The City of Lancaster  will appropriate up to $500,000 in federal relief funds for the Shop More in Lancaster holiday program to help stimulate the local economy.

The program is modeled after last year’s award-winning Takeout and Chill program launched last year. However, this program will be open to all small businesses, not just restaurants, wineries and breweries.

Lancaster will distribute $20 cards to community members at various events within the city. The cards are redeemable at independent, locally owned businesses with a brick and mortar store within the city limits. Eligible businesses cannot have annual gross revenue that exceeds $3.5 million. City officials and their immediate family members are not eligible for the program.

“We expect this program to be just as successful if not more successful than the Takeout and Chill program, just because we’ve already done this one time, “ said Sydney Yeseta, assistant manager for Economic Development. “The community’s already aware of what it is, the business owners are already aware of it, and I think that being launched during Christmastime and during holidays, it really is set up to be extremely successful.”

Yeseta told the City Council that  with the Takeout and Chill program, people who used the cards generally spent more than $20 on the card.

“We’re hoping to see that happen with this program as well,” she said.

The city has distributed about 8,000 cards so far, with 42 businesses signed up.

Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist asked if they could add gas stations and grocery stores to the program.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris asked to make it easier for local businesses to join the program and be established with it. Parris also asked if they could give the cards to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies to disperse as well.

The City Council unanimously approved the fund appropriation.

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