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  • Kandis Mascall

With Christmas Approaching, New Program Aims to Support Downtown Dayton Businesses

The coronavirus pandemic coupled with an economic spiral has put many small businesses in difficult conditions. While Downtown Dayton has seen steady growth and development this year, a new program has been launched with the goal of fueling more local dollars into local businesses.

"Through all the hardships and all the challenges that have happened in 2020, there still have been new businesses who have opened their doors downtown. I mean, it's evident just across the country, the numbers just aren't adding up like they were before the virus. So we know our businesses are taking on so many challenges, but we're grateful that they're still here and we still have that local support," said Allison Swanson, public relations and marketing manager for the Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP).

In an effort to give those local entrepreneurs a helping hand, on December 7, the DDP announced the Downtown Dollars program. "What Downtown Dollars is, is it's an e-gift card, which really just means it's an online gift card. This came about because in the process of 2020 and helping our local businesses, we saw a lot of consumers wanting to help businesses by purchasing gift cards and supporting the business in that way," said Swanson.

With the purchase of a single gift card, which can be used online or in-person, shoppers are able to spend that money at any business that is a part of the program. “Our small, independent businesses are truly the heart of what makes downtown a great place to live, work and visit, and now with Downtown Dollars one upload of funds can be used at a network of our favorite businesses, and the chance to explore new ones,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, president of the DDP.

This is the first initiative of its kind according to the DDP, but Swanson says that local business owners were eager to participate, "We have more than 60 businesses who are now involved."

With Christmas less than three weeks away, one consumer says this program could not have come at a better time, "My parents are hard to shop for, but I know they love the restaurants in the Oregon District. Too bad you can't put an e-gift card under a tree," said Carrington Hill.

However, the DDP says that this program may continue long after the holidays, "This downtown card is going to be good for the foreseeable future," said Swanson.

Some card benefits include no monthly inactivity fees, immediate funds once purchased, and personalized messages to accompany cards.