By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
It was already going to be a tough year for Oxford’s small businesses with the massive M-24 construction project. Then the unthinkable happened.
In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all dine-in restaurants to close. With little notice, many of Oxford’s establishments hustled to put together curb-side pick-up services. It still may not be enough.
Mark Swieczkowski had an idea. He started a Facebook page called “Give Oxford Credit.”
The idea is for folks to anonymously buy gift cards from local businesses for friends or family or someone in need. Then the business will post and tag that person’s name, notifying them they have been gifted a gift card. Give Oxford Credit will reshare the post to help make sure the lucky recipient sees it.
“The whole idea is to try and get some money injected into these businesses when they need it most,” he explained. “I feel like it has gotten off to a good start and it really amazes me how many people are looking to help or even just gift others. It brings some positivity to the community.”
Folks can redeem now, transfer to someone in need, or wait until they are comfortable going out again to use it.
The Oxford Tap, HomeGrown Brewing Company, 24th Street Sports Tavern and 925 Social were among the first to participate, but any business is welcome to join.
Swieczkowski, who has a small business himself (Swiss Insurance Group in the Legacy Center), came up with the idea while he was sitting with his wife, wondering how they could help.
He felt bad for people with small businesses. Many are his clients and he hates to watch them struggle. Every little bit helps, he figures.
“I have seen so many positive things coming from the community. Many of these businesses that are struggling are helping seniors and finding ways to get people fed. If you have the means, who doesn’t like a nice gift?”
In just a few days, the page picked up hundreds of likes, and dozens of gift certificates have already been announced.