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Loyal to Local launches new program encouraging people to “invest” in small businesses

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 7:45 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -To kick off Cyber Monday, Loyal to Local, a Cedar Rapids organization, is launching the sale of “bonds,” or discounted gift certificates, to local stores and restaurants. The organization is hoping its new “bond” program will give small businesses a much-needed boost heading into the winter months.

Andy Schumacher is the owner and chef at Caucho and Cobble Hill in Cedar Rapids. He says the “bond” program is a welcome and needed support right now. Caucho is one of 50 small businesses hoping Loyal to Local’s “bonds” will help them get through the winter. Schumacher says winter is difficult during a normal year...and COVID-19 only adds to the challenge. “Winter in particular presents a lot of challenges, for one we all lost our patio and outdoor seating. In general, it’s slower in the winter, in Iowa it gets darker earlier, people don’t come out as much as they do in the warmer months. And now with the pandemic more people are hesitant to come out and do the distanced seating,” says Schumacher.

The “bonds” are actually gift certificates that work almost like traditional savings bond. Starting Monday, shoppers can buy a “bond” from a store or restaurant ranging from $75-$90. A physical copy of it comes in the mail, and on March 1st, it can be redeemed at its full worth of $100.

Organizer and entrepreneur Steve Shriver says the program is meant help local businesses make up some of the funds they’ve lost due to the pandemic. “We’re all suffering because of COVID. Most businesses like ours are operating at 50% capacity, or 50% revenue if we’re lucky. It’s a struggle,” says Shriver.

The funds from the “bonds” go directly to the store or restaurant it’s purchased for. That lets the business immediately put it towards things like rent, salaries, and keeping its doors open.

Bonds can be purchased on the Loyal to Local website, here.

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