OTTAWA -- Small businesses have had it rough over the last 18 months but there's a new Ottawa built app that wants to help get them back on their feet.

It promotes special offers in real time to people in the area that want to support local.

Nick Burden is the co-owner of the new Laugh Lounge Comedy Club in the ByWard Market. He wanted to attract a broader audience, turning to a new app.

"POPTikR definitely connects a lot of local residents with a lot of local businesses," says Burden. "Obviously, there’s a lot of foot traffic and tourists coming back into town, so we definitely want them to know what we’re all about. The ByWard Market hasn’t had a comedy club so POPTikR is just going to help us spread that word."

POPTikR is free and available to any business interested in getting more foot traffic in the door.

Consumers using the app can locate restaurants and shops in the area and businesses can post promotions and deals to attract them to their spot.

"To be a part of this app is to also get people included in all of the deals and promotions going on. To also get people in our area that may not know that the salon is in the condo building on the second floor. And get them to come in and shop or get their hair done or just stop by to say hello," says Jessica Thomson, manager at Salon Fiorella.

The pandemic hasn’t made owning a small business easy, and POPTikR’s founder and CEO Kamy Dhanoa says that's where the app comes in.

"So when you open up the app, it shows you the different pop-ups that are live right now as we speak," says Dhanoa. "People don’t know unless they walk inside. So what our app does, is it showcases and highlights, whether it’s hot merch, bundled gift packs, whatever. So that visually they can see and encourage people to explore local."

Dhanoa says she wanted to create something that gave all small businesses equal footing and not have to compete for search engine optimization, sometimes costing businesses thousands to be the top result.

"I like that it’s free," says La Bottega owner Pat Nicastro. "You know, we get asked all the time to be part of different apps and applications, and there’s always a cost involved. The nice thing about this one is there is no cost to the business. And we’re passing on the savings to consumers. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

The app can be used anywhere in Canada, making it great for tourists looking for new spots to visit. So far, it is getting good reviews by business owners here in the capital.

"You know, COVID kind of got rid of that dog-eat-dog world as far as small businesses go," says Burden. "And it shows that if we all work together, we can thrive together."

POPTikR is available right now on both iOS and Android devices.