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Buy Local Vermont Program FAQs

The following information may be useful to participating businesses and consumers of the Buy Local Vermont Program.

  1. What is Buy Local Vermont?
  2. What is Nift?
  3. How does it work?
  4. How do customers get "matched" to the business options?
  5. What if a customer does not like the two choices they are given?
  6. Which businesses are eligible to participate?
  7. Can non-Vermont residents (i.e. second home owners) sign up for a Nift offer?
  8. How do I sign up for the free offer?
  9. Is there a deadline to register my business on Nift?
  10. What will happen on September 8, 2020?
  11. Can the offers be used online for Vermont businesses with e-commerce platforms?
  12. Are there restrictions to what Nift cannot be used for?
  13. How does Nift ensure a fair share of traffic distributed throughout the state?
  14. Does it cost the consumer to get the $30?
  15. Can a nationally franchised business participate?
  16. Can an out-of-state business (HQ) with a Vermont store location apply?
  17. Who can I contact for further questions or technical support?
  18. Are retail stores that sell CBD products eligible?
  19. Does the entire offer need to be used at once?
  20. What If I do not have a smartphone or a printer to redeem my offer?
  21. Is there a limit to the number of businesses who can take part?
  22. What is the total amount of funds available to this program?
  23. Is there an age limit?
  24. Can I register my business for the program and also receive an offer as a consumer?
  25. Does the offer expire?
  26. What if my business only takes cash or checks?
  27. Are businesses that sell products only at farmers markets eligible?
  28. Are non-profit businesses eligible to register?
  29. Do I have to download an app?
  30. What happens if a customer never redeems their Nift offer? Do the funds remain with the business?
  31. Will you send reminder texts or emails to customers asking them to use their offer before it expires?
  32. Vermonters have to give their address and shopping preferences. Is this information protected from data mining?
  33. Can businesses give cash back if the customer does not use the full amount on the offer?
  34. How are the offers redeemed?
  35. How do I use my #BuyLocalVermont offer?
  36. Can consumers get more than one offer?
  37. Will the offer cover any taxes?
  38. Can you give the offer to someone else to use?
  39. How can businesses without technology in-store redeem the offers?
  40. Are consumers without internet access able to take advantage of this program?
  41. Why was I offered an offer for more than $30?
  42. I have multiple businesses within the same physical address, can I sign up each of my outlets with the same address?
  43. How do businesses establish COVID-19 hardship / impact?
  44. Are Vermont Airbnb properties eligible?
  45. How do you confirm a Vermont resident from a second homeowner?
  46. May the offer be used to purchase a gift certificate?
  47. What qualifies as a “household”?
  48. I have multiple store locations throughout Vermont. Am I able to list them all?
  49. Can one offer be for the full $30 or does each consumer get two $15 choices?
  50. Can Vermont owned breweries and distilleries participate?
  51. How should the receipt of the funds be recorded by the businesses for bookkeeping purposes? Is this considered a grant? Does the business pay income tax on the revenue?

What is Buy Local Vermont?

#BuyLocalVermont is a free program for Vermont businesses and residents impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The #BuyLocalVermont program will encourage visitation and consumer spending in Vermont to support businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This is a consumer stimulus program that maximizes the effects of local consumer spending at restaurants, lodging establishments, retail stores, and tourism attractions.

Full list of FAQs


What is Nift?

Nift is a community of businesses using Nifts – neighborhood gifts – to promote one another and power local economies. Developed in collaboration with local merchants, Nift uses machine learning to match neighborhood businesses with the right local customers, getting them to walk through the door. Founded in 2015 in Boston, Nift works with more than 5 thousand local businesses and 5 million people, generating more than $169M in sales for neighborhood businesses. To learn more, visit www.GoNift.com/vermont.

Full list of FAQs


How does it work?

Here’s how it works:

  1. Stimulus funds are deposited into a dedicated and segregated Nift deposit account
  2. Eligible businesses enroll to receive funds and customers
  3. Patented matchmaking technology connects the right people with the right businesses
  4. Each Vermont resident picks between two offers for participating businesses
  5. Funds are deposited into businesses accounts, via ACH direct deposit or mailed check, when a resident selects an offer
  6. Vermont residents visit businesses to use their offer, typically spending close to double the offer amount
  7. Customers return to businesses several times throughout the year

Full list of FAQs


How do customers get "matched" to the business options?

Nift’s patented matchmaking technology (US Patent: 10,346,868), selects the best two offer options for each person in order to connect the right people with the right neighborhood businesses, generating foot traffic and distribution of stimulus funds via direct deposit to all participating merchants.

Full list of FAQs


What if a customer does not like the two choices they are given?

Vermont residents have the ability to reset their options when they get matched with offers. They can also reach out to the Nift team!

Full list of FAQs


Which businesses are eligible to participate?

