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Davis Downtown launches new eGift Card

EGift Card Design 2023(From press release) Davis Downtown today launched a new eGift Card, encouraging people to shop locally.

The virtual card program allows shoppers to spend them at any participating Davis Downtown merchant or restaurant, and offers the gift-giver the peace of mind that their money is supporting local businesses.

Brett Maresca, executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, said the organization frequently gets requests from the city, UC Davis, sporting leagues, schools, PTAs and others for this kind of card.

“By providing this opportunity, we can keep dollars local that often end up going to Amazon or other large chains outside our community,” Maresca said.

These cards are made available through Yiftee, a company that started in 2012 to “Keep Local Dollars Local,” as its motto states. It has more than 450 community cards across the nation, generating millions of dollars for small businesses. These eGift cards work like a credit card when a customer redeems them. There’s even a platform for companies, nonprofits, schools and other entities to buy them at a discount for quantities of $1,000 or more. Email [email protected] for bulk purchase inquiries.

Downtown Davis businesses wishing to participate in the program may email Stephanie Peel at [email protected] to sign up. They will receive simple instructions on how to set up an account. To participate, businesses must have a downtown Davis address registered on a valid city of Davis business license. Already, more than two dozen businesses are enrolled, with several dozen more in the works.

To purchase an eGift card and view the growing list of participating businesses, visit https://app.yiftee.com/gift-card/davis-downtown. Choose a recipient, who can receive it by email or text. Cards have a delivery fee of $1 plus 5% of the card’s value. Cards lose value if left inactive for a year. After 12 months, it loses $3 per month of inactivity, but the 12-month cycle is reset each time it is used.

To use a card at a participating business, customers present it on a mobile device or printed on paper. It’s processed as a MasterCard with a 16-digit code, CVV, ZIP and expiration date. Charges may not exceed the card balance, so it’s important that customers know exactly how much is on the card. Customers or merchants may check the card balance online at https://c.yiftee.com/check-gift-balance. Purchases may be made above the card’s value, adding another payment method for the remaining amount. The gift cards may not be used for tips or on other third-party ordering or delivery apps.

Davis Downtown leads and energizes the downtown as the primary business, entertainment and cultural center of Davis. Alive with activity seven days a week, downtown Davis draws locals and visitors alike to experience fine food and beverages, retail, professional services, arts and entertainment in an extraordinary and sustainable gathering place.


Ron O

From a "customer's" perspective, I've never understood the appeal of gift cards. It seems to me that it's essentially the same as giving "cash", but with far more restrictions (as well as the risk of losing or forgetting about them, etc.).

Now, if the purchaser received a discount (in comparison to the card's value), that would be different. But they rarely work that way - even at major retail chains.

My guess is that this program will hardly make a dent in any bottom line - for any of these businesses.

Here's an idea: Make your product appealing in the first place. And yes, that includes any business downtown.


They need to remove the bicycle imagery from their programming until they actually do something to support all ages safe cycling to Davis downtown.


I agree with Ron, without a built in discount for every gift card bought, regardless of amount, I doubt this will do much at all for Davis local businesses.

Say a 10% discount.

Aaron Wedra

The David Downtown Business Association (DDBA) staff and board work really hard to support the downtown. This new model of eGift card was a long time in the making. Many options were considered over years, to get it just right.

It's a win no matter how it plays out. It could affect businesses bottom lines greatly actually. We'll have data.

Ron, of courses from the customer's perspective limiting funds is "silly" for the most part. But when you understand that a card supports local, that kind of sentiment goes out the window.

Saying the card will fail and then telling downtown businesses to make their products more appealing, what is that? Jumping on that Keith?

You guys, our downtown has always been struggling. I think what your comments tell me is that you're aware of the aches and pains, and resentful that our downtown has appeared lacking in the past. It also tells me that you're not in the ground level activism and work going on, because there are soooo many successes over the past few years, especially with the DDBA. If you knew of the legitimate successes, I bet you and many others would start to love on the downtown again.

Roberta L. Millstein

I think the gift cards are a good idea. We can debate over whether gift cards "make sense," but the fact of the matter is that they are widely used by many. And if this one has the added bonus of supporting something that the card purchaser cares about (downtown businesses), then there is even more motivation to use one.

Hurts no one, helps some. Only those who are interested need participate.

Not seeing a real downside here.

