05/19/11 Update: Omaha's Downtown Gift Card is now available for purchase.
Nebraska consumers will soon have a new gift card option: the Downtown Gift Card. In short, it's a gift card which will be redeemable at several local businesses in downtown Omaha.
According to Joe Gudenrath, Executive Director of Omaha Downtown Improvement District: the Downtown Gift Card will be available this May, cost $1.50 to purchase and the funds will never expire (the card itself expires after 9 years, but replacement cards will be issued free of charge). Joe currently has over 60 businesses willing to participate and expects to have over 100 by the time the gift card launches.
More Options, Less Risk
We've written about the pros and cons of small business gift cards and see this as a solution to one of the biggest cons: risk. The fact is, smaller business are more likely to go out of business and you're less likely to know when it's going to happen. Unfortunately, this results in a higher probability of ending up with a worthless gift card. However, a gift card which is redeemable at several unaffiliated businesses allows consumers to hedge this risk and choose from a wide array of redemption options.
Support A Cause
People like supporting a cause; we've seen the rise of gift cards for charities and a gift card cooperative offers a similar dynamic: support local business. Furthermore, a the core of this program is cooperation among local businesses for the greater good. It's just another great way to bring a local business community together.
A Trend To Continue
Cheers to Joe Gudenrath and the Omaha Downtown Improvement District for finding a new way to drive local business. I see gift card cooperatives such as this as a trend which will continue because they are a solid option for consumers.
Omaha's Downtown Gift Card will be available at select lcoations Downtown and online at omahadowntown.org.