Charlotte, NC – Last month amid the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers in panic-driven stockpiling, wiped out store shelves and finding basic needs such as toilet paper (a hot commodity), rubbing alcohol, disinfectants, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other items have left shoppers having to either improvise with what they have or simply go without, all in an attempt to minimize the possibility of contracting COVID-19. But one clever computer whiz has thought outside the current parameters and has come up with a viable solution for those seeking products to purchase.

            Cleveland-based web developer, Chris Violette, 35, and his co-worker were chatting about the toilet-paper shortage and how difficult it was to find a store that had it in stock. During their conversation, Violette’s co-worker jokingly said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a crowdsourcing app to help you find toilet paper?” That conversation and his co-worker’s idea (intended as a joke) sparked the inspiration behind Violette’s recently-launched crowdsourcing web app, After thinking about his co-worker’s idea and piecing some things together, Violette said he realized that an app for finding toilet paper was not as far-fetched as his co-worker might have thought. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it might actually be a feasible and realistic goal,” he said.

            The app is free to use and provides information on the availability of household staples at retail locations. Information is based on reports submitted by users who answer survey-like questions during their shopping trips. As users make new submissions, new retail locations are added and existing information is updated. The information can be accessed by selecting a retail location on a map using the app’s built-in geospatial technology (like GPS). Violette says he hopes the app will provide people with a way to locate the items they need before leaving home. Avoiding a store-to-store goose chase, it hopefully lowers an individual’s risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus or becoming infected with its disease, COVID-19. “By being able to preview what stores have in stock, hopefully, people reduce their risk of exposure by knowing where to find products ahead of time and not needing to visit multiple stores,” the app states on its homepage. Violette says he’s not interested in commercializing the app or making a profit, and that his only concern is ensuring that it serves its purpose in helping people during these uncertain times. “My only objective is to use the skills I have to give back and to help people as much as I possibly can,” he says. To access the app, visit (Q Notes Online – Mykah Buff at

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