Keeping local dollars in the community: Downtown Port Huron launches gift card program

Standing in line at the supermarket or drugstore, often nestled amongst the candy, magazines, and other impulse buys, and there they are: Gift cards. And there’s a lot of them — different gift cards for this chain of restaurants and that chain of coffee shops, gift cards for one big box store after another.

But what about our local mom-and-pop shops? Downtown Port Huron has been working on that problem for a few years now — mainly the logistics — and their solution debuted late last month. The Downtown Port Huron Gift Card program allows recipients to use the cards at more than 25 participating downtown businesses.

“The real idea of this is that everybody loves the gift of freedom. It’s why gift cards are so popular; you can get whatever you want. But with that, you end up at the big box stores, the Amazons of the world. This program keeps people shopping downtown,” says Cynthia Cutright, director of the Port Huron Downtown Development Authority.

“I always thought shopping downtown was a more personal experience and the gift cards will help keep those dollars local that we would otherwise lose to gift cards from the big box stores.”

The Downtown Port Huron Gift Cards are available for purchase in amounts that total anywhere from $10 to $500. Backed by Visa, they work like any other gift card you might purchase at the store. Gift cards can be purchased on the DDA website or in-person at their office in the McMorran Place Arena Pro Shop.

More than 25 downtown businesses are currently participating in the program.The initial line-up of local businesses to sign up for the gift card program offer a varied group as diverse as the businesses of downtown Port Huron itself.

A Downtown Port Huron Gift Card could be used to buy dinner and drinks from local establishments like Casey’s, Kate’s Downtown, or Lynch’s Irish Tavern. It could be used at stores like Alpine Cycles and Border Keep Games. Enter Stage Right at the Citadel Stage and Port Huron Museums are on board. Heck, you can even use the gift card for a new tattoo from All Rise Tattooing Co.

A complete list of participating businesses is available on the DDA website.

“The gift cards weren’t a response to COVID-19 specifically, because we’ve been mulling it over for a few years, but COVID did help to get the ball rolling,” Cutright says.

“This is certainly another tool we have to help our businesses post-pandemic.”

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