Keeping money in Old Town: the 4-3-50 program

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Aura Ozburn Owner of October Moon. October Moon is just one of the many participating businesses in the 4-3-50 program.

Aura Ozburn, owner of October Moon Art Gallery and Boutique. October Moon is an just one of the many participating businesses in the 4-3-50 program. Photo by Sakiya Duncan

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Keeping money within Old Town, shopping locally, supporting local businesses and the community are the goals of the 4-3-50 program in Old Town.

The 4-3-50 program is a frequent shopper program in which shoppers who visit three participating businesses and spend up to $50 over the span of four months can turn in a 4-3-50 card to the Old Town Commercial Association when done and be entered into a drawing for a prize, said Austin Ashley, the executive director for the association.

This is a way to promote different businesses. If the shopper spends money in one business, it will most likely promote them to visit other businesses nearby, said Ashley.

“There are definitely ways that we can continue to improve the program and promote it and make sure that people know about it,” Ashely said.

However, word of the program was news to some shoppers.

“I was not aware of the program, and I wouldn’t spend $50 in each store. That’s just not my shopping style,” Lansing resident and local shopper Kim Savoie said.

Promotion is important, said Michigan State University assistant business professor Ayalla Ruvio, who is an expert in consumer behavior, buying and selling.

“Unless this is being promoted properly in the community then no one will know about it and the community will not gain,” said Ruvio.

Another local shopper, Em Rossi, said she had not heard about the 4-3-50.

“I would be interested in learning more about it, anything to support Old Town because we like this neighborhood,” said Rossi.

How are the businesses involved benefiting from the program?

“What I think is beneficial would be that it creates an awareness with clients that shopping local definitely strengthens your community,” said Aura Ozburn, owner of October Moon Art Gallery and Boutique located at 119 E. Grand River Ave.

Troy Arient, store manager of Bradley’s Home and Garden located next to October Moon, gave what he believes are the benefits that come with the 4-3-50 that he has experienced.

“We get people from other shops that are out shopping and may buy something and receive the 4-3-50 maybe for the first time from another retailer,” Arient said.

Arient continued to describe the recent trends for shoppers and the behavior of the consumers.

“I have definitely seen an increase in shoppers, people will come in and shop around the store and try to get above the $50 mark which is an experience that we aren’t use to,” Arient said.

“We want them to spend their money in the community so you are rewarding them beyond a specific store you are rewarding them as a part of the community,” Ruvio said. “The community is gaining and the consumer and the business is gaining it is creating a win-win situation.”

The 4-3-50 is a way as to keep money within Old Town, though this is not the only way Old Town is keeping money within.

“We work actively to advertise this area and shopping local that’s one of the biggest things, and we also have a gift certificate program that they can use on food or buy themselves something,” Ashley said.

The certificate program gives people the opportunity to give the gift of Old Town if they are unsure of what the person receiving the gift would like.

“Everyone is winning there aren’t any cons to programs such as this. This is one of those situations where no one really loses. Except the community would especially be losing because businesses can do their own promotion and consumers can go to other places,” Ruvio said. “If the programs are attractive then they are if they are not then consumers won’t shop. Unless this is being promoted to the community then no one will gain from it.”

Shopping local not only helps your community, but also helps local businesses gain exposure.

“I think most people would want to contribute back to the community especially if it is a way to give back,” Ruvio said.

There is no current information on how many people are involved in the 4-3-50 according to Ashley. More information can be found on www.iloveoldtown.org

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