Retail incentive program promotes local businesses

Games bring customers to San Pablo shops

By Cody Casares, Assistant Photo Editor

SAN PABLO — The San Pablo Economic Development Corporation has put together an interactive way for community members to support its local businesses.

The Road to Rewards program is a game put on by the SPEDC to incentivize community shoppers to redeem discounts at local businesses in the community.

“It’s a retail incentive program that aims to promote local San Pablo businesses,” David Lee, program director for Road to Rewards, said.

The game is based on a board game system, where local shoppers can collect stickers on their game board and return them to the SPEDC where they are entered into a raffle for prizes, Lee said. Prizes range from gift certificates from local businesses to a Nintendo Wii, with winners being selected at random at the end of the program.

The owner of Chimes Printing, a non-San Pablo based business that has participated in the program, Vince Corbella, said, “I think it’s good for the local businesses. Not many cities take care of small business. It’s working — people called and came in and that’s all I wanted.

“I’m thinking of moving my business there to San Pablo soon.”
Five thousand copies of the Road to Rewards game boards were distributed throughout the San Pablo community, as well as surrounding cities.
“We had a large outreach,” Lee said. “We went outside to Richmond and El Sobrante in order to draw more income.”
While some businesses on the list have seen a positive response to the program, some businesses have seen little change at all.

Jeffery Ruben, owner of Richmond Tire, said, “Since the program started we’ve had one person come in and use a coupon.”
The program wraps up on Nov. 1 with a raffle of participants’ game board entries on Nov. 8.

The SPEDC will be organizing a new campaign to support local businesses at the end of the Road to Rewards program called the Local First campaign. Local shoppers who save receipts from almost anywhere in San Pablo that equal $100 or more and turn them into the SPEDC will receive a raffle ticket and be entered to win prizes, Lee said.

The Local First campaign will begin on Saturday and continue until the first week of January.
The SPEDC has been recognized at a national level for its commitment to the community by winning San Pablo the All-American City Award.

The award is given to the city that has shown successful efforts to improve the health of the community.

San Pablo was awarded for the special attention it provided to health care, particularly targeting childhood obesity, economic development and police department community programs.