NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new way to help local businesses in Newark that have been hit by the coronavirus.
A gift card program gives consumers extra cash to spend in the neighborhood.
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As reported by CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge Tuesday, owner Martin Weber at Green Chic Pea on Halsey Street said customers stopped by for lunch during their work day. That changed when people were forced to work from home.
“People used to stand in front of the store online to get in. And now we hope that the door will be opened, ”says Weber. “We’re down almost 75-80%.”
Down on the block of the Brown Mill clothing store, the co-founders took a risk and opened during the pandemic.
“At first we were a little hesitant. Many people have told us this is the worst time to start a local business, ”said co-founder Kwaku Agyemang.
“We were a little nervous, but we got so much support from our community,” added manager Elijah Pitt.
Both new and old businesses rely on this continued support to survive, but statistics currently show that pedestrian traffic in downtown Newark has decreased by more than 60%, according to HR&A Advisors, a consultancy that uses cell phone data. to the results.
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To make up for lost sales, a nonprofit teamed up with a local company to launch a gift card campaign to encourage people to shop locally.
“We were able to motivate people. Buy a $ 25 gift card and get a 40% bonus … $ 25 get $ 10; $ 50, get $ 20; $ 100, $ 40, “said Tamara Remedios of XPLRE Communications.
Remedios had the idea. She teamed up with the Newark Alliance and Prudential Financial who provided $ 25,000 to make this possible.
“The companies love it. It’s an easy sale for them. There are no additional costs for them. You run it like a MasterCard. There are no apps, no technology, no invoicing. You get paid within 24 hours, ”said Remedios.
At Brown Mill, they said the gift card programs shed light on what is already there and encourage community empowerment and engagement.
So instead of ordering a t-shirt from Amazon, clothing company Brown Mill said it would be handcrafted in-store and the customer would receive a one-of-a-kind Christmas present. The store will help community members thrive.
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People can use the card in 85+ companies and it will never expire – but the additional 40% bonus amount is only available for a limited time until the end of 2022.