Buying gift certificates now for use after the pandemic gives local businesses immediate cash needed to retain staff and pay ongoing expenses even if closed.
Patrick O’Heffernan (Ajijic) Economic growth estimates have been lowered by both public and private economists who report that, depending the course of Coronavirus (CV-19) in Mexico, as many as 18 million jobs could be at risk. Hardest hit will be the informal sector – small businesses, entrepreneurs and micro/street vendors, according to a BBVA economic analysis.
These impacts are apparent now in Lakeside. A stroll through the quiet streets of Ajijic or San Juan Cosala or even Jocotepec and Chapala makes it obvious that small businesses are hurting.
Several local businesses are offering gift certificates to bring in immediate cash. One example, Casa Domenech restaurant in Ajijic, is closed but encourages clients to buy certificates through PayPal and sends them an electronic certificate they can print at home or show on their phones when the restaurant reopens. Others provide certificates at their location for cash.
Ajijic resident Michael Searles has announced a regional program, Apollo 2020, to enable any Lakeside business to sell gift certificates, with the Apollo Program handling the financial transfers and certificate delivery. The program is open to all small businesses in the Lake Chapala area.
“We hope all expats will help to support their favorite merchants during this difficult time and show them our appreciation for welcoming us into their community,” said Searles of the program
A gift certificate will be customized for each business; Siker Publicidad Y Diseño will produce the certificates at a reduced price. Businesses will number each gift certificate, add customer information, enter the denomination and sign it.
Roberto Serrano, owner of the Plazapato shoe stores, has set up a free delivery service of local youths working with strict virus preventative measures like masks and gloves to bring the certificates direct to the purchasers and collect payment.
Businesses can contact Roberto Serrano at WhatsApp 33 1428 (or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michael Searles at 376-766-0826 (or via email at email@example.com) to participate in the program.
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