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Money and Business

City of San Luis Obispo offers gift cards to residents who shop local during the pandemic

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City of San Luis Obispo

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - As local businesses struggle to stay afloat during COVID-19 restrictions in California, the City of San Luis Obispo decided to offer a helping hand by giving residents an incentive to shop local.

The new program called 'Buy Local Bonus' rewards customers when they shop locally.

When a reciept from a city business totals $100 or more, shoppers and diners can email them to supportslo@slocity.org to receive a $20 gift card to another local business.

Customers may do this up to three times. This program will continue until the funds are exhausted.

Businesses can sign up online to participate in this program. The city plans to purchase up to $500 in gift cards from each participating business.

To qualify for the program, a business must:

  • be a local retail, restaurant, fitness or personal service business in the City of SLO,
  • hold a current San Luis Obispo City business license,
  • have a physical location or storefront within City limits, 
  • have the ability to sell and redeem gift cards.

“Supporting local, supports your community. It may sound cheesy, but it's true,” said Brian Appiano of Rib Line. “These are some of the toughest times we will ever encounter in the restaurant industry. Without the support, many of us small businesses may not be here when this is done.”

In a news release, the city explained that more than $9.3 billion would be directly returned to the country’s economy if every family spent just $10 per month at a local business. While it may seem more convenient to shop online, almost none of that revenue impacts the local community. Spending your dollars at restaurants and retailers in your neighborhood doesn’t just feel good, it helps support local jobs, infrastructure and character of the community.

“There is no way so many businesses downtown and local businesses would have survived this past year without the community support,” said Jenny Kompolt of Junk Girls. “We hope the support continues because there are so many amazing small businesses and restaurants with so much to offer.”

To date, 130 local businesses have signed up through the Business Buy-In form, and more than 1,000 shoppers have submitted receipts, totalling $143,447 in local dollars spent.

The city said it has allocated $100,000 of the $200,000 to purchase gift cards for the shop local incentive, the funds of which are coming from the recently passed Measure G sales tax.

For more information, visit the city website here.

San Luis Obispo County
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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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