Saturday, November 2, 2013

Easton Main Street Unveils Downtown Gift Cards

By Christina Georgiou

Kim Kmetz, manager for the Easton Main Street Initiative,
right, announces the new Downtown Easton gift card
program at a press conference held at Pearly Baker's
Alehouse on Friday afternoon. She was joined by
EMSI assistant manager Amy Boccadoro and Easton
Hospital marketing vice president Stephen Wilson.
A gift card that can be used in 58 Downtown Easton shops and restaurants is now available, just in time for the holiday season, the Easton Main Street Initiative  announced at a press conference today.

Purchasable in any denomination between $5 and $500, the cards are a "one-size-fits-all kind of gift" perfect for nearly anyone, said Amy Boccadoro, EMSI's assistant manager.

The program is the first of its kind in the Lehigh Valley, and the gift cards work like a credit card, she added.

The Downtown Easton gift card can
be used in 58 shops and restaurants,
as well as to pay for curbside parking
at meters that accept card payments.
The cards can also be used to pay for parking at curbside meters that are equipped to handle credit and debit card payments, though they won't be usable at the city's parking deck.

The cards, which are not refillable, carry a $2 activation fee, paid at the time of their purchase.

For now, the cards are only available at the Easton Main Street office at 35 South Third St., and in the Sigal Museum gift shop, 342 Northampton St., open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

In addition to being a holiday gift item, at least one Downtown business plans on using the cards as an incentive to loyal customers.

Jonathan Davis, co-owner of Pearly Baker's Alehouse on Centre Square, praised the new card program.

"It's a real testament to see how far Downtown has come. We couldn't have dreamt of this...20 years ago," he said, adding that Pearly's will be using the new cards to reward its loyal customers. "For a while, we were giving away gift cards to other businesses. But now we're going to be giving away Downtown gift cards."

While Downtown merchants paid a fee to be part of the new program and will also pay processing fees similar to credit card processing fees, there were still costs associated with setting up the program, which were underwritten by Easton Hospital, said EMSI Manager Kim Kmetz.

The ad campaign for the holiday season promoting the Downtown Easton gift card
program uses the slogan, "Give thoughtlessly.  Simple. Local. Mindful."
"This very much was a collaborative effort between a variety of businesses and organizations," she said. "We could not have gotten this off the ground without the help of Easton Hospital."

While the cards can't be used for purchasing anything at the Wilson-based hospital, the healthcare organization  was still happy to make the program a reality, said vice president of marketing Stephen Wilson.

"It's exciting for us because we know that the health of a community is based on the strength of its businesses."

Between the upcoming holiday season, along with an ambitious campaign to market the cards via billboards, radio ads, and a button on the Downtown Easton smartphone app, Boccadoro said she expects that the cards will be snatched up quickly, though with 2,000 available, the supply should hold out at least until early next year.

"We feel it's going to be great for holiday gift-giving," she said.

For more information about the Downtown Easton gift card program and a list of participating businesses, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment