Submitted by SnowShoe

Olympians have long been fans of buying local. Thurston County’s popular Buy Local program is now in its 13th year and has more than 200 participating businesses working to keep money in the local economy.

Now, with the launch of a new co-sponsored loyalty program, downtown visitors are rewarded for “checking in” at local retail stores, restaurants and bars, and entertainment venues.

Olympia Downtown Alliance partnered with SnowShoe, a local customer loyalty company, to create the game-link program. Designers drew from popular mobile games such as Pokemon Go™ to create the program, which encourages downtown shoppers to check-in at multiple locations using their mobile phones. Check-ins earn customers points towards prizes and help to promote local businesses to all downtown visitors.

“Our historic downtown Olympia district is lucky to have such a close-knit community of shops, restaurants, and everything in between,” says Kae Stair of Compass Rose. The daily gift store has been a flagship downtown shop since 1998. “So being able to easily recommend and support our other local small businesses using this program makes so much sense for Olympia.”

The initiative launched alongside the kick off to LoveOly Summer Fest 2021, presented by the City of Olympia. A part of the festival, weekly concerts will take place every Saturday from July 10 to August 28, and will feature artists such as The Black Tones, Low Wires and the Cavities.

Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby hopes that consumers will embrace the program. “Olympia residents and visitors alike are enthusiastic supporters of local business,” says Selby. “SnowShoe’s new program adds a fun gamification experience to buying local, and it offers us a way to thank people for coming downtown and encourage them to come again.”

The new loyalty program, weekly concerts and other public events are all part of Olympia Downtown Alliance’s Why I Go Downtown initiative, aiming to bring people back downtown, build community and support local businesses. The Alliance and SnowShoe are funding the pilot loyalty program and are providing it to local businesses at no cost.

Local support is strong — Olympia personalities such as Amy Shephard, Brian Tyrrell, Andrea Weston-Smart and Miguel Pineda have recorded videos in support of checking in at downtown businesses (videos available here).

Dean Jones, owner of Encore Chocolates and Teas, heartily endorses the program. “This program is a great new way to discover the unique appeal of Downtown Olympia,” says Jones. “There is so much to do and see here — this is an excellent community builder.”

Nearly 50 downtown Olympia businesses have already signed on to participate in the program, and more are expected to join during the summer. Both Olympian residents and tourists can participate and win prizes.

Visit the SnowShoe website for more information, and we’ll see you downtown!

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