Local investment may boost local retail spending

The Town of Rocky Mount is working with its Main Street program to invest in an innovative strategy to boost retail spending. The project, coordinated by the Community Partnership for Revitalization (CPR), was branded “5 on us’ by the economic restructuring committee.

“5 On Us” will incorporate $5 vouchers redeemable at participating local merchants in the uptown and downtown areas. The cash vouchers are as good as cash toward purchases of $20 or more.  The community’s goal is to spark new spending in a slow economic time.

Funded by the town, the investment could total as much as $35,000, generating more than $120,000 for non-grocery, non-gas retail spending.  For more details, read about the project in a recent Roanoke Times article: “Rocky Mount tried to ring up sales with coupons“.

Through the project, CPR is also working with merchants to complement the coupons with additional promotions and a broader “shop local” campaign. Efforts like this to spur spending in traditional commercial areas can be coordinated through specially designated districts, such as the Arts and Culture Districts and Virginia Enterprise Zones, which allow for targeted tax, investment, and regulatory incentives.

Communities struggling with the decline in retail sales throughout the cCommonwealth will no doubt watch the effort closely to see if it can be implemented in other communities.  Virginia Main Street will keep tabs on the effort here, and when the program is rolled out, we’ll post more details.