The Coast News Group
gift card
The city's new gift card program allows residents to purchase gift cards but businesses will be compensated immediately. File photo

Carlsbad launches new gift card program for small businesses

CARLSBAD — The City of Carlsbad and several local organizations are helping rollout a first-of-its-kind program today to support local businesses by encouraging residents to purchase gift cards.

The program, Gift Carlsbad, aims to help small businesses combat financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to David Graham, Carlsbad’s chief innovation officer.

Graham said the program allows residents to purchase gift cards, but the money owed to the business will be directed immediately, instead of a traditional waiting period until the gift card is redeemed.

The city, along with Visit Carlsbad, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Carlsbad Village Association and Yiftee, an online marketplace platform, all helped bring the program to fruition.

Additionally, the City of Carlsbad and the chamber’s Ready Carlsbad Business Alliance committee, each put in $25,000 to start the program, while the city will match an additional $25,000 from sponsorships secured by the committee, according to Bret Schanzenbach, the CEO and president of the chamber.

Graham said $3.95 from each purchase goes directly to the business and if they reach $100,000, it will be an additional $395,000 back into the businesses.

Christine Davis, executive director of the CVA, said the new program is like another stimulus package, citing the city’s $4-million program launched several months aimed at helping small businesses.

Also, the gift card program offers incentives for those who purchase, Graham said. A $25 card gets the buyer an extra $5 card, while $40 includes an additional $10 for totals of $30 and $50, respectively.

Businesses can still join the program by contacting the city, CVA, chamber or Visit Carlsbad. To purchase a gift card, visit