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#SaveBlacksburg campaign is underway to help businesses during the pandemic

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - In Blacksburg, dozens of businesses and economic development groups have found a new way to help save small businesses struggling during the pandemic. It’s through an app called Localyte.

Small business like the Blacksburg Wine Lab are facing many challenges during the pandemic.

“A lot of people aren’t coming out. A lot of people are hesitant, especially for us. We are still considered a new business. We are a new business in an era where no one is going out to see new businesses,” said John Boyer, co-owner of Blacksburg Wine Lab.

Boyer says his challenges doubled as business from sports fans and families of college students dwindled.

“It’s an $80 million economic shortfall that we are dealing with,” said Community Ambassador Kyle Thompson.

To help bring in more cash flow to small businesses, the e-gift card app Localyte jumped in to help #SaveBlacksburg businesses from closing.

"You don’t kind of have that drawer or wallet full of your gift cards where you have no idea how much is on them and when they expire and things like that, "said Thompson.

People can buy and store gift cards for local businesses to use for up to two years. You don’t need any new equipment; all you need is a smart phone, a laptop or an iPad.

“We really wanted something that could be able to reach out to our Virginia Tech fan base that can’t come here this fall, and say 'Hey, invest in a future meal or a future visit,” said Thompson.

“It’s a whole new market for us, quite frankly, and specifically because the app is targeting people that don’t live here,” said Boyer.

Boyer said the app helps small business like his make money digitally when not many people are visiting in person.

The hope with the app is for it to help all small businesses across the New River Valley.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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