A charming downtown and an innovative spirit are leading economic recovery in one of Loudoun County’s small towns.
While many businesses across the nation are scrambling to adapt to new sales and safety practices, Middleburg restaurants and shops are thriving under popular new programs.
Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton hopped on the #LoudounPossible Pod to explain how local leadership designed the Restaurant Support Program to double the discounts that residents receive at the town’s iconic hospitality institutions.
“A lot of our folks here in town have been furloughed from their jobs. They are feeling the economic pinch, and everybody needs to eat,” noted Mayor Littleton. “So we tried to structure the program in a way that while we gave a financial support incentive to the business, to the restaurant, the beneficiary of that financial support was actually the residents in town.”
In early April, every Middleburg household received a packet in the mail with 13 gift vouchers to local restaurants. Each participating restaurant receives 50% of the discount offered on an order when the voucher is used. The restaurants are required to be open at least four days a week and report voucher usage to the town.
Mayor Littleton provided an example to break down the math:
“If someone has a $1,000 order and that business gives 30% off, the customer’s going to get the savings of $300. And what we will do is then refund back to that business $150 of that $300 off that they gave to their customer. So the customer benefits by getting a great deal, the business benefits by generating some revenue, and the impact of that discount is lessened to them.”
The goal is to encourage deeper discounts that make dining out more affordable, while simultaneously helping to ensure that local establishments stay in business. That’s a great opportunity for shoppers.
Like other restaurants and services across Loudoun, Middleburg businesses are adapting to contemporary consumer needs. The King Street Oyster Bar mentioned in the podcast, along with other Middleburg favorites, can be found on Take Loudoun Home’s map of Restaurants, Retail & Services.
The Take Loudoun Home campaign provides information to connect Loudoun consumers and creators during this unprecedented interruption to business as usual.
What’s next? The promising success of the restaurant program has spurred the creation of a similar Retail Support Program in Middleburg.
“It’s our sense of place and our sense of caring that will carry us through this epidemic and position us really to seize the opportunities that emerge during this recovery.”