TEHACHAPI, Calif. — At the beginning of March, the City of Tehachapi started a program aimed at boosting business at local mom and pop shops, some of the businesses hardest hit by economic restrictions. So far, the results have been promising.
Tehachapi’s Small Business Loyalty Program, which started March 1, allows consumers to go to City Hall and trade receipts from locally-owned businesses totaling $100 or more, in return for a free $20 gift card to a locally-owned business, courtesy of the city.
Now two weeks into the program, city officials are sharing new numbers highlighting its success. A city spokesperson said $16,748 worth of receipts has been collected so far. 108 gift cards have been redeemed.
During the first four days alone, the city says 31 local residents brought in receipts totaling over $5,000.
“We saw that several people who brought in receipts combined multiple purchases from multiple stores to reach the $100 threshold. Everything from lunches, dinners, dry cleaning, pet supplies, antiques, appliance service repairs, auto and lawnmower repairs and haircuts to name a few of the types of businesses we saw receipts from,” said Key Budge, the city’s Community Engagement Specialist.
Budge says the average value of receipts collected is $155.08.
The city had originally purchased $1,000 in gift cards for the program, which was expected to last through March. But the success led the city to purchase two more rounds of cards, bringing the total to $3,000, which will be used to further boost business at local stores.
“We are all very pleased with the response from the customers but not surprised because Tehachapi loves to take care of one another,” said Corey Costelloe, Economic Development Coordinator with the city. “We are hearing wonderful stories from business owners already about the positive impact the return trips have had on their business and look forward to continuing this project as funding allows.”
The complete rules for the program and the qualifying purchases are as follows:
1. Qualifying purchases are those from an independently owned small business located within Tehachapi City limits. Purchases from corporations, large chains or grocery stores are not eligible.
2. Purchases that qualify for the Small Business Loyalty Program include retail purchases from established small businesses, food and drink (minus alcohol) at independently owned restaurants, personal services (hair, nails, salon) or other goods and services from qualifying businesses.
3. Items not eligible include alcohol, tobacco, fuel, or grocery items. The City of Tehachapi reserves the right to reject purchases deemed to violate the spirit of the Small Business Loyalty Program.
4. Participants are asked to bring receipts totaling $100 or more to Tehachapi City Hall, 115 S. Robinson Street, Monday-Thursday 7 AM-5:30 PM to redeem receipts for a $20 gift card/certificate to a local restaurant.
5. All receipts will be stamped and returned to participants. Limit one gift card per person week.
6. Valid purchases must be made from March 1, 2021-March 31st 2021 or until funding for program is exhausted.