Draper Deals is a win-win for residents and local businessesDec 14, 2020 11:46AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton
Every household in Draper received three $10 gift cards to be redeemed at local businesses before the end of November. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)
By Mimi Darley Dutton|[email protected]
Using federal CARES Act funds, Draper City launched “Draper Deals.” According to Mayor Troy Walker, the city mailed gift cards totaling $30 per household to 17,000 homes, or everyone with a Draper postal address. The three $10 gift cards, each with a unique code on the back, could be used at any of a variety of participating businesses in the city. They came with a letter explaining the program along with a list of participating businesses where the gift cards could be redeemed. More than 70 businesses participated ranging from dentists, lawyers, restaurants, tire businesses, photographers, grocers, clothing retailers and hair stylists.
The gift cards arrived in mailboxes the second week of November and had to be redeemed by Nov. 30. In turn, participating businesses were asked to return their redeemed gift cards and receipts to the city in early December for reimbursement.
“It’s $30 that you didn’t have and it’s $30 to spend in town, and that helps everybody,” Walker said. He explained that the reason for the quick turnaround was that these CARES Act funds came with a federal requirement that they had to be used before the end of the year.
Earlier in the fall, the city received $2.8 million in funds for COVID-19 related necessities and relief initiatives through Salt Lake County and from the federal government. “We’ve been trying to find expenses that this was approvable on, and to use the funds to incentivize economic activity in the city,” Walker said.
Because Draper Fire Chief Clint Smith lives in and serves on Herriman’s City Council, he was aware of a similar program Herriman had done for their residents. He told Draper’s City Council about it and they asked Draper city officials to pursue it. Herriman city officials shared details of how they instigated their program, helping Draper to launch their own version.
CJ Ford, general manager of Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, said their restaurant experienced a drastic decline in business when the pandemic began, but things have greatly improved since. “Now we’re at about 30% more business than last year at this time.” Ford was enthusiastic about the Draper Deals program. “I see a lot of repeat customers, but most of the customers I’ve seen with Draper Deals are new, so we’re seeing some new faces here. I think it was an amazing idea that Draper City did that for all their residents,” he said.
Jason Pennock, owner of Great Harvest Bread in the Draper Peaks shopping center, was also enthusiastic about the program. “We are happy to be Draper’s neighborhood bakery and we hope that residents will redeem their gift cards with Great Harvest,” Pennock said.
Walker said other CARES funds received by the city have gone toward public safety budget items and salaries including a wildland fire vehicle (which qualified because of the enormous increase in use of the trails during the pandemic) and an upgrade of an ambulance because of an increased number of transports.
Now 10 months into the pandemic, Walker said the city’s economy has fared surprisingly well. “I was kind of shocked, but we have a diverse sales tax base in Draper which we’ve done by design. Internet sales really took off, grocery stores did well, auto dealers did surprisingly well. Utah has been pretty strong,” he said.
If the November Draper Deals proves successful, and if funding allows, the city may do another round of Draper Deals in December.