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ShopArlington Promotes Local Businesses, Offers Savings

ShopArlington, an Arlington Economic Development program, encourages the support of local businesses through providing a savings program and highlighting local business happenings.

Want to save money on meals, shopping and services while supporting Arlington’s business community? The ShopArlington retail program is beneficial for both businesses and residents. ShopArlington was developed by staff from the county’s Arlington Economic Development (AED) department in 2003 and has been active off and on over the past few years. AED launched the current campaign, “Shop Local. Shop Arlington,” in 2009 to aid the struggling economy.

The goal of ShopArlington is to promote retail in Arlington, especially small businesses, said Kelly Rindfusz, AED communications director.

“Arlington depends on its small retail businesses as key components of its economic sustainability and its neighborhood character,” she said. “At a time when retail across the country is struggling, Arlington’s shops and restaurants are performing well, and in many cases, thriving.”

Rindfusz cited as examples the new concepts developed by many operators, such as Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd.) and Lyon Hall (3100 N. Washington Blvd.) in Clarendon, Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Blvd.) in Courthouse and Twisted Vines at 2803 Columbia Pike.

Currently, 123 merchants participate in ShopArlington’s “Save Big Bucks” savings card program. Any retail business located in Arlington is eligible to participate in the savings card program, regardless of whether it is a national chain, franchise or independently owned, Rindfusz explained. Only Arlington locations may participate, however.

Participating merchants may offer any special they choose to residents, though to maximize the benefits of the savings card, AED recommends that businesses offer a minimum of 20% off one item or an entire purchase, a free item or a buy one, get one half off promotion.

AED has distributed thousands of savings cards, said Rindfusz. Residents also may download cards for free at http://www.shoparlington.org. Deals currently offered are listed at http://www.shoparlington.org/index.cfm/14130. There is no fee for a merchant or a card user when a resident uses the ShopArlington card.

South Moon Under’s (2700 Clarendon Blvd.) store manager Jessica Smith said that while the store hasn’t seen a lot of customers presenting ShopArlington cards, South Moon Under does offer 15% off a total purchase.

Along similar lines, Donna Estin, vice president of Advance Car Rental (850 N. Randolph St.), said that she believes that it is still taking some time for residents, as opposed to only businesses, to learn more about the benefits of ShopArlington. Advance Car Rental offers 20% off a rental for customers showing their ShopArlington card. Estin said that she believes in the mission of ShopArlington. “It’s a good concept to get people thinking about buying and shopping local,” she said.

Rindfusz pointed out that ShopArlington has more features than the savings card program. The program’s website features a shopping and dining guide, weekly specials, news on businesses coming soon to Arlington and a quarterly feature called Retail Trails. Residents also may vote on Arlington’s Best Business Awards (ABBIES) through ShopArlington.

Future plans for ShopArlington include a booth at this spring’s Taste of Arlington festival (May 22). Savings cards will be distributed at the booth, and Rindfusz hopes that even more merchants will sign on to participate in ShopArlington by that time.

For more information on ShopArlington or to download a free savings card, visit

http://www.shoparlington.org.

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