The City of Clovis partnered with the Business Organization of Old Town and the Clovis Chamber of Commerce to launch a gift card program designed to assist local businesses through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Businesses around the nation are struggling to stay open through shelter-in-place orders, but the crisis has hit Old Town’s business community especially hard, as the Roundup reported in our last issue.
But now those businesses are getting a helping hand from the city, which launched an online gift card program called “Caring for Clovis” April 9.
Through the program’s website, CaringForClovis.com, people can purchase gift cards for struggling Clovis businesses. The cards can be used once the business reopens, but the money used to purchase the card immediately goes to the business it was purchased for. Cards can also be purchased for businesses that are still open.
Most gift cards sell at a discounted price, meaning you can buy a $50 gift card for the price of $40. The gift cards come in physical, electronic and certificate forms.
The city will also pay the 3 percent processing fee on all purchases, allowing businesses to receive 100 percent of each purchase made.
In a social media post announcing the launch of the program, Mayor Drew Bessinger said, “These are our neighbors and our friends and this is our chance to support them.”
City of Clovis Business Development Manager Shawn Miller said the city launched the program to immediately assist businesses that are struggling.
“We wanted to figure out a way to inject cash immediately to the businesses that are closed down, mostly the restaurants, because they are getting hit the hardest, but also some of the other nonessential businesses,” Miller told the Roundup.
Miller said the idea for the website came from similar programs that originated in New York.
Besides BOOT and the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, the city also partnered with the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau and the California Restaurant Association for the program.
Miller said BOOT and the Clovis Chamber are helping to get the word out about the program through their members.
The city also partnered with GiftBar, an e-commerce company that builds online websites for the purchase of electronic gift cards. The company provides gift card solutions for a number of platforms.
Gift Cards for businesses such as Sassano’s Mens Wear, Bobby Salazar’s and The Local were already available the day the program launched. But the website offers a greater selection than just businesses that are in Old Town. Gift cards for the Sierra Vista Mall’s No Surrender Adventure Park and gym club LVL Up Fitness were available as well.
“They have supported us through everything. They sponsor our little league teams and buy ads in our high school yearbooks and everything else,” Miller said of Clovis’ many small businesses. “It’s our turn to turn around and support them.”