Gift Card Exchange Helps Boost Small Businesses

Blue Heron Brewpub and The Sports Den Team Up

The first quarter of any year is often rough on local businesses, with holiday shopping over and tax returns still underway.

This year, two local small businesses – Blue Heron Brewpub and The Sports Den – teamed up in an effort to encourage people to go shopping and out to eat this time of year.

“I have been actively seeking partnerships for this trade program since the first of the year,” said Chef Max Mason. “I walked in and spoke with the Sport’s Den staff one fine day and after a few emails back and forth it was finalized to launch a like-minded social media and customer based campaign, designated for the benefit of both of our businesses for the entire year.”

“He came up with the idea of doing a gift card exchange program. Whatever we were willing to contribute, they would match in-kind,” said Breanna VanDeHey, manager at The Sports Den.

At first thinking this would be a small in-house type of promotion, after brainstorming a bit, VanDehey realized she could turn the partnership into a bigger marketing collaboration, using the gift cards for various promotions.

“So we ultimately exchanged gift cards for each business to dole out as they saw fit,” she said. “We will be using them throughout the late winter and early spring as gifts for our customers.”

So far, The Sports Den has given away four gift cards to facebook followers that helped share a post on their Facebook and Instagram pages about a bus trip the business is hosting to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a day of skiing and snowboarding.

Facebook post shared between Sports Den and Brewpub. Submitted photo.

“We also collaborate with the UW Continuing Education program by offering snow shoe and cross country ski classes and we plan on giving each course participant one of the gift cards too,” she said. “Any time we make a post on our various social media accounts that involves the gift cards we make sure to tag Blue Heron (and vice versa). We do this because each of our businesses has a different audience base, so by tagging each other we are spreading the net a bit wider about the great things we each offer (did you see those amazing Bloody Mary’s!!).”

Mason also values the opportunity for Brew Pub customers to experience other small businesses.

“As a patron of whichever entity involved, there will always be a chance to be exposed to other businesses in our community with like-minded goals of consumer satisfaction and boosting the local economy in new and creative ways,” he said.

To get involved, people are encouraged to “like” and then “follow” both businesses and keep an eye out for giveaways.

“Now that the program has taken off, I keep coming up with other ways we could hand them out as a way to drive customers to both of our businesses,” said VanDeHey.

“I can definitely see the potential to expand our gift card exchange with other local businesses in the future too,” she added. “We are always open to fun and creative ways to reach our customers and to help members of our community to shop local and to shop small.”

Find the two businesses on Facebook here: The Sports Den, Blue Heron Brewpub

News Desk
Author: News Desk