A website created by four University of Connecticut students allows people to reserve a parking spot at the beach with the freedom to arrive whenever they want.
Matt Gagliano, a junior Digital Media and Design major, came up with the idea for beachparking.com when a family friend criticized the difficulty of finding parking at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, Rhode Island. Gagliano is now CEO and product manager of the company.
“We’re an online reservation platform where people seeking to plan their trip ahead don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot,” said vice president of sales and finance major Brandon Bonfils.
The business partners work with individual parking lots and charge customers the same price as the lot in addition to a small fee that goes towards the maintenance of their website.
Beachparking.com accepts reservations in advance so that customers are able to arrive when they want rather than having to arrive early in the morning, Bonfils said.
The business took about a year of development beginning in May 2015, said vice president of design and Digital Media and Design major Case Polen.
Rich Infante, Computer Science and Engineering major and vice president of technology at beachparking.com, said that he worked on a business project with Gagliano during his first semester, and the current team later became friends through common interests in entrepreneurship.
A family friend of Gagliano invested in the company and it launched Memorial Day weekend, partnering with Flyhawk Parking at Misquamicut State Beach, a family-owned parking lot in operation for over 40 years, according to beachparking.com.
The team is looking to expand to other beaches in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Virginia Beach. Eventually, they hope to partner with lots along the East Coast and branch out West.
Because the Northeast area is a seasonal business, the students will work to partner with lots in the South during their fall semester.
“Our main focus over the winter is (expanding the business) to places that aren’t seasonal,” Polen said.
The team hopes that the business grows into a company that they can work at full-time after they graduate.
“We’re growing fairly well,” Bonfils said. “We’ve consistently had more customers and have been growing every weekend.”
He said that beachparking.com allows people to reserve a parking spot until midnight the night before their trip, and his team sends the amount of reserved spots to the lots each morning.
The students said they thank UConn for bringing them together to start the business.
Megan Krementowski is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.