Chamber of Commerce program uses e-gift card to buttress Hull merchants
The Hull Nantasket Chamber of Commerce is hoping for widespread participation by residents of this close-knit community in a new Love Hull/Shop Local virtual gift card program, intended as an innovative way to support Hull businesses.
“Yiftee,” as it is known, is an online custom-branded gifting service that provides a mechanism through which people can send a digital gift card to a family member, friend, co-worker, or other recipient. The card can be sent on the occasion of a birthday or a wedding, as a special thank-you, or for any other use at participating Hull stores, restaurants, or other businesses – all in an effort to keep the spending local, especially a year into the coronavirus pandemic.
Local businesses are key to the Hull community, Chamber President Adrian Muir believes, saying that “without them we’d just have chain restaurants and retail. This program keeps the money in Hull. It’s a great way to do business.”
The chamber is reaching out to every business in town this week to invite them to participate, from restaurants, specialty shops, and the pharmacy to professionals like attorneys and accountants and those in the real estate business. “We’re also inviting nonprofits such as the Hull Lifesaving Museum and the Paragon Carousel to participate,” Muir added. The program is just beginning, and it is expected more businesses will be added as they decide to participate.
Muir noted that most of the town’s businesses are owned by Hull residents “whose kids are going or went to school here. We frequent each other’s restaurants and other businesses and are on a first-name basis. That’s one of the joys of living in a small town.”
Here’s how the program works:
Local businesses can sign up on the https://app.yiftee.com/gift-card/hull link on the chamber’s website.
Those wishing to purchase an e-gift card can select the value, choose a recipient (someone else or even themselves), and then send the virtual gift card via email or text message. The card can also be printed out.
The recipient can then make purchases in the amount of the gift card at participating merchants. The link will feature a printable list of participating businesses. The chamber is contributing $500 to cover the associated minimal fees for those who enroll.
“It works like a debit card,” Muir explained. “You can go into one shop to buy a cup of coffee and then go across the street to buy something at another business until the balance is spent.”
More information is available at the above link, along with a map that includes participating merchants as they join the program, Gift Card FAQs, and other information.
Residents of Hull and beyond, including those who may have moved from Hull but still have ties to the community, are encouraged to participate.
To sweeten the deal, Hull real estate broker Patsy Whitney has donated $5,000 in support of the program to further extend the cards’ value.
For those who purchase $50 Love Hull/Shop Local e-gift cards, an extra $25 in value will be added; for those who buy a $25 gift card, an extra $10 value will be included at no extra charge, with a limit of four gift cards.
Whitney, who moved to Hull 2½ years ago, said her donation is her way of giving back to the community. “This is my town, and it’s good to help people who are in business here,” she said. “I know many are going through hard times, with some businesses closing and a few new ones opening. This is my way of showing appreciation and helping local businesses that have been good to me.”
As a former Sharon restaurant owner in the late 1970s, Whitney is familiar with the challenges normally associated with running a dining establishment, “and especially during times like these – which is overwhelming. I love Hull, and this is a small thing for me to do to support local businesses.”
The chamber will be promoting the Love Hull/Shop Local program on its website and through social media. “We really want to get the word out,” Muir said.