As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic and the August derecho have put a lot of locally-owned businesses in a tough spot. Shopping/eating local is more important than ever right now, and a couple of organizations are offering incentives to do just that!

A new program through Loyal to Local is encouraging Eastern Iowans to purchase "bonds" to local businesses. The website reads:

"A Dining & Retail 'Bond' works like a traditional savings bond, where you can purchase a "bond" at a discounted rate to be redeemed for face value at a future maturity date."

Basically, you can purchase a "bond" from one of the many participating businesses for anywhere from $75 to $90. On March 1st of 2021, the bond you purchased will increase in value to $100. You're essentially investing in the business, allowing them to use your money right now to pay for things like rent and payroll. The bond will be honored as a gift certificate, but if you use it before the "maturity date," it will only be worth what you paid for it. If you decide to purchase one, it will be sent to you in the mail.

As of right now, there are almost 50 different local businesses participating in this Loyal to Local program, including Parlor City Pub & EateryNeed Pizza, SOKO Outfitters, Jimmy Z's, Hands in Harmony, La Cantina, and Goldfinch Cyclery. You can check out a full list and purchase your bonds HERE.

The Downtown Cedar Rapids Dollars program is also up and running right now. With that one, all you have to do is save your receipts from any of the participating businesses that you shop/eat at, and once the total reaches $150, you can choose two places to receive $25 gift cards to! You can read more on that HERE.

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