• Liv Stromme

Maximize your community's ARPA funding with a Shop Local program

Updated: Jul 14

Many communities around the country are in the process of deciding and creating plans to utilize the ARPA funding from last year. We’ve had countless conversations with cities and counties who have told us their plans and questions about the funding. Investing in community shopping rewards programs, and technology are great ways to utilize funds while prioritizing your business retention and expansion goals for your community’s businesses and future. Below we share some details about ARPA funding, how we come in, and how rewards programs can help incentivize local shopping.


What is ARPA?

ARPA or the American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11, 2021 to financially aid State, Tribal and local governments in the recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Below, I will highlight effective ways to spend or plan to spend the funds your community will be in receipt of; ARPA funds must be spent by the end of the calendar year 2024.


How can ARPA funds be used?

ARPA funds are meant to be used in the assistance of economic recovery. US Congress has designated that ARPA funds be used as follows:

  • Revenue replacement for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, relative to revenues collected in the most recent fiscal year prior to the emergency,

  • COVID-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts of COVID-19, including assistance to small businesses, households, and hard-hit industries, and economic recovery,

  • Premium pay for essential workers,

  • Investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Maximize your impact with a Shop Local program

A Shop Local program stimulates your local economy by directly incentivizing consumer behavior. The same amount of dollars invested in a Shop Local program can turn into 20X economic impact. By encouraging your consumers to make their purchases locally, not only do you bring more awareness and revenue to your local businesses, but also create a sense of community.


The power in a Shop Local rewards program lies in the fact that it leverages consumer spending to maximize the economic impact of your investment. Take the example of a 5% reward: consumers earn 5% rewards when they shop at a local business in your community, and you have set aside a certain amount of funding to fund the rewards. That means every $1 that comes out of your fund is because someone spent $20 at a local business. That $1 will go on to incentivize more revenue as that person visits another business to redeem the rewards. With this program, instead of giving a business $1, you brought them more than $20. This is a great way to maximize the impact of your ARPA funds in directly stimulating your local economy.


Another benefit is the long term effect of changed consumer behavior that will stay long beyond the end of ARPA funding. A Shop Local program may have given consumers just the nudge they needed to check out a new local business, revisit an old favorite, choose a local business as opposed to a competitor, and more. All of these can create new routines that stay with consumers for years to come.


Lastly, there is something to be said about a Shop Local program that tells people your community cares. This sense of community, although not quantifiable with dollar amounts, is just as powerful in influencing how people feel. As we come out of the pandemic and start to find that new normal, make your community stand out and connect your businesses with the consumers can pay huge dividends in the long term.


Interested in learning more about Bludot’s Rewards program?