City to dole out ‘construction dollars’ to promote downtown/OEV shopping

Dundas Place, London's first flex-street. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

In an effort to attract more people to downtown and Old East Village (OEV) shops and restaurants hit hard by construction and COVID-19, the City of London has launched a new rewards program.

The Core Area Construction Dollars Program will see coupons in the amount of $5, $10, and $20 handed out to Londoners visiting the two areas. The construction dollars will be awarded through customer giveaways, contests, and promotions throughout the rest of the summer.

“COVID-19 has put pressure on all London businesses,” said Jim Yanchula, the city’s manager of downtown projects and business relations. “This program is designed to give people an added reason to visit the businesses that are in the heart of our city.”

The construction dollars program is the latest initiative aimed at giving a boost to local businesses forced to close their doors or scale back operations for several months due to the pandemic. Free parking and temporary shared spaces to allow for physical distancing were previously announced through the city’s back to business action team.

“There has never been a more important time to support OEV’s entrepreneurs,” Old East Village BIA Manager Jen Pastorius, said in a statement. “Area businesses are planning great promotions and contests using Construction Dollars, so stay tuned and follow #DIGOEV on social media to learn more.”

Businesses offering and accepting construction dollars can be identified by orange construction dollars signs in their window. A full list of participating businesses has also been posted on the Downtown London and Old East Village websites.

The four-year pilot program, funded through the city’s core area action plan, is expected to contribute nearly $100,000 into the local economy each year by providing added incentive to spend in the downtown and OEV.