The Buy Local Vermont Program is now fully subscribed and $425,000 is on its way to almost 1,000 locally owned businesses. This pilot program was funded through an allocation of the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), and launched to consumers on Tuesday, September 8. The program was designed to maximize the effect of local consumer spending, including at restaurants, retail stores, entertainment and performing arts venues, lodging, and tourism-related businesses to support businesses in Vermont that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Buy Local Vermont program drew an overwhelming response as soon as the program went live. Over 20,000 Vermonters activated verification codes and almost 12,000 received discount offers to support local businesses in their communities. Over 90% of the businesses that were signed up and approved before the program launch received money from the program.
How It Worked
Vermonters who registered on Tuesday, September 8 starting at 11 a.m. were sent codes in the order in which they were requested. Once the codes were received, they could select discount offers from one or more local businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.
To make sure businesses in every Vermont county could benefit, funding was allocated to different regions of the state. Ensuring equity slowed down the issuing of the codes, as so many people signed up to participate at once. The program was also designed to encourage consumer spending in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy. Discount offers ranged from $10 at fast-casual eateries to up to $150 at lodging establishments.
Participating businesses each received an average of $436 each through the program. Customers have until October 31, 2020 to redeem their offers. ACCD anticipates that Vermonters will spend twice the amount of their offer when they redeem them, putting at least another $425,000 into the registers of cash-strapped businesses.
ACCD has proposed expanding #BuyLocalVermont with additional funding, which is currently being debated in the Legislature.