The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority and Main Street Lincoln Park both received the Main Street Forward Award for economic recovery and resilience efforts amid 2020 crises
(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — NEWS: On April 12, 2021, the Main Street Now Conference awarded six U.S. communities with the Main Street Forward Award, Yiftee, Inc. announced today. The award celebrates “forward-thinking Main Street recovery and resilience efforts at this unique and challenging moment” (*note 1). The winners were selected by a national jury of economic development experts. Royal Oak’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was selected for its two-pronged approach to supporting and stimulating the local economy during the pandemic. Main Street Lincoln Park (LNPK) was chosen for its work to ensure its community had access to food, funding, and essential PPE resources during the COVID-19 crisis.
Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Yiftee
The Royal Oak Downtown area was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the DDA worked diligently to address the local business crisis. In addition to offering small business assistance grants to downtown businesses, the DDA also boosted economic growth through the Royal Oak Downtown Dollars egift cards, powered by Yiftee. The DDA subsidized consumer spending by sending a free $20 e-gift card to the first 20,000 Royal Oak residents and consumers that signed up for its e-newsletter. The cards are redeemable at more than 65 locations in downtown Royal Oak and can only be used locally.
Downtown Dollars generated more business for local shops, restaurants, and retailers, with some seeing sales increases of 20% year-over-year in July (*note 2). Royal Oak has reported that people from throughout southeastern Michigan began visiting the downtown to redeem their gift cards. “The digital gift card program was part of the most impactful project we have ever implemented. It encouraged customers to spend more money downtown and infused a huge amount of money into local retailers,” said Sean Kammer, downtown manager for Royal Oak (*note 3).
The Downtown Dollars program was so successful that it continued into the holiday season, with Royal Oak offering a BOGO match for anyone who purchased the online gift cards. Consumers can still purchase Downtown Dollars gift cards by visiting https://visitroyaloak.com/.
Main Street Lincoln Park – Ecolibrium3: Duluth, Minnesota
Main Street Lincoln Park (LNPK) is a wonderful example of a community coming together to get through one of its toughest times. Main Street LNPK collaborated with a local craft brewery to create a free farmer’s market to address food insecurity amongst local residents. They also partnered with a local restaurant to provide Spring Break groceries for students in need. Additionally, Main Street LNPK offered small business technical assistance, reopening grants, and other funding opportunities. Main Street LNPK’s pandemic response also included “Pay it Forward PPE,” a partnership with Duluth outdoor goods manufacturer Frost River, to produce thousands of face masks and face shields with the help of many volunteers working long hours.
Main Street LNPK thanked their volunteers for their hard work with a neighborhood gift card, powered by Yiftee. As the Pay it Forward PPE project gained media and community attention, Main Street LNPK leveraged the exposure to aid local businesses by accelerating the development and launch of the Main Street LNPK gift card (*note 4). “Our neighborhood gift card provided immediate cash infusion into our business community,” said Shannon Laing, Main Street LPNK Director, ECOLIBRIUM3 (*note 5). Since the program was introduced, Main Street LNPK has generated nearly $25,000 in gift card purchases-all of which goes to support local businesses (*note 6).
About Yiftee, Keep Local Dollars Local
Yiftee serves more than 265 communities and 10,000 local businesses with simple, secure, PoS-independent eGift Cards that keep local dollars local – more than $13M in pandemic year 2020. The company works with Chambers of Commerce, Downtowns, Main Streets, Business Improvement Districts, city governments and other local organizations to create “Community Cards,” branded for the community and redeemable at 10s to 100s of local businesses. Organizations and individuals purchase them online and send them via email, text or print to friends, family and co-workers to support their local businesses. There is no cost to the organizers or merchants for the program and it can be set up in just a few days. Yiftee also provides custom-branded cards for individual merchants, franchises and chains.
More info at http://yiftee.com/ or email email@example.com.
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(1) Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Announcing the Main Street Forward Awards. From Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/blogs/national-main-street-center/2020/12/16/announcing-the-main-street-forward-awards
(2) Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority 2021 Main Street Forward Award Winner. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/mainstreetamerica/mainstreetawards/mainstreetforwardawards/royaloak
(3) Quote taken from video here – Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority 2021 Main Street Forward Award Winner. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/mainstreetamerica/mainstreetawards/mainstreetforwardawards/royaloak
(4) Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Main Street Lincoln Park 2021 Main Street Forward Award Winner. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/mainstreetamerica/mainstreetawards/mainstreetforwardawards/duluth
(5) Quote taken from video here – Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Main Street Lincoln Park 2021 Main Street Forward Award Winner. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/mainstreetamerica/mainstreetawards/mainstreetforwardawards/duluth
(6) Main Street America. (2021, April 15). Main Street Lincoln Park 2021 Main Street Forward Award Winner. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/mainstreetamerica/mainstreetawards/mainstreetforwardawards/duluth
Related link: https://yiftee.com/
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