Missoula experiencing strong economic growth through Downtown Gift Card sales and redemptions

The Missoula Downtown Association’s (MDA) current gift card program has been in place since 2010. At that time, downtown gift cards were accepted at about 50 MDA member businesses with the program just beginning to have an impact. Over the 10 years the program has operated, the number of businesses that accept the card has grown to almost 200 and the benefits of accepting the card are enormous. The program is structured to keep dollars local and businesses and MDA members who accept the cards are incredibly thankful for this membership benefit.

“The Missoula Downtown Association’s Gift Card Program has been one of most customer-friendly and financially beneficial ways for customers to show their support for small local businesses in our city for over 20 years, especially those businesses in Missoula’s Historic Downtown.  What started out as a ‘maybe we should try that idea,’ blossomed into a very convenient and flexible way for locals and visitors to support over 175 local businesses.  Our Customers obviously love to receive MDA Gift Cards from family and friends, and we appreciate that so many people want to use their Gift Cards in our store.  Thank You Missoulians and visitors for showing this type of extra support for our own small local footwear business these last 20+ years that the MDA Gift Card Program has existed!” said Scott Sproull, Owner Since 1975, Hide & Sole.

The Missoula Downtown Association is a membership-based organization with more than 550 members. Benefits include the gift card program, networking socials, general marketing (Shop Small, Dine Local, etc.), sector specific marketing, advocacy, master plan investment, and MDA events to bring visitors and residents to our city and downtown.

The MDA Gift Card program sold more than $430,000 in gift cards in 2020, an increase of 18% in sales from 2019. While the pandemic certainly played a role in sales, the program has grown steadily since 2010. That year, the MDA sold just over $140,000 in cards so the program has grown more than 200% in 10 years. In addition, over the 10 year period the MDA has sold more than $2,800,000 in cards and downtown businesses and MDA members have redeemed more than $2,200,000 of those sales. The economic impact of those redemptions cannot be understated. Primary spending keeps 100% of those dollars local, and secondary spending is even more impactful. The secondary spending impact represents an additional $3,600,000 into our local economy therefore benefiting the City of Missoula, local businesses outside of downtown, Missoula Downtown businesses, and all Missoula employees. The growth of our downtown and investments made over the years are only part of our Downtown Master Plan, and the Downtown Missoula Gift Card Program plays a role in investment in our businesses as part of this plan.

The MDA invested more than $25,000 in the gift card program last year, a small amount for the size and scope of the program. A portion of MDA membership dues pays for the program while the MDA also invests in the program through use of marketing dollars and outreach. There is no cost to be part of this program for any MDA member and your business does not need to be located downtown to be a member or accept the gift card.

In 2020, six MDA members businesses accepted more than $10,000 in gift cards and more than 80 accepted at least $1,000. The top ten member businesses accepting downtown gift cards in 2020 are Good Food Store, The Trailhead, Grizzly Liquor, The Runners Edge, Rockin Rudys, Hide & Sole, 1889 Missoula, Thomas Meager Bar, The Top Hat, and Iron Horse. This vital benefit pays for your membership, increases foot traffic in your business, and markets your business to more than 500,000 people annually through the MDA events, and marketing and social media outreach channels. To learn more about this benefit and joining the Missoula Downtown Association, contact Chelsee Kucera: [email protected]

“The downtown gift card program is one of the best benefits of being a member of the Missoula Downtown Association.  It is a program that allows customers to purchase a card that can be redeemed at hundreds of locally owned businesses in Missoula. A business can buy employees a card for the holidays and be certain that the employee fines just the right gift, be it a great dinner or something from one of the amazing retailers’ downtown.  To me the most important thing is this supports almost exclusively locally owned independent businesses, something that in the world today is very hard to do.” said Todd Frank, Owner, The Trail Head, Downtown Missoula since 1974

To purchase a Downtown Gift Card, stop in at the Downtown Missoula Partnership office at 218 E. Main St. or the MSO Hub at 140 N. Higgins. Online purchases, more than 80% of total sales in 2020, and can be made here: www.missouladowntown.com/downtown-gift-card/. The DMP gives you the option of shipping the cards to you or local pickup at 218 E. Main St.

For more information on the Downtown Missoula Gift Card program visit www.missouladowntown.com, or call the Downtown Missoula Partnership office at 406-543-4238.


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