Shockoe Slip gift card

shockoeslipRetailers and restaurants in Shockoe Slip have joined forces to lure more shoppers to the downtown destination.

Starting now and running through the end of March, people who spend $100 at participating stores will receive two River District Canal Cruise tickets and two vouchers good for $5 off meals at nearby restaurants. But wait, there’s more.

Shoppers who spend $200 will get two tickets good for a downtown tour courtesy of Segway of Richmond,  as well as the lunch vouchers.

Shops along the cobblestone-lined district on East Cary Street are trying to boost sales at the same time consumers are pulling back. Two stores didn’t make it through the holiday season: IF, a clothing store, and R.V. Cole, a furniture store, went out of business before the first of the year.

Foot traffic in the district has declined significantly, according to Angie Heyming, owner of furniture store TheseFourWalls.

“In December, we were so sad,” Heyming said. “We put things on hold for people, but they called and said for financial reasons they couldn’t go through with the sale.”

In an effort to encourage more Richmonders to come and spend their dollars in the area, Heyming hatched a plan.

“I live in the Near West End, and it is like pulling teeth to get people to go downtown,” Heyming said. “People are so afraid of it, they don’t realize how great it is.”

Heyming said 90 percent of her customers are either tourists or business travelers staying in nearby hotels. The program was born in part from her frustration with not seeing more locals. Part of the goal of the program is to encourage people who live in the Richmond area to come downtown and to come again to redeem their rewards, she said.

Heyming approached Venture Richmond, a public-private group that promotes downtown, to help put the program together. The group operates the canal cruises, and program manager Erika Gay offered the rides as one of the rewards.

“We already had two retailers close in Shockoe Slip, and we didn’t want to see anymore close because of the economy,” Gay said.

Gay also helped get restaurant owners to participate in the lunch voucher program. Venture Richmond agreed to pay owners $2 for every $5 voucher they honor. The vouchers can be used at Cha Cha’s Cantina, Lucky Buddha, A Moveable Feast, Sam Miller’s and Sine Irish Pub.

Venture Richmond also provided funds to cover the program’s printed materials, including posters.

To receive the awards, shoppers must keep their receipts and bring them to TheseFourWalls by March 31. Heyming said they have already given away a couple of prize packets.

“I hope it is successful in the number of redemptions, which means people actually come back,” Heyming said.

BizSense will check back at the end of March to see if the program was successful.

shockoeslipRetailers and restaurants in Shockoe Slip have joined forces to lure more shoppers to the downtown destination.

Starting now and running through the end of March, people who spend $100 at participating stores will receive two River District Canal Cruise tickets and two vouchers good for $5 off meals at nearby restaurants. But wait, there’s more.

Shoppers who spend $200 will get two tickets good for a downtown tour courtesy of Segway of Richmond,  as well as the lunch vouchers.

Shops along the cobblestone-lined district on East Cary Street are trying to boost sales at the same time consumers are pulling back. Two stores didn’t make it through the holiday season: IF, a clothing store, and R.V. Cole, a furniture store, went out of business before the first of the year.

Foot traffic in the district has declined significantly, according to Angie Heyming, owner of furniture store TheseFourWalls.

“In December, we were so sad,” Heyming said. “We put things on hold for people, but they called and said for financial reasons they couldn’t go through with the sale.”

In an effort to encourage more Richmonders to come and spend their dollars in the area, Heyming hatched a plan.

“I live in the Near West End, and it is like pulling teeth to get people to go downtown,” Heyming said. “People are so afraid of it, they don’t realize how great it is.”

Heyming said 90 percent of her customers are either tourists or business travelers staying in nearby hotels. The program was born in part from her frustration with not seeing more locals. Part of the goal of the program is to encourage people who live in the Richmond area to come downtown and to come again to redeem their rewards, she said.

Heyming approached Venture Richmond, a public-private group that promotes downtown, to help put the program together. The group operates the canal cruises, and program manager Erika Gay offered the rides as one of the rewards.

“We already had two retailers close in Shockoe Slip, and we didn’t want to see anymore close because of the economy,” Gay said.

Gay also helped get restaurant owners to participate in the lunch voucher program. Venture Richmond agreed to pay owners $2 for every $5 voucher they honor. The vouchers can be used at Cha Cha’s Cantina, Lucky Buddha, A Moveable Feast, Sam Miller’s and Sine Irish Pub.

Venture Richmond also provided funds to cover the program’s printed materials, including posters.

To receive the awards, shoppers must keep their receipts and bring them to TheseFourWalls by March 31. Heyming said they have already given away a couple of prize packets.

“I hope it is successful in the number of redemptions, which means people actually come back,” Heyming said.

BizSense will check back at the end of March to see if the program was successful.

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