'Keep it Local' program aims to keep Paso businesses afloat

Jan 24, 2021

As restrictions continue due to state COVID-19 orders, the city of Paso Robles has started a program to help businesses stay afloat, while giving customers a discount.

Paso’s 'Keep It Local' gift card program gives people a chance to buy full-value gift cards at a 20% discount, and the city will cover the difference.

“We just have to help them survive," said Paul Sloan with the city of Paso Robles. "Over the last year our community, like so many communities, have just been working to find every possible solution.”

Sloan said the city will fund businesses the difference up to $1,000, equating to $5,000 in sales revenue per business. 

“Essentially, we expect it to run it at least for the next month or so," Sloan said. "But the idea is to inspire folks to go out and purchase them as soon as possible.”

So far, more than 50 participating businesses have signed up for the program. Anita Sahi with Copia Vineyards and Winery is one of them. 

“The word of the day—or the year actually—is pivot," Sahi said. "We are all kind of taking it as it comes.”

Regional stay-at-home orders do not allow wineries to do in-person tastings—a tough shift for an area known for its more than 200 wineries.

Sahi said they are doing their best to adjust until those in-person tastings can resume. 

“[We're] trying to translate that into this whole new virtual world," Sahi said. "Whether it be with virtual tastings or curbside pickup, or focusing more on retail.”

Sahi said the gift card program is a win-win.

“It’s taking care of the small businesses," Sahi said. "But it’s also taking care of all the people that have supported us and helped us stay afloat in this very difficult year.”

The city of San Luis Obispo has a similar program running called the Buy it Local Bonus campaign, which launched last month and is on-going. For information on both of the city's gift card incentives, go to the city's individual websites for more details and a list of participating businesses.