A screenshot from the Calimesa City Council meeting Nov. 6 livestream.
The Calimesa City Council Nov. 6 approved a digital gift card program to help support local business and stimulate the local economy. (Screenshot/City of Calimesa)

The Calimesa City Council last Monday approved a new program aimed at supporting local businesses throughout the holiday season and beyond.

“The purpose of this item is to create a digital gift card program to be used at locally owned Calimesa businesses in order to stimulate economic activity,” City Manager Will Kolbow said.

Once the program is up and running, those interested will be able to purchase gift cards online through a website made specifically for the city in the amount of $10, $25, $50 or $100. Those who purchase gift cards will also receive up to two bonus gift cards in the amount that they spend. So if a person purchases a $100 and a $25 gift card, they will receive an additional $100 and $25 gift card.

“The purchased gift cards do not have an expiration date, but the bonus cards will since that’s tied to the city and is funded by the city,” Kolbow said. “So they’ll have an expiration date of six months from the date of purchase.”

Kolbow said the gift cards can be used at any participating business within the city and can be used at multiple businesses. Businesses interested in participating in the program must have a current city of Calimesa business license and not have any outstanding code violations.

“The goal is to launch the program in time for Small Business Saturday, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and we hope that this will boost holiday sales for our local small businesses,” he said. “And the program, again, is to really try to stimulate our local economy.”

Kolbow said the website to purchase gift cards will not be live until the program has started, but said people will be able to access it through the city’s website and social media platforms. For those with limited access to the internet, Kolbow said there will be alternate ways for them to participate in the gift card program as well through the city, the Calimesa Chamber of Commerce and possibly participating businesses.

The program is expected to cost the city up to $50,000, with approximately $30,000 of that funding being used to cover the cost of the bonus gift cards.

“I think the program is a great idea,” Councilmember Jeff Cervantes said. “I think it’s a genuine win-win for our local businesses, but also for residents.”

A video of the meeting can be found here on the city’s YouTube page.

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