More in Business:
By Mike Hazlip–
As the COVID-19 lockdown stretched into itssecond month and businesses along Auburn Boulevardcontinued to struggle,local auto shop owner Rich Hale decided to do something about it.
His plan was to buy gift certificates for restaurants along Auburn Boulevard and hand them out to his customers, as a way to help send more business to local restaurants on the boulevard. He chose five nearby establishments based on what he thought people would like, and anyone who spent $100 or more at his shop received a $10 gift certificate.
“I would go in and buy $50 or $100 worth of gift certificates at a time,”Hale said in an interview lastweek. He says it gave local eateries some extra business during difficult economic times, with customers using the gift cards likely opting to spend over the card amount in purchasing a meal.
Hale, who owns Walt’s Auto Service at the corner of Pratt Avenue and Auburn Boulevard, also serves as chairman of theAuburn Boulevard Business Association, which represents businesses and property owners from Sylvan Corners to Interstate 80.
Although he’s not aware of any businesses on the boulevard that have closed permanently due to the shutdown,Mom’s Wholesale Florist recently shuttered its doors on the 8200 block of Auburn Boulevard. A phone call from The Sentinel to the flower shop Friday afternoon went to an answering machine, but did not allow a message to be left.
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Hale said an unexpected benefit of his gift card stimulus effort was getting to know other business owners better. He said people are too busy to talk under normal circumstances, but not during the current crisis. “Good relationships have come out of this,” he said.
“Moving forward I will do something like this again,” Hale said, noting that his gift card offer concluded earlier this month. “I don’t know what yet, but something.”
The City of Citrus Heights is also seeking to provide economic stimulus to local restaurants through a new “Great Plates” program, whichemploys local restaurants to deliver meals meeting nutritional requirements to seniors and other high risk individualsin the community.
Hale said he’s optimistic about the new Great Plates effort and hopes it will give local restaurants a much needed economic boost.
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