Bridgman community gift card benefits small businesses

NOW: Bridgman community gift card benefits small businesses

BRIDGMAN, Mich. -- While the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber’s “Buy Local Berrien” campaign continues to take off, officials in Bridgman wanted to create something specific to stores with a community gift card.

“Bridgman has had such amazing growth over the last few years that they really didn’t want to see it go backwards,” said Sarah Spoonholtz, Director of Membership & Events at the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber.

The new initiative will give small businesses in Bridgman a much-needed boost after fighting to stay open through the pandemic. 

“Yesterday we had no sales at all, but the last few weeks we’ve had wonderful sales where they’ve come in and purchased everything that they’re not buying online,” said Catherine Worcester, owner of Accents at Himalaya Textiles.

Even though the different COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns have taken a toll, business owners say lately they’ve seen people make it their mission to shop local.

“It has been different than previous years, but there has been an extreme outpouring of support for small businesses,” said Anna Kozak, co-owner of The Sandpiper.

The Greater Bridgman Area Chamber of Commerce and Growth Alliance picked up on this and partnered with the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber to create the electronic gift card, where you can buy one to use at any participating business – ensuring all of the money stays local.

“Participants can log onto our website and actually purchase the gift cards from there and they’re emailed an electronic gift card, they can either screenshot it to their phone or print it out and they can send it directly to other recipients too,” said Spoonholtz.

For businesses, the offer to opt-in was an easy yes, as it gives them crucial exposure as people finish their holiday shopping.

“This is all encompassing to many different customers who might use their website as a central purchasing place,” said Kozak.

And ultimately – will bring more people to this quaint, small town on Lake Michigan.

“We have the lake and the beaches, the wineries and breweries, a walking trail and lovely countryside – it’s a nice place,” said Worcester.

Those gift cards can be purchased on the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber’s website and right now, they’re also matching purchases of $25 and $50 gift cards.

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