Basalt stimulus program rolling in the dough
Basalt has definitely been stimulated this summer.
The Town Council this week allocated an extra $30,000 to support a home-grown mini-economic stimulus program that was launched in June and instantly proved popular. That’s on top of $45,000 the council approved to get the program rolling.
Here’s how the stimulus works: Consumers get a $30 certificate for every $300 they spend in participating businesses. Consumers save their receipts and submit them at Town Hall, where they are given the certificate.
The certificate can then be used for dining or shopping at the 90 participating businesses. Merchants are reimbursed by the town government for the gift certificates that are redeemed.
The town government initially approved $45,000 to cover the costs of 1,500 gift certificates. Consumers have come close to burning through that amount.
“Overall, we have already issued nearly 1,400 gift certificates and visitors are starting to redeem them,” said Town Manager Bill Kane, who created the program. “This was designed to get visitors into the stores and restaurants and obviously it is working.”
Front office workers at Town Hall have been besieged in recent weeks by shoppers turning in their receipts to get certificates. An intern was hired this week to process the requests.
The council’s approval of additional funding makes another 1,000 gift certificates available. The certificates can be redeemed until Sept. 30, assuming they last that long.
Quinn Gallagher, who owns Midland Baking Co. with his wife, Aleece, said customers are obviously aware of the program, and they are saving receipts and redeeming gift certificates. “A lot of people are definitely interested in it,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of gift certificates redeemed.”
The bakery is a new business so he cannot compare sales to last summer, but Gallagher said he believes the program has boosted sales.
Cathy Click, who owns Cafe Bernard with husband Bernard Moffroid, said locals, second homeowners and visitors are all redeeming the gift certificates. She also believes the program is a success, not only because it has spurred business but because “it brought the business community together.”
There is no hard data available yet to gauge the financial impact of the program. A sales tax report reflecting sales made in June won’t be available until mid-August.
If all gift certificates are issued, it would represent sales of at least $750,000.
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