WAYLAND, Mich. — A West Michigan car dealership started a new initiative aimed at helping local restaurants.
Matt Koning, co-owner of Broadmoor Motors, calls it the “#PayItLocal” movement.
“I’m not even sure who came up with the idea or how it came to fruition, but we just decided, ‘Why not just buy some gift cards?’” said Koning.
Over the past week, the dealership bought 50, $10 gift cards from 17 restaurants near the dealership’s four locations in Wayland, Middleville, Caledonia, and Hastings. Broadmoor is giving the gift cards away for free to anyone who walks in; The dealership says no test drive is needed nor will employees try to sell people a car.
“We want these to circulate and get out there so people can start spending them,” said Koning.
Koning says after the state implemented new restrictions in mid-November impacting restaurants, he and his employees began thinking of ways to help. That push to do something was amplified after those guidelines were extended and restaurants face another 12 days of limited operations.
Broadmoor says so far, they’ve given away around 50 gift cards.
“We’ve all kind of been there,” said Koning. “We went through the first shut down, so we feel like we can help out.”
Simply Celia’s is one of the restaurants Broadmoor purchased gift cards from.
“I mean literally, I, I cried,” said Celia Gleason, owner.
Gleason says the gesture moved her, explaining it validates all of the adaptations her cafe, and others, have had to make to survive the pandemic.
“Their belief that we’ll be here at the end and that is really huge, as well as offering cash flow, which is what a lot of small businesses need right now,” said Gleason. “I’m extremely tenacious and I will survive because it’s not just for me, it’s for the staff, it’s for the community.”
Koning is calling on other businesses who have done well during the pandemic to do the same.
“For a business to be told they can’t operate anymore, for nothing they did wrong, it’s hard,” said Koning. “We all want reasons to help and we’ve all been helped before. I just think it’s a time unlike any other and that a lot of just don’t know how to go about this.”
Broadmoor Motors is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.