Your gift card purchases are paying the rent for some small business owners

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Over the past week and a half, we’ve seen small businesses across the country be forced to find new ways to reach their customers.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the drastic decrease in business has left a lot of people worried about paying their upcoming bills.

One Birmingham landlord is working with his tenants to help. Most of the businesses in the Battery are closed and those that are able to are offering curbside services. To encourage customers to spend, Ward Neely created a gift card program for all of his tenants in the Battery.

“We came up with this gift card program, which is almost like a loan program from our customers which allows them to spend money with us now, spend it later,” Neely said.

Customers can choose between three options: donate $20 each month for four months, donate $40 each month for four months, or donate a custom amount. For each donation made, customers receive a gift card valued at a higher amount than their donation. All of the money goes straight to the building’s rent.

Kaitlyn Bentley owns True40 Fitness in the Battery. She has had to entirely shut down and said some of her clients have still supported her through uncertain times.

“We suspended all of our clients’ memberships, and I had probably about 20 people message me and say, ‘don’t suspend my membership, I want to keep supporting you in this time even if I can’t be there’. And that’s amazing. I’ve been in tears over it for the past week,” Bentley said.

Several gift cards have already been purchased since the program launched last Friday. If you’re interested in donating, click here. If you can’t donate, business owners encourage you to support them in other ways, like sharing their social media pages or leaving them a review online.


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