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Gift Card Initiative

Ellicottville merchants discuss new gift card program, Facebook message, and "Good News" features

The Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce held a membership meeting this past Wednesday via ZOOM. On the agenda was a new idea to help drive online sales of gift cards for local merchants. Executive director Brian McFadden had seen similar programs in other communities and explained to the meeting participants how the program would work.

“Any restaurant, shop or business that wants to participate would sign up with the Chamber, and we’ll offer your gift card on our website, at a discount.  For example, your business could offer a $25 gift card for $20. Patrons can purchase one or multiple gift cards of their choice directly through the Chamber's site. We collect the payments, we collect the gift cards from your establishment and send them out to the purchasers, we payout the businesses.”

McFadden mentioned that this initiative can also be promoted on the Chamber’s Facebook page, website and in an E-newsletter. The Chamber will also send a direct mail piece to the approximately 2,100 part-time residents who currently aren’t in town but may have an interest in helping to support the community in which they vacation. Included in the direct mail piece will be examples how many of our local merchants, even though they might be closed, are giving back to those in need.

“We can have our creative department put together a nice marketing brochure that can be mailed, and we will develop a digital ad campaign for it,” said McFadden.

Melanie Pritchard, realtor with ERA Team VP Real Estate, inquired about how someone, such as herself who does not have something to offer in the form of a gift card, can take part. Barb Pump, project development manager for the Chamber, suggested implementing a “presented by a sponsor” option, where gift cards can be purchased by a “sponsor” and sent to essential workers, such as first responders, nursing home staff, etc.

With support received from the ZOOM meeting attendees, McFadden and Pump will begin contacting the businesses in Ellicottville to gather a list of those interested in participating.

 

FACEBOOK GRID / VIDEO MESSAGE

Last week the Ellicottville Chamber posted a ‘grid message’ which invited members to each create a sign with one word on it. When assembled, it wrote out a message, which was then posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page. Following up on the success of this fun project, Pump suggested organizing another membership post, this time using video.

“People would record their own little message to the public and to promote their business, then submit their video to the Chamber so that we can have our creative department compile them all together.”

With interest from a number of meeting attendees, Pump will put together details including a time limit on each participant’s video part, and will reach out to members for sign-ups.

 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?

Pump also reminded members that if they are offering any type of service, whether it be curbside pick-up, delivery or on-line shopping, to please let the Chamber know so that they can promote it on their social media platforms.

“We don’t always see your posts on Facebook or know what you have to offer or if any changes are made within your establishment’s offerings, so please let us know, that way we can share the information,” said Pump. “We want to make sure we are sharing your stuff as much as possible.”

Amy DeTine, realtor with ERA Team VP Real Estate, commented during the meeting that the County is posting a list of all the restaurants offering curbside pick-up on their website, and encouraged local restaurants to add theirs to the list.  You can access that list and sign up at enchantedmountains.com/takeout.

 

GOOD NEWS FEATURES

Jessica Wallace, membership coordinator for the Chamber, discussed the special membership group that the Chamber has created on Facebook, called “EVL Chamber Membership Outreach.” Previously, this group was a private group, and it has come to their attention that some members, or persons in charge of marketing for those member businesses, are not seeing the group’s posts, and therefore are missing out on membership updates, discussions, etc. Wallace advised that she has since changed this group to a higher visibility setting that way other people who are working under a member’s business can request to join the group and stay current on updates.

Wallace also touched on the interview articles that she has been writing for the Chamber, showcasing member businesses and what they are doing to give back.

“If your business is doing something to give back during this time, whether it is for your employees or donating to organizations in need, please reach out to us so that we can feature you,” said Wallace. “Anything we can do to spread the positivity and keep our visitors in the loop about Ellicottville .”

McFadden brought up the example of the recent feature article on Frank Maduri, owner of Monroe Street Brick & Brew, who has been working to organize donations of PPE’s to those in need.

“Jessica posted that article less than a week ago, and it has already gotten over 14,000 views on Facebook,” he said. “We are not only posting these features on our Facebook page, but we’re also sending them out to our visitors via Constant Contact.”

Wallace also mentioned that the Chamber’s webmaster is currently working on implementing these article features onto the Chamber’s website.

 

A NEW EVENT IDEA

Frank Maduri (Monroe St. Brick & Brew) brought an idea to the table for a new event that would honor essential workers.

“I was thinking that we could find a weekend in the fall, depending on how opened up we are by then, and organize a ‘First Responders’ Weekend, or something along those lines,” he explained. “Everyone can come up with their own ideas and offers, or we can do something collectively, to show our appreciation for EMTs, doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery store workers, etc.”

Meeting attendees thought this was a good idea, and as Bill Finnerty (Finnerty’s Tap Room) commented, “The First Responders Weekend is a no-brainer. I’m all for it!”

 

COUPON BOOK

Annie Coe (Cupcaked) inquired about the status of the Coupon Book idea that Spencer Timkey (The Boardroom) brought up at the last Chamber membership meeting. The idea: Consumers who purchase a season pass to our local ski resorts would be given, free of charge, a coupon book filled with offers and shopping discounts from all the local businesses, as a way of giving back to our visitors and encouraging them to frequent the downtown business district.

The Chamber has not received a follow-up yet, and Coe offered to reach out to Timkey for an update.

 

FINAL NOTES FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Brian McFadden mentioned that the Chamber office has been receiving quite a few calls, many from older folks who were previously used to accessing the library for their faxing and copy needs, however, the library is currently closed. McFadden would like to inform the public that the Chamber does offer these services, and is able to provide them through the mail slot on the Chamber’s office door.

“We ask that you call ahead, and you can hand it to us through the mail slot. Once we’ve completed your fax or made your copies, we’ll slip your paperwork back through the slot to you.”

McFadden also commented on the status of Summer Music Festival. He stated that there have been some rumors going around that Summer Fest is cancelled.

“At this time, we have not cancelled Summer Music Festival. The only event that has been moved is Girls Getaway Weekend, from June to the 3rd week of August. We have a Board meeting on April 30th which is when we will discuss our summer events and decide on what we will do.”