Lowell-area businesses received an infusion of cash last month as the result of a generous promotion. Greg Canfield, owner of Canfield Plumbing & Heating, offered to match gift card purchases of up to $50 made at local stores and restaurants through May 1, 2020.
Erin VanEpps, owner of Main Street BBQ, says the offer was incredibly kind. Although her restaurant was closed at the time, a number of customers contacted her for gift card sales. “The money came in just as a direct withdrawal bill payment was due,” she explains. “It helped keep us from having a late payment.” Main Street BBQ has since reopened for takeout orders.
Overall, Canfield Plumbing & Heating spent approximately $25,000 matching gift card sales. Since some cards were for more than the $50 being matched, the promotion resulted in an estimated $54,000 in revenue to small merchants in and around Lowell’s downtown.
Promotion Offered “Shot in the Arm” to Local Businesses
Canfield says he can’t take credit for the idea of a gift card promotion. It was something suggested in an online HVAC forum. Another company had done something similar in their area, and Canfield thought it could benefit Lowell as well. He brought the idea to his staff, and they agreed it could be a shot in the arm for businesses that were currently closed for regular walk-in sales and needed cash to pay fixed expenses.
“I feel really fortunate,” Canfield says. “Lowell has been so good to us, [and] we wanted to give back.”
The offer, which was promoted on social media, asked people to take a photo of their gift card and receipt and email it to Canfield Plumbing & Heating. The business then sent participants a matching gift card of up to $50.
“The response was overwhelming,” Canfield says. The company received matching requests for gift cards from salons, restaurants, floral shops and more.
Some businesses were running their own promotions which further sweetened the deal. At jewelry store Chimera Design, for instance, co-owner Cliff Yankovich was offering his own special. For every $50 gift card purchased, he would send the buyer a $60 gift card instead. When combined with the Canfield Plumbing & Heating promotion, it meant customers could receive $110 in gift cards for only $50.
“It was incredibly generous,” Yankovich says of the Canfield promotion. He notes it helped bring in money from outside the community as well with some customers being from Rockford and Grand Rapids.
While Yankovich isn’t sure when his store will be open to the public, jewelry is still available online with specials regularly posted on the Chimera Design Facebook page.
For Canfield, whose business has been able to provide essential services during the state’s stay-at-home order, it only seemed right to do what he could to help other owners. “Lowell is such a great community,” he says. “We all support each other.”