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To encourage Concord residents to shop locally this holiday season and give merchants a much-needed shot in the arm during a COVID-19-ravaged economy, the city of Concord and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce have teamed up for the “Shop Concord” program, boosted by $10,000 worth of gift cards paid for by the city.

Through the program, shoppers who buy a $50 gift card through the Shop Concord program will also receive a free $25 gift card.

Cards can be used for purchases at participating businesses, which include retail, restaurants, service businesses and gyms.

Shoppers also have the option to buy a $20 gift card and receive a free $10 gift card in return. Those free gift cards are made possible with a $10,000 donation from the city’s general fund. The bonus cards will last as long as that cash holds out.

“While the purchase of a gift card may seem like a small act, it is a huge gesture of support for our community that will go a long way toward helping our local businesses keep their doors open.”

Mayor Tim McGallian

Details on how to buy gift cards, and a list of participating businesses can be found online. More businesses are expected to join the program as it moves ahead.

“The Shop Concord program will make this year’s holiday gift giving more impactful because each purchase made is a direct benefit to our community,” Concord Mayor Tim McGallian said in a statement. “While the purchase of a gift card may seem like a small act, it is a huge gesture of support for our community that will go a long way toward helping our local businesses keep their doors open.”

Concord businesses, as with those in almost all American cities, have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in restrictions and curtailed operating capacities. Amid ever changing county health rules, many businesses have been forced to operate primarily or entirely outside, while others have completely closed, at least sporadically, as coronavirus infections have ebbed and flowed.

Terri Nuno, a spokeswoman for Liberty Gymnastics Training Center in Concord, said that business is taking part in Shop Concord to show support and unity with other Concord businesses struggling during the pandemic.

“By participating in Shop Concord, we are able to provide a benefit to our customers at no additional cost to our business,” Nuno said.