By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Not sure what to get your loved one this holiday season? Why not give the gift of Oxford? The Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will offer a shop local gift card from Nov. 1.
“It’s kind of cool to think we have our own town gift card,” said DDA Executive Director Kelly Westbrook. “That’s really neat and especially this year because they’re saying that supplies and merchandise in general are going to be hard to get this year.”
The cards will be available to purchase from the DDA offices at 22 W. Burdick during normal hours Monday to Thursday, or online.
“You can come in to the DDA office and you can buy any amount you want, or you can also go online and download it and have it right on your phone,” Westbrook said.
The DDA will provide a link to purchase the gift cards on its website and social media pages. Online ordering is also a good option for those who are out of town, or want to mail someone a card.
The cards feature a photo of historic downtown Oxford, and come with a card holder to fill out the “To/From” and amount.
Interest in the program was greater than expected, and the DDA is still onboarding businesses into the program. A full list of participating establishments will be on the back of the card holder and on the DDA website.
The card itself will be easy to use because it does not require a point-of-sale system. Businesses can simply download an app, then scan the card.
Westbrook said the gift card company, Factor 4, is good to work with. “A couple of our businesses already work with them on gift cards, so I felt super comfortable going with them, because they have a team of people that will answer somebody’s call if someone is having a hard time with the gift card.”
The DDA is paying for the program using leftover funds from a Main Street Oakland County tech grant that were set to expire. Gift cards can be costly for small businesses because of fees. “This program is awesome because the stores don’t have to pay anything,” Westbrook said. “The DDA is going to absorb it. It’s actually a 5 percent fee to us once the gift cards are sold.”
There’s no fee to set up the program, it just depends on the dollar amount of cards sold. “A successful program would sell $15,000 worth of gift cards the first year. That would be really successful. And that for us would only be $750. If we can bring $15,000 into the community, $750 is nothing.”
Westbrook said they would use the extra grant funds to promote the program. “I think it’s going to be a big deal for our community. And you know that it’s right here, supporting local, which is just awesome. We need it.”