Good companies always look for new ways to market themselves and strengthen their presence in a community, and now a Darien woman is offering Fairfield County businesses that opportunity with www.ShopTheGoldCoast.com. The new website enables shoppers to buy products and services from businesses that donate a portion of sales to school groups and nonprofit organizations or causes.

ShopTheGoldCoast.com, founded by Darien resident Denise El-Tayyeb, went active on March 1 and has signed 20 businesses that pay a fee to participate. Most are in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford, but El-Tayyeb is seeking representatives to market the site across the county.

El-Tayyeb, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Residential who credited her husband, Akram, for his support in establishing the business, has seen the impact of the slow economy. She developed the website to benefit businesses, as well as organizations as they see donations fall.

"If you shop locally, more of your money circulates locally," El-Tayyeb said, adding that 200 parent-teacher groups have registered. "ShopTheGoldCoast school fundraisers are held the first and third Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every month during the school year. It drives traffic to merchants on those days. Ten to 20 percent of your pizza purchase, for instance, goes to your school."

Among participants in the school program are Heights Pizza, Miceli Insurance, Tasti D-Lite and Glen Liquor and Fine Wine in Darien, and Crazy Grapes, Prestige Cleaners, Signs Pro and Kaleidoscope in Stamford.

"As a local vendor it is very difficult for me to approach the schools," said Suzanne Stillwell, who co-owns Kaleidoscope, a children's gift and clothing store on High Ridge Road. "This is a way we can advertise to the schools and give back to the schools," said Stillwell, who owns the store with with her daughter, Jeanna Pappas. This is perfect for us."

Benefiting from the website is the Darien High School Fuel Cell Car Team, participating in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas from April 14-17 in Houston.

"Denise is a wonderful community supporter. This is a long-term thing. This is another way the community can help," said Leon Strecker, department coordinator for technology and engineering at DHS.

He credited Joe Grasso, owner of Grasso Construction in Norwalk, and a ShopTheGoldCoast client, for providing a major boost toward the $12,000 needed to purchase the fuel cell and equipment and the cost of the trip.

"It's a great thing for these kids," said Grasso, whose company offers a coupon on the website.