Our Towns

Sales of CityScape Discount Card Spurs Interest

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OUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It’s been two weeks since Youngstown CityScape’s downtown discount card went on sale and early sales are prompting businesses to ask about participating next year.

Twenty businesses are listed on the $10 card and that number will likely be higher during the 2016 holiday season, CityScape executive director Sharon Letson said Monday.

“The first time you do anything, some people have a hard time visualizing what you’re doing,” she said. “There may have been some who hesitated. There weren’t any negative thoughts, but some hesitation.”

Two or three business have been in contact with CityScape so far, she noted, and she expects to add more shops and restaurants to the list when the nonprofit group begins reaching out to participants next year.

“I’m expecting to get more,” she said. “We’re open to what it might look like next. We are committed to doing it again.”

All businesses on the card except one – Café Augustine in the Newport branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County – are in the downtown. Next year’s card will likely follow a similar pattern, she added, because of where CityScape’s efforts are focused.

“We wanted to support our downtown businesses and also be able to fund some of our beautification efforts,” Letson said. “It’s been a positive experience both for people buying the cards and for the businesses honoring them.”

Phil Kidd, CityScape associate director and owner of Youngstown Nation, reported he’s sold about 120 since Small Business Saturday, when the cards went on sale. The cards are also available at Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and Cassese’s MVR, as well as on the website of CityScape.

“As far as the things I’ve carried in my store over the past few years, this is probably one of the hottest items,” Kidd said. “People are coming into the store specifically to buy them. We’ve also had a couple businesses stop in. It seems to be popular with the ones who have a lot of employees to get holiday gifts for.”

At Oh Wow, executive director Suzanne Barbati said the museum hasn’t sold many yet, but with posters listing the discounts arriving Monday, the center will begin advertising them more.

Even without major sales at Oh Wow, she said that simply offering them benefits the downtown.

“There’s an incentive to try new things,” Barbati said. “There are lots of people who come to Oh Wow, but they may not have visited other establishments. This gives them a reason to do so.”

Among the discounts offered are 10% off at several restaurants, ticket discounts at downtown museums and free drinks and snacks. All proceeds from sales of the card sales help fund CityScape’s events throughout the year, including the annual StreetScape cleanup and beautification efforts.

“This is a way to contribute to what’s happening by supporting in whatever way you can,” Kidd said. “Not everybody can go to a volunteer event or has the time to be part of a planning committee. This is a way you can contribute to the development of downtown.”

For more information or participating in next year’s discount card, contact Letson or Kidd at 330 742 4040.

Pictured: CityScape’s Sharon Letson and Phil Kidd.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.