The Town of Middleburg is already spending $182,000 to support residents, utility customers, restaurants and nonprofits amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it’s set to spend another $150,000 to support retailers.
The Town Council on Thursday night voted 6-0-1 to authorize the creation of a town retail business support program that will see the town reimburse businesses for half of the amount of their mark-down prices during sales. That financial relief will be capped at 30-percent-off sales and $3,750 per participating business, based on the sale of up to $25,000 worth of merchandise. Councilman Philip Miller abstained from the vote because he works at Highcliffe Clothier in town, a business that could qualify for the program.
Here’s how it works. If a business marks its prices down 30 percent and sells $1,000 worth of merchandise, meaning it makes $700, the town will reimburse that business 15 percent of the value of the merchandise it sold—$150. If a business marks its prices down by 40 percent, the town will still reimburse only 15 percent of the merchandise it sells.
The town is prepared to reimburse a total of $150,000 to all 40 in-town retail businesses, granted they each sell $25,000 during the duration of the program, which will last 30 days. That would mean Middleburg businesses generate $1 million in sales by next month.
To qualify for the financial support, businesses must enter into an agreement with the town and must “aggressively” market and promote their sales, in part by using the town’s newly created brand and horse logo. The town will also work to drive additional customers to those businesses’ storefronts and websites.
This is the second time in two weeks Middleburg has implemented a large financial relief package to benefit the public. On March 26, the Town Council voted to approve a four-piece package that is providing the town’s nearly 500 utility customers with $200 credits, sending 429 in-town households 13 $20 meal vouchers for town restaurants, giving restaurants more time to remit money collected via the 4-percent meals tax and contributing $16,750 to three area nonprofits. The relief package is costing the town $181,750.