Report: Trumbull Main Street business program generated $9,000

TRUMBULL — January is usually a slow time for Plasko’s Farm.

“December is usually kind of the culmination of the year for us,” said owner John Plasko.

That’s when the farm has its Christmas tree sales, he said. And once that season is over, the business is fairly quiet, as its ice cream sales also have slowed by then. So, Plasko said, he’s grateful for anything that can jump start interest during that down time.

This year, the town did exactly that.

Plasko’s Farm was one of three businesses that participated in Main Street Dollars, a town-run program that ran from Nov. 29 to Jan. 30 and was funded through a $5,000 corporate grant from United Illuminating.

The town provided a total of 500 certificates to Trumbull residents that they could spend at Plasko’s, Pure Poetry and City Line Florist. Residents received a $10 gift certificate for spending $20 or more at the participating businesses.

Plasko said he was happy to participate in anything that might boost the town and its residents — particularly if it would help the business at the same time. When the program started, he said, the farm was starting Christmas tree season, which helped residents looking for seasonal decorations.

But what was really helpful was that the program continued after that busy season was over.

“It kind of created an interest to bring people in for us,” Plasko said. “We noticed it did help carry us through that slightly slower period.”

A new report from the town showed that the three participating businesses made $8,299.98 through the program. Though $2,880 of that came from the vouchers spent at these stores, the bulk of it — $5,419 — came from customers spent their own money. Plasko’s alone made $3,184.55 through the program, with a little more than half of it coming from customer dollars.

The report also showed that, of the 500 certificates available, 423 were distributed to Trumbull residents. Each resident was eligible for up to two certificates. Of the distributed certificates, 288 were used. According to the report, “this utilization rate is high for similar such coupon or certificate type programs based on industry feedback.”

There were also concerns that a surge in COVID-19 numbers due to the omicron variant of the illness right in the middle of the program might have had an impact on usage of the certificates “but this is difficult to concretely discern,” the report states.

Even with that possible hiccup, the program generated enough revenue that officials from Trumbull Economic and Community Development Department are considering running a second program this spring with the remaining funds. The new iteration would likely focus on salons and wellness businesses.

The department also might seek additional corporate grants to fund future Main Street Dollars efforts for more local businesses.

“We continue to look for ways to bring real bottom line help to our small businesses and to promote buy local,” said Trumbull economic and community development director Rina Bakalar. “We hope to continue the Main Street Dollars program into the future.”