With many businesses closed due to the shelter-in-place order, some, such as restaurants, are relying on delivery orders. Others, meanwhile, are counting on online purchases, if they have such an option available.
But there is one source of revenue—gift cards—that many are missing out on because they don’t have the means to create them electronically.
Thanks to the efforts of Patrick Flautt and the Gilroy Downtown Business Association, now they do.
The Gilroy Save Your Fave Challenge launched last week at gilroyfavesgiftcards.com, which allows customers to purchase gift cards at Gilroy businesses. Ten businesses are currently set up on the website, which range from restaurants to retail shops, and more are being added on a frequent basis, according to Flautt, who coded the site.
“The response has been unbridled optimism and joy,” he said. “It’s something I was definitely not expecting. I thought it would be a tough sell, but it’s just been flooding in.”
Flautt said the website was designed with accessibility in mind, adding that customers can check out in “less than three clicks.” To begin, shoppers can browse listings in three categories: Food and Drink, Retail, and Services and Attractions.
After selecting their business of choice, they are prompted to select gift cards in $10 increments. Payments can be made by debit, credit card or PayPal. Once purchased, the certificates are then emailed to the user, who can save it to their phone or computer to use at a later date.
All proceeds from the sale go directly to the merchants, Flautt said. Businesses interested in joining can email Nancy Maciel at [email protected] or fill out the form at gilroyfavesgiftcards.com.
The more support these small businesses receive, the more likely they will be able to survive the unknown duration of the shelter-in-place order. According to Gilroy Downtown Business Association board member John Taft, on average, downtown restaurants only have 16 days of cash reserves and other businesses have roughly 21 days of cash reserves.
“These businesses need an immediate cash infusion to help them through this difficult time,” he said. “This crisis is most acute for restaurants which tend to operate on thinner margins and with smaller cash reserves. They will not be able keep operating even with their take-out activities for an extended period. The longer the delay in relief the more likely that some of these local businesses will not survive.”
Flautt said the goal is keep the website operational long after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, and plans on adding more features to keep customers coming back.
“I hope that we get every merchant on board,” he said. “There’s some exciting developments coming down the pipeline with this website.”