In an effort to support the local economy, the Tehachapi City Council unanimously approved rewarding shoppers with a new incentive program.
For every $100 spent on goods or services within the Tehachapi city limits, the Small Business Loyalty Program will reward shoppers with a $20 gift card redeemable at a variety of local restaurants.
The incentive program was unanimously approved by the City Council during its Feb. 16 meeting.
"This is our local, economic stimulus program," City Manager Greg Garrett said last week.
Customers are asked to bring their receipts from local purchases to City Hall between March 1 and 31 to receive the restaurant gift card.
Qualifying purchases include only those made from independently owned small businesses and exclude alcohol and tobacco purchases.
"Shopping local is so important for the health of the city and the health of the businesses," Garrett said. "It is one of the most important things that people can do."
In return, customers will receive a $20 gift card that is redeemable at a variety of local restaurants.
The restaurant gift cards will be purchased in advance by the city to ensure the business owners receive a small stimulus on the front end and hopefully increase return traffic to their establishments for gift card redemption and additional purchases.
"If it continues to go well, we have authorization to pop more money into it," Garrett said.
Garrett went on to say that financing for the program will come from the city's general fund.
"Our general fund is very, very healthy," Garrett said.
According to Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe, the program is designed to increase traffic to local, small businesses as well as reward customers for their loyalty.
“Studies have shown that over half of customers with a gift card spend more than the card’s value at redemption time, so we hope the purchases for this program will boost the bottom line for our small business owners and maybe even encourage people to try something new,” Costelloe said.
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 St., Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
5. All receipts will be stamped and returned to participants. Limit one gift card per person per week.
6. Valid purchases must be made from March 1 to 31 or until funding for program is exhausted.