Apalachicola Main Street is promoting its new e-gift certificate site ShopApalachicola.com as a convenient option for Mother’s Day gifts.


The program was launched just over a month ago in response to the pandemic, as a way to keep cash flowing to small businesses, after Main Street’s Executive Director Augusta West saw most downtown entrepreneurs didn’t offer online options, and foot traffic was drying up.


With the support of her board, West worked with 2K Web Group to launch an e-gift certificate platform, ShopApalachicola.com, and there are now more than 20 participating downtown businesses using the service. When a transaction is made, the gift certificate is received via email instantly. There is no cost to the businesses.


Customers can purchase an e-gift certificate for themselves to use later or send one as a gift. The program is also being used for random acts of kindness. Customers have sent them to teachers, a postal worker, law enforcement officers, employees, volunteers, and healthcare workers.


In addition, Main Street is giving away, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, two $50 e-gift certificates to local teachers, based on votes received. Email info@downtownapalachicola.com for more info.


“This all has been one of the nicest aspects of the program,” said West. “A customer emailed me that she made a purchase for someone she didn’t even know; she just saw that this person was doing a good job under difficult circumstances and wanted to show her appreciation. Someone else wanted to thank her mail carrier for continuing to perform this vital function. Another customer bought an e-gift certificate for every member of his staff.”


Purchases from the local area have been complemented by transactions from other states. In all, customers from 20 zip codes have bought an e-gift certificate through the program.


One early trends is that 73 percent of customers who make a purchase do so from two or more businesses, showing the benefit of grouping multiple shops and restaurants onto one easy-to-use site. The participating businesses also benefit from Main Street’ s marketing of the site through e-newsletters, press releases, and social media. The program’s top-performing business has earned $775 in e-gift certificate sales to date.


With Florida businesses re-opening under Gov. DeSantis’ phased plan, West expects the e-gift certificates to remain a popular option, as many consumers enjoy the flexibility of shopping online.


“We hope people will shop local for Mother’s Day—either through an in-store purchase or with an e-gift certificate.”


To learn more visit www.ShopApalachicola.com, or email info@downtownapalachicola.com or call 844-272-2523.