New Downtown Cranford gift card to support the small business community

Cori Ardente, who owns both Anthem Style + Gift and Max & Luna in Cranford, holds up the Downtown Cranford gift card, which can be used to make purchases in Cranford.

CRANFORD, NJ — Downtown Cranford has launched its own gift card to support the small-business community. The Downtown Cranford gift card can be loaded with $20 to $500 and spent right across the town.

Caren Demyen, director at Downtown Cranford, said the gift card will help to keep Cranford dollars in the community.

“Last holiday season, many residents asked us for the option to have a gift card just for Cranford, and it’s something residents have requested for some time,” said Demyen. “I’m so grateful for the support of our community businesses in stepping up to fund the start-up cost for the Downtown Cranford gift card. Gift card balances do not expire, and there is no deduction if you don’t use the gift card for a period.”

Demyen added, “The pandemic has been hard for businesses in Cranford, but we’re lucky that we have a really strong community. Residents realized that our small, independent businesses needed support and they were there to help. The Downtown Cranford gift card is a new way that we can support our businesses, as it can be spent right across Cranford, in retail stores, restaurants, salons, gyms, bakeries and more.”

More than 99 businesses accept the new card, including independent movie house the Cranford Theater. Owner Doreen Sayegh said she believes the gift card is a positive move for the town.

“Cranford Theater operated a drive-in during our 18-month closure, and we were fortunate to have a lot of support from our fantastic community,” said Sayegh. “The theater opened again recently and it’s going well, but it’s not back to being as busy as it was before COVID. We hope that, over time, everyone will come back to the movies and continue to create those wonderful memories with their families and friends at the Cranford Theater.”

Sayegh continued: “The gift card is a wonderful idea and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. It’s a great way to unify everyone and bring business to the downtown. Cranford has a really appealing downtown, and the gift card will not only keep dollars in Cranford but bring new people in, too. Receiving a gift card is like Christmas. You’re more willing to try new things, like a business you’ve never been to before. Usually, if you’re buying a gift card, you don’t always know if someone likes that store or place, but with the Downtown Cranford gift card, it gives lots of business options.”

Two other businesses that are part of the program are Anthem Style + Gift and Max & Luna, both owned by Cori Ardente, who said, “Anthem has been open for six years in December, selling women’s clothing and accessories, and Max & Luna opened last October as a specialty baby store for accessories, toys and gifts. The Downtown Cranford gift card is a great opportunity to centralize the gift-giving process, and provide choice and accessibility to the customer.”

Ardente added: “It means everything, when people shop locally. This is how we support our families, and every dollar directly affects our lives. Healthy businesses give back to the community, and that benefits everyone.”

The Cranford entrepreneurs involved with the setup of the Downtown Cranford gift card, real estate agent Steve Oliveira and mortgage broker and owner of HomeGotOwned Chris D’Mello, say it’s a way of giving back to the community.

“When I meet with clients who are looking to rent or buy a home, the common theme is that they are attracted to Cranford because of its strong downtown and great community of amazing small businesses,” said Oliveira. “People sometimes don’t realize how important a downtown is to the overall prosperity of an area. As a local realtor, I, like many of my fellow colleagues and business owners, benefit tremendously from this.”

Oliveira added, “The Downtown Cranford gift card will help keep more money in the town and is an additional tool to help small businesses thrive and compete with the growing convenience of big box stores. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, and, time and time again, these same businesses are always there for us when we need them. …

“I grew up in Cranford, came back here five years ago to raise my young family and have been humbled and appreciative of the support I’ve received,” continued Oliveira. “I’m honored to be able to give back to the community that has helped me so much by supporting the Downtown Cranford gift card. I encourage everyone to support this program and buy yourself a Downtown Cranford gift card!”

“The pandemic has caused a significant impact to our Cranford economy, and, by introducing our own gift card program, we are helping to further connect our residents with local businesses,” said D’Mello. “Real estate and a few other types of businesses have done well in the past year, but businesses that depend on foot traffic have been hit hard. We hope that, whether it’s eating out or shopping at your favorite store, this gift card program makes it easier to support our community.”

D’Mello added, “We are excited to support the Cranford gift card program; it’s a natural fit for our business and our ethos of community support.”

The Downtown Cranford gift card can be purchased at https://downtowncranford.org/purchase or by calling 908-709-7208 and picking it up at the Downtown Management Corp. office, room 17, 8 Springfield Ave., Cranford.

Photo Courtesy of Caren Demyen

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