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Downtown Phoenix Inc. Ending Consumer Incentive Programs After Successful Runs

by R.J. Price
Business Development Featured Spotlight R.J. Price August 12, 2021

The City of Phoenix, including Councilmember Yassamin Ansari, strongly supported the DTPHX Dollars voucher program, launched in February 2021 to support downtown small businesses. (Photo: Taylor Bishop)

Two popular business recovery programs managed by Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI) will sunset at the end of August.

Launched under DPI’s Spread Your Wings campaign, which encouraged a safe return to downtown, Buy + Fly and DTPHX Dollars were devised to incentivize consumer spending at neighborhood small businesses.

And the results have been impactful.

Buy + Fly saw more than 1,500 people submit qualifying receipts from participating businesses to have complimentary DTPHX “bird” merchandise — caps, shirts, sustainable silicon cups, tote bags and even locally-roasted coffee beans — shipped directly to their door. Those receipts represent over $100,000 in direct spending.

DTPHX Dollars, a $5 same-as-cash voucher program sponsored by Valley Metro, Arizona Center, Quarles & Brady and City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development, pushed students, residents, construction workers and conventioneers into over 50 participating businesses. To date, 7,800 vouchers have been distributed with a conversion rate of over 30 percent.

Didn’t get a DTPHX Dollars voucher? You’ll have one more chance at the final DTPHX Dollar Drop on Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the CityScape Phoenix office tower (1 E. Washington Street). Want to claim your DTPHX merch? DPI will continue to accept qualifying Buy + Fly receipts totaling $10 or more through Aug. 31.

For small businesses, the TLC shown by the community has helped sustain them at a time when there have been fewer office workers, fewer special events, and fewer conventions populating the downtown sidewalks.

“[The business recovery programs] have been really great. Especially that Valley Metro is in our building and they have been big proponents of the DTPHX Dollars program,” said Jonathan Serrano, owner of Café Cordova, located on the ground floor of the 101 North building. “I think every little bit helps.”

The spending generated by these programs or any of the DPI-led business recovery program (i.e. DTPHX Takeout Guide, Virtual Urban Wine Walk, Downtown Dine Out) was never conceived to be life saving for small businesses. But what each of the programs effectively did was convey the significant role small businesses play in the overall authenticity of a neighborhood.

Small businesses are what give any urban neighborhood its unique character and charm and in Downtown Phoenix, where between 80-85 percent of all bars, restaurants and retail are locally owned and operated, that’s strongly the case.

DPI amplified the voices of small business owners and their employees in asking you to support them at a time when they needed you most. And you did. Big time. And that’s something this community should be extremely proud of.

In fact, the community has been so supportive of local businesses that downtown saw a net gain in bars and restaurants during the pandemic. That community spirit is a big reason why Downtown Phoenix is thriving.

“I feel like [downtown] is on an upward trajectory but sad that some businesses have had to close,” Serrano said. “I’m really looking forward to the light rail addition at CityScape. Being from Los Angeles, I wish that more cities had pedestrian-friendly zones like the CityScape area.”

Participating businesses will honor DTPHX Dollars vouchers through Aug. 31, and DPI will also process any qualifying Buy + Fly receipts uploaded through Aug 31.