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Sport Systems, an Albuquerque sport supply shop, is asking people to help support local restaurants through gift card purchases with the launch of the Hand Up ABQ campaign.
“There’s been some winners and losers with COVID, and we’re the fortunate ones that have benefited,” Duane Kinsley, owner of Sport Systems, said in a promotional video announcing the campaign. “… So we really wanted to come up with something that would help a lot of those other businesses, especially restaurants, that weren’t so fortunate,”
The campaign aims to purchase $100,000 in gift cards from local restaurants which will then be sold at Sport Systems in randomly assorted packs of $10 increments, starting at $50 for five gift cards. The initiative launched with an initial $25,000 contribution from Sport Systems.
“We want people to go out and experience new restaurants as well,” Kinsley said. “So when they buy their pack that makes them go to some other places that they’re going to discover.”
All the gift cards are from businesses that are locally owned, do not have drive-thrus and have been impacted by COVID through significant staff reductions.
“You don’t have to go around and figure out who’s locally owned and who’s affected,” Kinsley said. “We’ve done that for you.”
Kinsley said the idea for the Hand Up ABQ campaign was sparked after his employee, Kayleigh Winters, bought lunch for the entire staff from a local restaurant as a way of giving back to the restaurant and her coworkers.
“The whole idea spawned from her doing a really amazing act of kindness by buying the entire staff food one day from her favorite little restaurant that she wants to help,” he said.
The campaign’s goal is to give restaurants much needed cash up-front while encouraging city residents to patronize the businesses.
Nearly 20 businesses ranging from Flying Star Cafe to 50/50 Coffee House & Pub are partnered with the campaign, according to the campaign’s website.
Scarpa’s Brick Oven Pizza owner Joe Sommers said the purchase and redemption of gift cards allow restaurants to survive while also supporting their distributors.
“We’re not a standalone industry and I’d much rather be producing something and offering something of value for the dollars that come in the door,” Sommers said in the campaign video.
The campaign, which launched Friday, has already been a success, with gift card purchases and pledges to purchase gift cards totalling around $50,000, Kinsley said.
He said the campaign has resonated with people because it’s so easy to participate in and it provides direct help to restaurants in need.
Kinsley said he wants to see companies that are doing well come by and purchase a pack of gift cards as a show of support for businesses that are struggling.
Gift cards for the campaign can be purchased at Sport Systems at 6915 Montgomery NE. More info is at www.nmsportsystems.com.