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Politics and Government

Oswego helps rebuild local economy with stimulus gift cards

Payne Horning

The city of Oswego last week launched a third round of a very successful program that uses federal stimulus dollars to help local businesses continue in their recovery from the pandemic. 

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said when the city puts its buy one get one gift cards on sale they don't last long.

"The first two rounds when we go to open up the sale of the certificates there's a line out the door the first time we sold out in two hours and last time we sold out in one day," Barlow said. 

The gift cards can be bought for $25 but they're worth $50 thanks to the city's matching grant. Each round costs the city about $20,000. Barlow said the city has used the funding in a targeted way offering the gift cards for locally owned businesses and releasing them in the busy holiday season and during the February slowdown.

Those involved like Sherry Babcock, who runs Sherry's Downtown Diner, say it makes a major difference for both business owners and residents.

"It's really good for the community and they come in and try places they would never otherwise get to you know some people are having problems financially and when they, buy it it doubles so you can take your family out to eat and not feel the hardship it's just good for the economy it's good for everybody," Babcock said.