There’s An App For That: WeLocals Helps You Support Small Businesses

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Many small businesses want to reward their loyal customers and we all like getting a good deal. This is why Tony Powe has relaunched his Lower East Side loyalty program with a new name and a new app.

You might remember the ZIpCard, which he created a few years ago at Alias, the dearly departed Clinton Street restaurant. Now the program has been rebranded as WeLocals, and an iOS/Android-based app can download for free from the Apple Store or Google Play.

WeLocals allows businesses to decide how they want to reward their customers. At Thelma on Clinton, the neighborhood restaurant, you get $15 off after collecting 300 points (one point is awarded for each dollar spent). Roni-Sue’s Chocolates gives you a free chocolate truffle with your first purchase. Each business has a page within the app. They scan a QR code to keep track of your purchases. Other businesses taking part include Adventure Cafe, Malt & Mold and September Wines.

Right now, WeLocals is available in the 10002 and 10009 zip codes, with other neighborhoods coming online in the future. Users will only be allowed to sign up for two neighborhoods. Chain stores and franchises aren’t eligible to participate. The idea is to support independent businesses and to encourage more local residents to frequent their neighborhood mom-and-pops. The app uses location-based technology, detecting nearby businesses.

Melissa O’Donnell, owner of Thelma on Clinton, told us recently that she appreciates how easy the program is to use for her staff. There’s very little for her team to keep track of. “The neighborhood is changing a lot,” she said. “The program allows me to start attracting more regular customers who are just moving into the area.”

“The program,” Powe said, “is a genuine anecdote to trying to keep neighborhoods the way we like them with a bustling, thriving community of small businesses. It’s really an effort to keep communities vibrant.”

If you would like to try out the app or if you’re a small business interested in joining the program, click here.