Morgantown Area Partnership launches new ‘Gift Card Stimulus Program’ to help restaurants during COVID-19 outbreak


Downtown Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Area Partnership (MAP) is launching a new ‘Gift Card Stimulus Program’ for local restaurants in order to help them during the financially burdensome times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Russell Rogerson. MAP’s president and chief executive officer, they had a soft launch starting April 6 but the real launch will be Monday, April 20, and they will have 10 businesses participating. The idea, Rogerson said, is to add on as many local restaurants as possible in order to invest in local restaurant locations going through operational changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program works as follows:

  • First, you visit the program’s website, where you can buy a $25 gift card from any of the participating restaurants;
  • then the Partnership adds an additional $10 to the card, resulting in a $35 gift card toward the purchaser’s chosen restaurant (if you’re one of the first 100 to buy gift cards);
  • finally, MAP purchases the card from the restaurants mails it out the same day allowing you to practice social distancing.

MAP came up with the idea when it became apparent that social distancing would become a prominent fixture in everyday life and restaurants would suffer as a result, Rogerson said.

Rogerson said they toiled around with many other ideas initially trying to find the best strategies. They decided to try out this idea and then they discovered other communities had done something similar so they reached out for help and guidance which helped them implement their own program.

“While there’s help coming, large dollars coming from the federal government, we hope that’ll make a serious difference, we wanted to play a small role in driving revenue to those who are struggling to stay open,” Rogerson said. “And this is a complete pass-through from our perspective so we’re doing this simply to help our members stay afloat and continue to move their product so that when we’re out of this isolation they’re going to be in better shape and better able to continue to serve our community.”

He said he is appreciative of participating restaurants, which for now include: Almost Heaven Bar & Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Get Fit Juices & Shakes, Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, Qdoba Mexican Eats, Shoney’s and Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.

If other restaurants would like to sign up they can contact Amy Loomis, VP of Member Engagement at

If you would like to find more out about the program you can visit the program’s website by clicking here.

“I would like to thank our membership and our community for buying local, I can’t stress that enough,” Rogerson said. “In these times more than ever we need to continue to support each other in every way possible and we have a great area here that does that and I think that’s going to help us be one of the leading communities coming out of this restriction.”

This is not the only effort by MAP to help the community during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Other efforts have included a webinar to help small business owners understand how to take advantage of federal aid dollars and posting job openings on their website.

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