The charming waterfront city of Kirkland began welcoming back visitors in spring 2022 with an innovative new community currency program called Kirkland Ca$h, an incentive for visitors to shop locally while staying in town which is a win-win-win for tourists, local hotels and business owners. It is a dollar-for-dollar certificate program aimed at promoting tourism and supporting the local economy, particularly small business owners and the hospitality industry, sectors hit hard during the pandemic.
Kirkland Ca$h launched on April 1, and the first portion of the initiative wrapped up on June 30. There are plans to renew the program in the fall, to continue to support businesses and tourism after what promises to be a busy summer season.
“Our small businesses struggled so much during the pandemic,” said Martha Chaudhry, from the Economic Development Department of the City of Kirkland. “Kirkland Ca$h was created to help local hotels and shops recover by shining a spotlight on our incredible community and incentivizing both staying and spending locally. It offers a tool that can support our small business economy over time, during the pandemic recovery and beyond.”
In this first phase, local hotel properties, such as The Heathman Hotel, The Woodmark Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Seattle-Kirkland, and Motel 6, offered a per night promotion when booked directly through the link on the Kirkland Ca$h website. Guests then received $50 in Kirkland Ca$h upon check-in for each night’s stay, at no additional cost, to spend at more than a hundred participating businesses. The certificates are redeemable through August 30 at any participating business.
To get the new program underway, the municipal government reached out to the city’s merchants, restaurant owners, and hoteliers. More than a hundred businesses signed up to participate, including restaurants, shops, boutiques, salons, and those providing services or recreational activities, among others.
Powerful is the fact that many of these businesses struggled during the pandemic, and some received grants from city, state and federal sources to stay afloat. The Kirkland Ca$h program provides continued support by bringing new customers and dollars through the front door, moving from relief support to a lasting recovery strategy that builds local enterprises and strengthens Kirkland’s small business ecosystem.
The list of participating businesses is ever-growing and can be found on the Kirkland Ca$h website.
A second phase is expected to launch in the fall shoulder season of 2022. The program will continue to focus on supporting small businesses, the hospitality sector and other hard-hit sectors. Stay tuned to take advantage of the next iteration of Kirkland Ca$h!
Learn more at KirklandCash.com.