A few months ago, Valerie Wilson, who serves as executive director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, and an acquaintance were discussing the idea of instituting a community gift card that would keep shopping dollars in the Friendly City. From that came the Petal First Gift Card, which can be loaded with any amount of money and used exclusively at 18 businesses across Petal. The card, which is provided by Yiftee, became available in Petal on Nov. 1.
“With a little bit of research, we found out that this is not a new idea; there are many communities around the country that do this, and organizations that provide this for chambers of commerce in different cities,” Wilson said. “So I’m just waiting to see how it works out, and see if people like it.
“Hopefully, we’ll have more and more merchants join us, so that whoever buys a gift card, they have many more options available.”
To purchase a card, individuals can visit www.petalchamber.com, click on the “Live Here” link and then click on the “Petal First Gift Card” link. There, purchasers can choose the recipient of the card and whether to send it via email or text message.
The purchaser pays a small eDelivery fee to cover processing costs. The card is available electronically, or purchasers can choose to print it on a piece of paper. The card is keyed manually into a business’s Point of Sale system.
“It’s a digital card, so it’s not like a traditional card where it’s made of plastic,” Wilson said. “You can send it to the recipient, or you can buy it for yourself.
“You can buy additional cards – it’s not like reloading that same card, but you can purchase as many gift cards as you want.”
Refunds can be applied to the Petal First Gift Card. In the event that the purchase exceeds the balance on the card, another form of payment will be needed to cover the balance.
So far, the Petal businesses that are participating in the Petal First Gift Card are, in alphabetical order:
• A-1 Graphics & Promotions, 233 Main Street
• Carter’s Jewelry, 1140 Evelyn Gandy Parkway
• Fig Boutique, 1272 Evelyn Gandy Parkway
• Grand Central Outfitters, 128 South Main Street
• Los Chicos Tequila Bar & Grill, 1080 Evelyn Gandy Parkway
• McAlister’s Deli, 1140 Evelyn Gandy Parkway
• Merle Norman & More, 100 Eastbrook Drive, Suite 90
• Moreno Eye Care, 598 East Central Avenue
• Patriot Spirits, 35 Byrd Boulevard, Suite 101
• Petal Tire and Service, 909 Mississippi 42
• Planet Nutrition, 922 Mississippi 42
• Rhinestone Ranch, 100 Eastbrook Drive
• Southern Lace Boutique, 100 Eastbrook Drive
• Summit Wine and Liquor, 1272 Evelyn Gandy Parkway, Suite 70
• Sweet Blossom, 1140 Evelyn Gandy Parkway
• The Ssipp Café, 128 North Main Street
• The Wine Cellar, 102 Carterville Road
• Tropical Glamour, 424 East Central Avenue
“(The businesses) are all for it,” Wilson said. “Even people that don’t have a participating business are excited that they can purchase a gift, knowing that it’s going to stay here in Petal, and that whoever they give it to is going to have a large selection of places to go to.
“It’s not like they’re not going to be able to find a place to use it. But we know we’re going to keep those dollars local.”
Story by Haskell Burns