Cleveland Shops: Discounted gift certificates urge folks shop local retailers

Cleveland Shops, the retail version of the local restaurant dining organization Cleveland Independents, is encouraging people to get out and support Greater Cleveland’s independently owned shops with its second quarterly gift certificate sale.

The sale starts tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 28, with a limited number of discounted gift certificates available at a discount from more than 40 local retailers, says Cleveland Shops acting executive director Myra Orenstein. Because there are a limited number of discounted certificates available, Orenstein advises customers to act fast.

“Once they’re sold out, they won’t be available,” says Orenstein.

A total of five $100 certificates for $70 each and 10 $50 certificates for $35 each. Two $500 certificates—one each from Alson Jewelers and Marshall Carpet One—will sell for $350.

“The reason they decided to do that [the $500 offer] is they realized it wasn’t a big deal to save $15 or so on a watch or a carpet,” says Orenstein.

The gift certificates are valid for five years but can not be used with other offers or sales.

This is only the second time Cleveland Shops has had this sale. The group was founded last October, although the group’s founder, Gordon Geiger of Geiger’s stores says they’ve been working on the concept since summer 2019.

“I was commiserating with [our marketing guy] Tom Gibbons on how foot traffic had changed, and online retailing wasn’t just a hope, it was a reality,” Geiger recalls. “I said we need to remind them how important independent retailers are.”

Geiger says the conversation started a narrative about how important local retailers are to the communities they serve—whether it’s a resource for residents or an asset to the communities.

“Everyone should look at their own shopping districts where they live,” he says. “And if those retailers weren’t there, what would be there? I can’t tell you how many gift cards we’ve donated over the years.”

So, Geiger and Gibbons sat down with Orenstein (who is also the executive director of Cleveland Independents) and the trio began planning Cleveland Shops. After delaying launch plans because of the coronavirus, the organization launched with huge success, says Geiger.

“And now we’re on our second sale,” he boasts. “We hope to add exponentially more and more independent retailers and create this group where people can say, ‘hey, you’re a Cleveland Shops member,’ and support us.”

Geiger says he’s already seen an uptick in business at his stores. “Since we reopened, we’ve seen a bump in traffic,” he says. “People like the fact that we are in town and support out communities—so they support us.”

The group has “only touched the tip of the iceberg,” Geiger says, as Cleveland Shops continues to grow. To take advantage of gift certificate sale, go to the Cleveland Shops web site and click on the Gift Certificate Sale button at the bottom of the page.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.