Berg Gift Card: Supporting downtown business
A collaborative effort to drive business to downtown Newberg has resurfaced recently in the form of "The Berg Gift Card."
The brainchild of the city of Newberg, Taste Newberg, Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Newberg Downtown Coalition, the gift card was created several years ago using a grant from the city as a means of economic investment in Newberg area businesses, a press release revealed.
"I was approached by Newberg business owners asking if we could have our own gift card for the city," Polly Peterson, former executive director at Newberg Downtown Coalition, said. "The city of Newberg agreed that this was a wise way to invest in our businesses."
With the onset of the pandemic sales of the gift card waned but have now begun to increase again.
"COVID upended so many supply chains and I think people are beginning to realize that their spending directly affects who stays open," Maureen Rogers, co-owner of Chapters Books and Coffee, said. "The Berg Gift Card is an easy way that people can support local businesses."
The gift card, available at the Chamber's visitor center and online at mydowntowngiftcards.com, is "a perfect gift and a great way to support locally owned businesses," Peterson added. "Instead of deciding to support just one local business, a purchaser can choose The Berg Gift Card and give the recipient the choice of participating merchants in the city."
Available in denominations from $25 to $500, the card can be utilized as one would a debit card at all participating Newberg businesses, including stores, restaurants, coffee shops and salons.
"I think The Berg Gift Card will be good for businesses because it will encourage people to shop around …," Rogers said. "They don't have to buy a gift card exclusive to one shop and this can only help get folks out and about to all of our stores."
The Newberg program came about by payments provider Miconex and created the Downtown Gift Card program in conjunction with tech solutions provider EML Payments. The Miconex program can be found in cities across the United States, as well as in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The cards, issued through MetaBank, do not expire, have no cash access and are not reloadable.
"Now more than ever, shopping local makes a difference," Jennifer Sitter, owner of Pulp & Circumstance, said. "All Oregon retail shops and restaurants were required to shut down last year due to the pandemic and the ones that made it through the shutdown are just getting back on their feet. Additionally, when you shop local, a majority of the money spent goes back into the community."
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