In December, the City Heights Business Association, in collaboration with the City Heights Economic Development Collaborative, launched a pilot gift card program aimed at helping local businesses and residents hurt by the pandemic.
The program provided 10 City Heights businesses with $500 each in exchange for 20 gift certificates. Gift certificates were distributed to City Heights families in need of additional support, with some families receiving multiple certificates. Participating families were determined by local non-profit organizations that run food distribution and assistance programs in the community. Gift certificates were valid through January 31, 2021 and could be used for any food or household items, with the exception of alcohol or smoking products.
Five businesses from the University Avenue Business Improvement District participated in the program. They included Noelia’s Super Market, Saigon Deli, La Surtidora Market, City Heights Grocery Store, and Dur Dur Market.
Businesses were asked to save the gift certificates they received in order to track use and participation and evaluate the overall success of the program.
This initiative was a win-win for City Heights businesses and residents. The gift cards not only helped many struggling families put food on their tables during the holidays, but in many cases they also helped bring new clientele to the businesses. Assessment of the program showed that gift certificates had a 50% redemption rate, with most certificates going towards the purchase of grocery necessities such as milk and eggs. There was some confusion over where the certificates could be redeemed, and this may have impacted the overall redemption rate.
Given the success of the pilot, the City Heights Economic Development Collaborative is allocating an additional $30,000 for a second round of the gift certificate program. In the second round, 30 businesses will participate, with $1,000 in gift certificates purchased from each business.
You can read more about this exciting initiative in the local news articles below: