During the 2021 Main Street Now Conference, Main Street America (MSA) presented six communities from across the nation with Main Street Forward Awards for having demonstrated exemplary recovery and resilience efforts amid the multiple crises and events of 2020. Excitingly, the Main Street Preservation Trust (MSPT) in Gloucester, Virginia was honored for the community’s innovative Downtown Dollars program, which raised nearly $150,000 in gift card sales to local businesses and benefited Gloucester healthcare workers.
“Gloucester Village has not seen one single business shutter due to COVID-19, and it’s a direct result of the Downtown Dollars program. Not only was the e-gift card program a big success in Gloucester, but it also offers a local economic stimulus model for other commercial districts.” – Patrice Frey, President and CEO, MSA
“We are so proud that this project positively impacted so many people in our community and proved to be a powerful economic tool, from the business owners on Main Street and the healthcare workers at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital to the general community.” – Jenny Crittenden, Executive Director, MSPT
At the onset of the public health crisis, MSPT 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, MSPT 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 MSPT covering the cost of the remaining percentage.
“While Downtown Dollars generated an immediate impact to Main Street businesses, it’s also a sustainable tool for driving long-term economic growth. For businesses that do not have an e-commerce component, this marketplace offers them online representation and builds brand loyalty for Main Street.”
– Joy Rumley, Program Manager, DHCD
Click here to learn more about the Downtown Dollars program and how MSPT took the initiative to new heights by partnering alongside two Gloucester residents with an urge to give back to the community!
Image Credit(s): Main Street America