The Main Street Business Improvement Association (MSBIA) has launched the city’s first neighborhood loyalty program with a new card that offers holders discounts and specials at more than 50 Main Street businesses.
The cards are being given to all Ocean Park Association members and can be purchased by the general public for $25 on the Main Street website and at the Main Street booth during the Sunday Farmers Market in Santa Monica. Valid for one year from date of purchase.
The card offers deals and incentives at over 50 Main Street businesses including restaurants, bars, cafes, clothing stores and other retail and service businesses. Specials are listed online and businesses will have a window cling for the public to identify participation.
MSBIA Executive Director, Hunter Hall said the organization has been debating the idea for a while.
“In the end, the trick was finding a solution that benefited the merchants as well as the residents of the community, and those who live and work nearby. This program is unique in that it does just that,” he said.
Hall said the program has is a good value for locals, helps the local neighborhood association with a membership incentive and fights retail decline by creating more regular customers.
“Most businesses are very excited about it. Many have approached us without solicitation and we anticipate more coming onboard each week,” he said. “Anything that incentivizes people who live and work in the area to come down, shop, and eat on Main Street instead of ordering delivery or relying on Amazon for everything else is seen as a great thing by merchants. It’s a win/win for everyone without much of a downside, so there’s no reason a merchant shouldn’t be excited about it.”
The MSBIA area covers several hundred businesses with about 150 retail shops. Hall said the first wave of participants is heavily focused on street level retail but he hopes to expand the program with more services as it becomes more popular.
Some large companies offer loyalty cards for their specific business and KCRW offers a discount card to its members that has discounts throughout the Los Angeles area. Downtown Santa Monica Inc. maintains a database of discounts available to individuals that work downtown and the Santa Monica Place mall has an internal loyalty program.
Hall said the big difference with the Main Street card is the integration with the neighborhood.
“The partnership with OPA is what makes the whole thing tick,” he said. At its essence, OPA is an existing, hyperlocal client base that all Main Street businesses have a vested interest in attracting and retaining. An annual OPA membership includes an annual rewards card. This greatly increases the incentive for people to join OPA, and then subsequently pushes those new and existing members to shop on Main Street more.”
Evan Meyer, current OPA president said he hopes the partnership can be an example of how communities can come together in a positive, collaborative and civically responsible way.
He said the two groups are kindred spirits.
“We’re both here trying to serve this community in a similar way,” he said. “In a lot of overlapping ways, it makes sense that especially as Main Street is going through some tricky times, we can empower residents to shop local buy, local and be rewarded for it and drive that community feeling.”
For more information about the card, visit https://www.mainstreetsm.com/rewards.