Participation is open to these types of businesses: Lodging, Casual Eateries & Sit Down Restaurants, Fitness, Beauty & Spas, Health & Wellness, Shopping & Retail, Attractions & Outdoor Adventures, Arts & Entertainment, Education/Classes, Other Services (for example, car wash, pet services, cleaning services). The State of Vermont has discretion in determining allowable businesses and/or products eligible for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) supported Buy Local Vermont program. Only businesses who sign up can receive funds. Register at: https://www.thinkvermont.com/buy-local-vermont/

Full list of FAQs


Can non-Vermont residents (i.e. second home owners) sign up for a Nift offer?

This program is intended for people who have their primary residence in Vermont. To participate in the program, the Vermont resident must also be 18 years of age or older. Limit one offer per household.

Full list of FAQs


How do I sign up for the free offer?

Beginning September 8, 2020 at 11:00am, any Vermont resident can register for their offer at www.GoNift.com/vermont.

Full list of FAQs


Is there a deadline to register my business on Nift?

No. You can register your business any time during the entirety of the program while funds are available. However, the CARES Act funds will begin being used on September 8, 2020, and the program will only continue while funds are available.

Full list of FAQs


What will happen on September 8, 2020?

On September 8, 2020, at 11:00am, the State of Vermont will start offering residents offers on a first come, first basis. Each Vermont resident will get matched with two offers to use at local businesses, helping them recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19. Register to receive your $30 offer via text message or email by visiting www.GoNift.com/vermont. Limit one per household while supplies last.

Full list of FAQs


Can the offers be used online for Vermont businesses with e-commerce platforms?

Yes. The Nift team will work with you to help set up your Nift account and how consumers will redeem their Nift offer through your online store. Please reach out to our Nift-Vermont representatives at vermont@GoNift.com or 802-300-3441.

Full list of FAQs


Are there restrictions to what Nift cannot be used for?

The offer cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, firearms or any kind of weapons, lottery tickets and fireworks. CBD and hemp are allowable purchases. The State of Vermont has discretion in determining allowable businesses and/or products eligible for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) supported Buy Local Vermont program.

Full list of FAQs


How does Nift ensure a fair share of traffic distributed throughout the state?

One of the intentions of this program is to make sure Vermont is equitably distributing funds throughout the state. Nift has the ability to see businesses and consumers signing up in real time. This allows us to monitor our target outreach efforts and make adjustments.

Full list of FAQs


Does it cost the consumer to get the $30?

No. There is no cost to register for the free offer as long as funds through the CARES Act are available.

Full list of FAQs


Can a nationally franchised business participate?

National franchises that are not Vermont owned and operated are not eligible for this program. Business eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be domiciled and have its primary place of business in Vermont
  • Have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis
  • No firearms, weapons, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, lottery tickets and fireworks

Full list of FAQs


Can an out-of-state business (HQ) with a Vermont store location apply?

Your business must be domiciled in Vermont to be eligible.

Full list of FAQs


Who can I contact for further questions or technical support?

Please reach out to our Nift-Vermont representatives at vermont@GoNift.com or 802-300-3441.

Full list of FAQs


Are retail stores that sell CBD products eligible?

Yes.

Full list of FAQs


Does the entire offer need to be used at once?

The #BuyLocalVermont offer is one-time use only. The offer is non-transferrable, one-time use only, not valid for cash or cash back.

Full list of FAQs


What If I do not have a smartphone or a printer to redeem my offer?

All businesses who register will have access to their own online account. This account will display the names and Nift codes codes of every person who has selected an offer to that business.

Businesses have the ability to cross-reference users with a valid ID to their redeemable code if they do not have a smartphone or printout available at the time of purchase.

Full list of FAQs


Is there a limit to the number of businesses who can take part?

No, this program is open to all eligible Vermont businesses.

Full list of FAQs


What is the total amount of funds available to this program?

$425,000

Full list of FAQs


Is there an age limit?

Yes. You must be 18 or older to receive a #BuyLocalVermont offer.

Full list of FAQs


Can I register my business for the program and also receive an offer as a consumer?

Yes. You can register your business in this program and also sign up for a #BuyLocalVermont offer as a consumer.

Full list of FAQs


Does the offer expire?

All funds in this program need to be distributed per the CARES Act funding guidelines. The offer is valid for a limited time only. All offers will expire by October 31, 2020. 

Full list of FAQs


What if my business only takes cash or checks?

Once a consumer picks your business, Nift will send you a check or deposit. The only transaction needed between the merchant and consumer is to redeem the offer.

There are two ways to redeem a Nift offer:

  1. Using a smartphone, customers can select “Redeem” from their offer, OR
  2. Business owners can sign in to Nift for Business at www.GoNift.com/signin, find the customer's name on the merchant dashboard, and select “Redeem.”

Full list of FAQs


Are businesses that sell products only at farmers markets eligible?

Yes. The Nift team will work with you on how to set up your redeemable offer.

Full list of FAQs


Are non-profit businesses eligible to register?

Yes.

Full list of FAQs


Do I have to download an app?

No. Nift is accessible both online via the web, and also through an app.

Full list of FAQs


What happens if a customer never redeems their Nift offer? Do the funds remain with the business?

