Innovative Economic Recovery: Gloucester’s Downtown Dollars Program Infuses $40,000 into the Community

Gloucester VillageSmall businesses in Gloucester Village will feel the positive impact of Gloucester’s Downtown Dollars Program. Created by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust (GMSPT), the innovative economic recovery program will infuse $40,000 into the community and provide over 400 health care workers from Riverside Walter Reed Hospital with $100 gift certificates to frequent local shops within the historic corridor, further helping merchants weather the pandemic and preparing to recover during the weeks and months ahead.

At the onset of the public health crisis, GMSPT wanted to create an easy and convenient method for the public to purchase gift certificates to Main Street businesses due to their desperate need for stimulus. Receiving a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Virginia Main Street (VMS) program,  GMSPT was able to establish an online, gift certificate marketplace where consumers can purchase gift certificates to select businesses at 30% less than face value and redeem for 100% of the face value. Businesses still receive 100% of the gift certificate’s value thanks to GMSPT covering the cost of the remaining percentage. The Downtown Dollars Program has sold $100,000 worth of gift vouchers to Gloucester Village businesses to date!

Gloucester HaggertyLike GMSPT, Ron Haggerty, the physician for Direct Access Internal Medicine, and his wife, Katherine Haggerty, a hospitalist nurse practitioner at nearby Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, were also considering ways to help the community during trying times. The Haggerty family thought about buying gift certificates to local businesses on Main Street but wondered who would receive them. Aware of GMSPT’s recovery program, Rob and Katherine had a wonderful idea to help area hospital workers!

We realized that we could and should give gift certificates to every member of the hospital staff – the entire hospital staff. They have jobs, but it’s a tough job, especially during a pandemic. – Katherine Haggerty, FNP

The impact of Ron and Katherine Haggerty’s gift, coupled with another anonymous and inspired donor, was particularly substantial because the gift certificates for the health care team at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital were purchased through the GMSPT’s Downtown Dollars Program, ensuring that local merchants and hospital workers benefit!

If we can inspire those who are participating in this type of program and infuse tens of thousands of dollars or more into Gloucester Village that can sustain merchants through this crisis, that will hopefully lead to the long term success of Main Street businesses. – Jenny Crittenden, Executive Director, GMSPT

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