Fae Bruns

San Luis Obispo’s Buy Local Bonus program is back for the holiday season and shoppers can start receiving rewards now.

In partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, San Luis Obispo City will be purchasing $25 gift cards to small businesses and distributing these to shoppers who turn in $100 or more in receipts from businesses. 

They will also be purchasing up to $625 in gift cards from each local business that chooses to participate. 

According to San Luis Obispo City Tourism Manager Molly Cano, the program was designed to incentivize shoppers to spend their money locally during the holiday season. 

“Now more than ever it’s really important for us to be investing our dollars where it counts and supporting our neighbors, our friends and our families that own these businesses,” Cano said.

This year, the city will be using economic stimulus funds to help pay for the $90,000 of gift cards that have been purchased as a reward to shoppers supporting local.

The Buy Local Program first launched in December 2020 after the second COVID-19 shutdown and was the first of its kind in the area. According to Cano, the program had great success, providing nearly $730,000 of local shopping revenue for businesses in the area and 4,000 shopper participants. 

“We are infusing these dollars directly into their businesses and encouraging shoppers to buy local,” Cano said. 

Downtown surf shop and clothing store Moondoggies is among the many retail stores, restaurants, fitness and personal service businesses participating in the program.

“It’s nice that the city is giving back to people that are supporting local businesses instead of going online and buying from large corporations like Amazon,” Moondoggies Assistant Manager James Zanoli said. 

Cano said that because businesses are currently struggling with supply, the Buy Local Bonus program can help shoppers, even more, this year. 

“It really makes sense, being able to go directly to a business instead of waiting for an order,” Cano said. “It gives you some peace of mind and a sense of good wellbeing of being able to support those businesses.”

Shoppers can get their $25 gift card to a local business by submitting their receipt to the San Luis Obispo Visitor Center at supportslo@slocity.org. The initiative will continue until all supplies have been used.

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