The COVID-19 virus is presenting an unprecedented challenge for small businesses. One of the easiest ways to keep cash flowing to local entrepreneurs is to purchase gift certificates to be used later. However, most downtown businesses don’t currently offer online options.


Apalachicola Main Street’s concept to fill the gap is ShopApalachicola.com, a page where customers can purchase e-gift certificates from participating downtown restaurants and retailers. When a transaction is made, the gift certificate is received via email instantly.


“With the devastating impact to our economy, we wanted to offer a new way to support local entrepreneurs,” said Mark Milliken, an Apalachicola Main Street board member,. “Now whether you live across town or across the country you can help sustain small businesses by shopping from home.”


The participating businesses are listed at ShopApalachicola.com. The listings rotate so that each business gets time at the top of the page. Customers can purchase an e-gift certificate for themselves or send one to another recipient as a gift.


“We’re seeing both of these taking place. Men are buying them for their wives, people are sending them to teachers, friends are exchanging them,” said Main Street Executive Director Augusta West. “People are also buying them for themselves to use later, just to support local businesses right now. It’s really nice to see this response.


“Local businesses do so much to support the community,” she said. “And now this is something we can do to support them when they need it most.”


There have also been purchases from several other states, pointing to the geographic diversity of the customer base which is made up of a blend of locals, snowbirds, part-time residents, tourists from across the country, and frequent visitors from the region.


Apalachicola Main Street is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing downtown Apalachicola through sound economic development, promoting the future while preserving the past. The downtown district is defined as the City Marina at Battery Park to the Scipio Creek boat basin, and from Water Street to 6th Street.


For more information please email info@downtownapalachicola.com or call 844-272-2523.