AMP card spending exceeds expectations in downtown Allentown

Date: Jan 09, 2015

The Allentown Merchant Payment gift card program, or AMP, has exceeded expectations in its first few months. According to Mitch Hanna, manager of the Hamilton District Main Street Program, the program sold more than $88,000 worth of the gift cards prior to the Christmas holiday.

“We didn’t really have a dollar amount as a goal,” he said. “But, it has exceeded our expectations.” He noted that while things have slowed down in the new year, card sales are still going relatively strong, and as of Jan. 8 card sales had reached $92,800. The program was introduced in September as a way to promote shopping, dining and using services in downtown Allentown as part of the City Center revitalization efforts. Cards, which can be purchased at the Main Street Program office, the art museum and Assembly88 clothing store, can be used at any of 40 businesses and organizations downtown.

“People are buying them for their family or their coworkers to get them to come downtown and see everything that is going on,” Hanna said. And people aren’t just buying the cards, they’re using them. So far, Hanna said $24,000 in AMP cards have already been redeemed. He noted one business, the newly opened Johnny’s Bagels, has already had more than 80 AMP card swipes, and overall the cards have been used more than 1,000 times at the participating locations.

“This is people putting their money where their mouth is and supporting Allentown businesses,” Hanna said. One of the things he said he likes about the program is that it’s not just boosting the new businesses, like Chickie’s & Pete’s, that have opened in the downtown in recent months, but also many of the long time businesses that stuck with the downtown through tough times. “There’s Tucker’s Yarns and Kruper Brothers Appliances too,” he said.

And with that, Hanna said the program is doing what it was supposed to. “We didn’t just want a dollar amount, we wanted to unite the merchants. We wanted to get people excited.”

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