Yes.

Full list of FAQs


Will you send reminder texts or emails to customers asking them to use their offer before it expires?

Yes. It is Nift’s mission to motivate customers to use their offers and discover your businesses.

Full list of FAQs


Vermonters have to give their address and shopping preferences. Is this information protected from data mining?

Your data remains yours and can only be used to provide Nift services to you. Much like other web services, you always maintain ownership of your customer's contact details. Hence, this data can never be resold.

Vermont has consumer protection language within the contract between the State of Vermont and Nift.

Full list of FAQs


Can businesses give cash back if the customer does not use the full amount on the offer?

No. The offer is good for one-time use, not valid for cash or cash back.

Full list of FAQs


How are the offers redeemed?

Offers can be used by residents starting September 8, 2020 until the end of the program. There are two ways to redeem a Nift offer:

  1. Using a smartphone, customers can select “Redeem” from their offer, OR
  2. Business owners can sign in to Nift for Business at www.GoNift.com/signin, find the customer's name on the merchant dashboard, and select “Redeem.”

Once an offer is redeemed, businesses need to credit the value at the register.

Nift is not directly involved in the transaction process and relies on business owners to honor the full value of the Nift offer. If you'd like to change your offer, we can work with your business to create a new offer and/or cancel an existing offer.

Full list of FAQs


How do I use my #BuyLocalVermont offer?

Customers can either bring in their smartphone or a print out with their unique Nift code to their selected business to redeem.

Businesses have the ability to cross-reference users with a valid ID to their redeemable code if they do not have a smartphone or print out available at the time of purchase.

Full list of FAQs


Can consumers get more than one offer?

Offers are limited to one per household. However, depending on the value of the offer and their preferences, they could get matched with two smaller-valued offers totaling a minimum of $30.

Full list of FAQs


Will the offer cover any taxes?

The value of the offer does not apply to taxes.

Full list of FAQs


Can you give the offer to someone else to use?

Offers are non-transferrable. We encourage all Vermonter’s to take advantage of this program for themselves to discover new businesses.

Full list of FAQs


How can businesses without technology in-store redeem the offers?

Please reach out to our Nift-Vermont representatives at vermont@GoNift.com or 802-300-3441 for questions about setting up your business account.

Full list of FAQs


Are consumers without internet access able to take advantage of this program?

Please reach out to our Nift-Vermont representatives 802-300-3441 (orvermont@GoNift.com) for questions on receiving your own free #BuyLocalVermont offer.

Full list of FAQs


Why was I offered an offer for more than $30?

Vermont has identified the sectors that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This #BuyLocalVermont program has been designed to help mitigate the economic harm those sectors have suffered. Lodging is one of the sectors that has suffered the most.

To incentivize the purchase of higher value goods (for example, a night’s stay at a Vermont hotel or resort) the value of the offer needs to be in line with the average purchase value of the sector.

Full list of FAQs


I have multiple businesses within the same physical address, can I sign up each of my outlets with the same address?

Yes.

Full list of FAQs


How do businesses establish COVID-19 hardship / impact?

Businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 if they have suffered hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hardship examples include things like loss of staff or loss of sales compared to the same time in the previous year.

Full list of FAQs


Are Vermont Airbnb properties eligible?

Airbnb properties are only eligible if it is your primary business and source of income, and is registered as a business entity with the State of Vermont.

Full list of FAQs


How do you confirm a Vermont resident from a second homeowner?

The #BuyLocalVermont program is open to people 18 year of age or older with their primary residence in Vermont. #BuyLovalVermont requires that consumers only opt into the program if they meet this criteria.

Full list of FAQs


May the offer be used to purchase a gift certificate?

No. Gift certificates hold different guidelines compared to this free #BuyLocalVermont offer. Nift’s mission is to drive new potential customers in the doors of your business. Nift encourages customers to spend their #BuyLocalVermont offer for themselves first. Businesses then have the opportunity to sell gift certificates separately for additional business.

Full list of FAQs


What qualifies as a “household”?

A household is a person’s primary residence.

Full list of FAQs


I have multiple store locations throughout Vermont. Am I able to list them all?

Yes.

Full list of FAQs


Can one offer be for the full $30 or does each consumer get two $15 choices?

On average most offer values are $30, but there are different offer values by business category.

A consumer may get matched with one $10 offer to a café and one $30 offer to a retail shop. In the case that a consumer picks the $10 choice, they will be able to pick another option and get at least $30 of value from the program.

Full list of FAQs


Can Vermont owned breweries and distilleries participate?

Yes, but sales of alcohol are not eligible. Merchandise other than alcoholic products are eligible.

Full list of FAQs


How should the receipt of the funds be recorded by the businesses for bookkeeping purposes? Is this considered a grant? Does the business pay income tax on the revenue?

The business will record the funds as income. The business will need to pay tax on the revenue and the customer needs to pay the sales tax.

Full list of FAQs

Visit ThinkVermont.com for more inspiration and information on living, working and doing business in Vermont.