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Go Local Discount Cards

Getting the word out about a new business is often a challenge, especially when it's a small, locally-owned business and finances are tight. There's a new way some businesses are spreading the news that's not only bringing in new faces, but helping customers save a little money.

With one swipe, Diana Fisher saves 10 percent.

"Ten percent adds up. I'm looking to save wherever I can right now," she said.

It's called the Go Local card. It's currently offered in 20 cities nationwide and hence the name is designed to help local businesses by keeping funds in the local community.

"It's been our most successful promotion to date," said Frederico Marques, co-founder of Ruggles Green restaurant.

He says the trend was a little slow catching on, but now they're up to six or more card redemptions a day. "A lot of our customers are even more loyal now with the Go Local card, instead of coming once or twice a week they are coming three to four times a week so we are very happy," he said.

Like many small business, Meredith McCord, owner of the Mad Potter, says it's just not in the budget to hire an advertising company to help promote her store.

"So we really count on word of mouth or cross marketing," she said.

Something she says the Go Local card is helping to do, especially since each business has monogrammed cards that can be used at any participating store.

"I went on the website and saw all the businesses, so I will go to those places now because they offer the Go Local discount," said customer Diana Fisher.

It's up to the individual business to decide what discount to give its customers. For example at the Mad Potter customers get 10 percent off the entire purchase.

With any purchase at Hanson Galleries, your Go Local card gets you a free gift either a handcrafted earrings or an alarm clock, both a $30 value.

"It's very hard for local people to make it sometimes and this gives us an opportunity to support them and to keep the money in the area," said shopper Janet Hitz.

"I have to keep current and have to keep learning all the time and growing my business. That's why we've stayed in business that long -- if we just did the same thing we did 34 years ago we would not be here," said Hanson Galleries owner Donna Milstein.

"Restaurants, 10 to 15 percent off food, but not alcohol. Other places, some places have a buy one, get one free. Some restaurants if you order an entree, they give you a desert -- it runs the gamut," said Elliot Gerstenhaber of Go Local Houston.

And as you've seen, the stores offering the discounts are as different as the deals.

Ten percent off at the high-end women's retailer Elaine Turner can really add up.

"When I buy that extra pair of shoes and I get to save a percentage off of it, it makes me feel like I can buy another pair of shoes because that percentage makes up for it," said shopper Candice Rafiei.

"To be able to offer 10 percent off to our customers on regular priced merchandise is great -- that gives us the opportunity to offer our merchandise to customers who may have never walked into our store before," said Elaine Turner employee Jamie Rugama.

Some stores sell the cards for $10, others hand them out to their customers free of charge. The card is good in any participating city, nation-wide and after just a couple uses. The savings eventually out numbers any cost.

"The more you save, the further your money goes with this economy especially," said Candice Rafiei.

"This is the city we live in, so I'd like to help local businesses thrives so our city can continue to thrive and be a great city that it is," said Diana Fisher.

To learn more about Go Local visit thegolocalcard.com. Or, to start Go Local in your city contact infogolocal@gmail.com.

For more on Go Local Houston visit thegolocalcard.com.

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