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Consumers Energy Supports Local Businesses with “Our Town” Gift Card Program

Consumers Energy is helping Michigan’s local businesses this holiday season through its new “Our Town” gift card effort.

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Consumers Energy is helping Michigan’s local businesses this holiday season, providing $850,000 to support shopping in 60 local communities through its new “Our Town” gift card effort.

Consumers Energy is providing holiday shoppers with a dollar-for-dollar match for gift cards they buy through local chambers of commerce and downtown organizations, doubling the amount they can spend in downtowns across the state.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the communities we serve, and every community has seen those businesses feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience said. “With Our Town, we want to end the year by spreading cheer. We are putting dollars directly into shoppers’ hands to help them stretch their budgets and give a boost to shops and restaurants in their hometowns.”

Within days of the program’s launch and in some cases, only a few hours, many chambers and downtown organizations sold out of gift cards, leading Consumers to provide additional funds.

“It speaks to the power of Michiganders wanting to give locally, shop locally and really give back to small businesses that are the heart and souls of their community,” Carolyn Bloodworth, executive director of corporate giving at Consumers Energy told CMF.

Consumers Energy shares that it has been committed to communities and small businesses through the pandemic. The company and the Consumers Energy Foundation have provided more than $5.2 million to nonprofit and economic development organizations this year in help related to COVID-19, including close to $2.5 million for small businesses.

“What we learned in the spring is how critical small businesses are to the communities we serve, and they were impacted so dramatically,” Bloodworth said. “These small businesses, especially the restaurants, have employees that fit the definition of ALICE (asset-limited income constrained employed) and if these small businesses are at risk, then these employees are at even greater risk.”

Consumers Energy says that the Our Town program, supported by company funds, will be available while gift cards last. Shoppers should contact their local chamber of commerce or downtown association to buy gift cards.

Bloodworth shared that Gaylord Community Foundation was the first to join them in supporting the effort locally, noting it’s a program that funders can get involved in to provide immediate downtown support.