CB council, Chamber agree to fund restaurant stimulus

40 percent bonus money to support local eateries in February

[ by Mark Reaman ]

A new program with the aim to encourage spending at local restaurants will get underway soon. The Crested Butte town council on Tuesday, January 19 agreed to contribute $5,000 to the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce for the program that will use Yiftee gift cards for restaurants. People can buy the gift cards for less than face value with the idea that will stimulate business.

Basically, for every $25 gift card, a $10 or 40-percent bonus will be added with the town contribution. With 500 gift cards as the goal, that is expected to stimulate a total of $17,500 in new restaurant spending.

Chamber of Commerce director Stephanie Sandstrom made the request to council explaining that “restaurants remain down about 10 percent year over year through November and restaurant owners were feeling insecure about their financial future given the continuing coronavirus pandemic.”

She noted that Gunnison was running a Dining Dollars Program that was successful so the thought was to do something similar at the north end of the valley.

“Offering this program in February will incentivize traffic during a slower period allowing restaurants to adequately accommodate the extra traffic while providing financial support during a lull,” she wrote in a letter to the town, noting that Spring Break coming after February normally brings an uptick in visitor business. “The program will be paired with community messaging on the necessity of supporting local business during these times,” she added.
Town manager Dara MacDonald reminded the council that it had set aside $40,000 in the 2021 budget for COVID related matters.

“This seems like it would be a good project that benefits our local restaurants,” said councilwoman Mallika Magner.

Sandstrom said she had planned to approach restaurant owners with the idea only if the council agreed to the funding. “I think it is important to solidify it first,” she said.

Council unanimously agreed to the $5,000 expenditure. Sandstrom will contact local restaurants to see which ones will participate in the Yiftee gift card program.

The program will begin February 1 and Sandstrom said people can purchase the gifts cards at cbchamber.com. The cards will be valid through the month of February with the intent of stimulating spending during a slower time. Stephanie can be reached at cbchamber.com with any questions.

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