Successful small business promotion program returns for fall 2021; kickoff during National Small Business Week spotlights need to support local small businesses
√ ‘Shop 716’ program estimated to bring in another $1 million in revenue for local small businesses with buy-one-get-one gift card promotion; buy local marketing campaign returns with additional $1 million in ads to promote shopping local
National Small Business Week is here, and Erie County is building on the success of 2020’s popular small business initiatives by joining with partners to relaunch the “Shop 716” e-gift card and buy local marketing campaign programs for the final months of 2021.
The “Shop 716” program has generated nearly $1.2 million in new revenue for local small businesses so far with another $1 million in revenue estimated from the latest buy-one-get-one gift card promotion. Additionally, the buy local marketing campaign is back with $1 million more in advertising on the heels of 2020’s successful $2 million “Come Back to our Comeback” campaign that encouraged shopping at independent Erie County businesses during the pandemic. In total, from October 2020 to the end of this year, Erie County will have spent a historic $26.3 million in stimulus funds on business initiatives, including $20 million on the successful Back to Business Grant program, to aid the small business community during its greatest time of need.
Deputy Erie County Executive Maria Whyte was joined at Tuesday’s announcement at Anderson’s Frozen Custard in Tonawanda by Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger, Amherst Chamber of Commerce President/CEO A.J. Baynes, Visit Buffalo Niagara President/CEO Patrick Kaler, Anderson’s Frozen Custard owner Holly Anderson and Park Vue Soul Food Bar and Restaurant owner Harrita West.
Whyte said, “When you buy local, you are supporting small business owners and their families, keeping dollars here in our community and building a stronger local economy. Let’s come together as a community right now to skip the ‘big box’ retailers and online outlets and instead focus on the local businesses that are all around us and need us to return to them so Erie County can continue its comeback story.”
From Tuesday, Sept. 14, to Sunday, Sept. 19, the “Shop 716” e-gift card program will utilize a “buy one $50 ecard and get one free” promotion to amplify the economic impact the program has; following that, the promotion will be buy one $25 e-gift card and get one free until Dec. 30, when all “free” gift cards expire.
The e-gift cards will only be accepted at participating independent local merchants; large box retailers and grocery stores will not be eligible for opt-in. The “Shop 716” e-gift card is electronic and can be texted, emailed or printed after purchase for use. There is no cost to a merchant or business to opt-in to the program. Consumers can purchase the cards online. Merchants can opt-in at www.amherst.org/shop716. Currently, the program has over 650 businesses that have opted in.
Baynes said, “I am thrilled County Executive Mark Poloncarz has once again dedicated a portion of the American Rescue Funds towards the ‘Shop 716’ e-gift card program through a matching fund to assist small businesses further while we work through the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no better time to reboot this program than during National Small Business Week and the celebration of our county's bicentennial. The success of this program in 2020 led to nearly $1.2 million in sales of ‘Shop’ 716 e-gift card sales and over 700 merchants participating, which is sure to grow in 2021, only furthering the success of the small business community as we work towards our comeback.”
Kaler said, “Money spent locally is money earned locally. Buying local invigorates our small businesses and invests in our economy. This marketing campaign aims to bring local residents back to Erie County’s incredible restaurants, retail shops and cultural attractions. Shop local and let’s get back to our comeback!”
The “We Now Return You to Our Previously Scheduled Comeback” marketing campaign will utilize $1 million in funds spread out over a variety of media, including TV, radio, digital, print, billboards and social to promote shopping at local, independent establishments. The new campaign will generate 135 million impressions.
Anderson said, “Anderson’s, as a Western New York restaurant business, is honored to support the community effort of the 716 gift card and directly appreciative of the county’s investment into this promotion. The advantages have been great from a business perspective of supporting local retail and restaurants and also giving our guests flexibility and security in their expenditures.”
West said, “Park Vue Soul Food is ecstatic to continue participating in the ‘Shop the 716’ program. This amazing program allows families the affordability to experience buying locally with great offers, especially with the buy one e-gift card and get one free promotion. We are grateful for the gift cards that have been redeemed at Park Vue Soul Food and continue to welcome new customers so that we can continue to support our local vendors.”
A directory of local merchants that have opted in to the program can be found at www.amherst.org/shop716 . Merchants and customers can learn more about the program at the same website.