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Newark Gift Card Aims to Revive City's Small Business During Holidays

Newark Alliance

85 businesses are accepting the cards, and Prudential has donated $25,000 to add bonus money to the card balances

A gift card --- not to a store, but to Newark! The idea, from the nonprofit Newark Alliance, is to get people to do their holiday shopping in town rather than in malls.

The city has suffered from a lack of workers doing daytime shopping in Newark because of the pandemic. Evan Weiss, CEO of the Alliance says they’re out to fix that.

“We want to try to reclaim a good chunk of that purchasing power by incentivizing spending activity in Newark in every ward of the city,” he said. “There’s a concentration downtown, but we’ve been very fortunate through some work to make sure the entire city has representative businesses in the program.”

So far 85 businesses are taking part. And through a $25,000 donation from Prudential, cards bought while that money lasts will have a 40% bonus added to the card balance.

“That’s one of the best ways to support the city particularly when you have all these larger businesses, colleges, universities, hospitals, in town and we have a huge daytime population increase in Newark,” said Weiss.

Weiss says they’re trying to keep businesses from closing.

“While we see folks are hanging on in a way that earlier in the pandemic we might have thought they would have to close, it’s still tough and it can’t work like that forever,” he said, “so we’re trying to work quickly and carefully, obviously, with the new variant, to get folks back into town safely.”

The eGift Cards can be purchased online at www.TheNewarkGiftCard.com and are valid at more than 85 small businesses. They never expire.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.