services: Bleu Hayes is the area's only Google trusted photographer, meaning he works with Google to shoot pictures of area businesses for their Maps website. Google is expanding its map offerings, now allowing for interior tours of businesses using a similar interface to its popular Street View feature. This service is expected to make consumers more comfortable entering new locations and help pedestrians navigate large areas such as airports and malls.

Age: Hayes was made a Google trusted photographer in August.

Getting started: Hayes graduated from Lee University's broadcast engineering program and has loved photography all his life. He jumped at the chance to follow his passion while traveling around Chattanooga getting to know area businesses. "It's always been a passion of mine," he said. "I love working with people and creating art."

Target market: Small and unique businesses in the Chattanooga area. "I'm not really going after corporate jobs. Everybody knows what a Chili's looks like," Hayes said. "My goal is to help local business owners get on the map and help them get on Google."

Biggest hurdle: Most of the time tracking down a business owner is a simple task for Hayes, but when it's hard, it's really hard. He said his goal isn't necessarily to sell owners on his service, but to get to know their business and let them know he's there to help if they'd like him.

Biggest reward: Meeting people. Hayes is a very social person and said his favorite part of the job is the ability to travel around Chattanooga and talk with other small-business owners. "It's fun to just get out there and network and talk with people," he said.

Future goals: Hayes plans to eventually hire sales people and expand his business up toward Cleveland and down toward Fort Oglethorpe. He said there is plenty of work in the area and he expects he'll rapidly become busier as Google's products catch on. "I would just like to see the business grow and improve slowly," he said.

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