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Dublin shoppers to benefit from new cashback reward scheme

DUBLIN — The city of Dublin will launch a new shopping rewards program to support local businesses ahead of the holidays this December.

The Dublin Marketplace program will allow shoppers to earn cashback rewards in the form of “Dublin Dollars” when shopping locally. Dublin Dollars can be spent in any participating store through a new app, which the Dublin City Council hopes will help boost commerce in the area.

Businesses will not have to cover the cost of the discounts provided. Instead, using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the city will create a $100,000 fund to reimburse any losses businesses incur.

The council is partnering with the Sunnyvale development platform Reach to run the program and approved a two-year agreement with the group.

“This program will provide our businesses with a competitive advantage while rewarding those who shop in Dublin,” said Mayor Melissa Hernandez.

“This is truly a win-win program that will support our brick-and-mortar establishments, who represent the uniqueness and beauty of the city.”

The scheme is similar to the Open Rewards program that was launched in Antioch earlier this year, where consumers can earn credits when shopping at more than 100 local businesses. Like Dublin Dollars, those credits can be spent elsewhere at no cost to the businesses taking part, thanks to a $20,000 investment by the city.

Antioch’s director for economic development, Kwame Reed, said that the program has been a great success so far.

The city has been working on the initiative with Blu Dot, a Redwood City rewards platform that has also worked with the cities of Danville, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and Concord to create online directories for their local businesses.

“It’s been going really well. Over 100 businesses have signed up so far, including a lot of restaurants, cafes and grocery stores,” said Blu Dot founder Sophia Zheng.

“Every time a consumer spends money at one of those businesses, they can earn rewards equal to 5% of the purchase to spend at other local businesses, so it’s a great incentive.”

Other Bay Area cities have also developed initiatives to promote local shopping since the pandemic hit, like the Together for Hayward e-gift card scheme and Oakland’s Shop Oakland resources guide.

Last year, Livermore launched a temporary gift card matching program to support its local stores, where the city added to the value of any gift cards purchased from small businesses.

“Gift Livermore was a phenomenal success. It gave a really strong incentive for people to shop from small businesses, which particularly helped infuse some cash into those that were shut down during COVID,” said Brandon Cardwell, the city’s Director of Economic Development.

“We’re now working on our Livermore Valley Made campaign, which is an online directory people can access to discover local artists and makers, and we’ll be putting together more programs to promote our downtown businesses ahead of the holiday shopping season.”

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