Ron O

Not seeing a real downside here.

Missed opportunities always have a downside (e.g., creating a gift card that actually "works").

If folks aren't supporting downtown businesses now . . .

Then again, the only downtown businesses I normally support consist of ACE, restaurants or coffee shops, banking, and Kim's market. Oh, and the Co-Op, if you count that as being "downtown". (Great bike shop in that same mall, as well.)

And if parking gets any more challenging, I'm not sure how much I will (at all) going forward. (Not looking forward to whatever replaces Hibbert's, for example.)

By the way, I'm looking forward to Nordstrom Rack at University Mall. A major "win" for Davis, in my opinion. And perhaps one that wouldn't have come forth, if the city continued to try to push for housing at that site.

But a gift card - without even any discount upon purchase? To be used at some unknown business I don't support in the first place? (I don't even notice what else exists in Davis, these days.)

Meh, and humbug.

Roberta L. Millstein

During the "lockdown," a lot of folks made an extra effort to support downtown businesses, including myself. I imagine that a decent percentage of those folks might also be interested in buying gift cards.

Ron O

I'd personally like to see restaurants tied-into any discounted gift card, as well. Thereby encouraging folks to try different restaurants.

And perhaps ACE, as well.

Already, ACE routinely offers coupons. Perhaps they'd be interested in helping to support "discounted" gift cards - to encourage more customers downtown in general.

However, I've never seen the supposed "problem" with encouraging just about the entire downtown to consist of restaurants (and more of them). Over the years, there's been quite a few retail stores that I've never set foot in - gift card or not. I've sometimes wondered how some of them were able to survive at all.

I don't view downtown businesses as a "charity" to support, nor do I think that the city (necessarily) gets much out of (some) of them. At least, not enough for me to go out of my way to support them.

I do, however, plan on venturing into Nordstrom Rack - combining it with a trip to Trader Joe's. No discount card needed.

I miss World Market - which might still be there if the city hadn't bungled the situation. (Who knows.) Maybe they'll come back, or some other appealing store(s).


"Jumping on that Keith?"

Aaron Wedra, I jumped on the idea of a small discount that could be accompanied with buying the card, nothing more. I think that would be a good idea and spur more people to buy them. So Aaron, try to stick to what I actually stated and not to jump to conclusions about me in the future.

George Galamba

I'm not quite sure I completely understand the program. Usually this kind of "scrip" is sold at a discount, but according to the following: "Cards have a delivery fee of $1 plus 5% of the card’s value." You are not only NOT getting a discount, but are paying 5% over value plus one dollar. What's the advantage to the merchant or the purchaser? Wouldn't businesses be better off if I just spent the extra 5% in their shop?

Aaron Wedra

My mistake Keith. I overreacted based on my perception of a negativity spiral in the first comments on this post. My comment toward you was unfair. I bundled you in with things you actually didn't say at all. My apologies.

Alan C. Miller



Aaron, no problem, apology accepted.

It came as a surprise here as I'm usually subjected to that kind of stuff on the Vanguard, not the Davisite.

Aaron Wedra

Hi George. The $1 plus 5% is paid by the purchaser. The business and the gift recipient get the full value of the eGift card.

The purchaser would decide to do this as a gift for someone because they want to see the dollars spent locally at downtown businesses. Every type of card solution explored had a fee somewhere, and this seemed the best in the end. Part of the reality seems to be, if you get a service "like the software and support behind the gift card", you are going to see a fee somewhere.

Aren't we all getting used to being charged extra these days? Though I'm still surprised a coffee can run $10 with a tip.

Ron O

"Hi George. The $1 plus 5% is paid by the purchaser. The business and the gift recipient get the full value of the eGift card."

Are you referring to the end-user (customer of a downtown business, or someone purchasing the card for someone else) paying an extra 5%?

If so, there is NO WAY this is going to be successful - nor should it be. They should be giving end-users a DISCOUNT, not a SURCHARGE.

Again, downtown businesses aren't a "charity", in the eyes of most customers (I suspect).

"Aren't we all getting used to being charged extra these days?"


"Though I'm still surprised a coffee can run $10 with a tip."

There's your problem - leave out the tip. And if necessary, leave out the coffee (and the "avocado toast", as they say). :-)

Bah, humbug. But somewhat serious, as "tip requests" seem to be spreading to the types of jobs/employees which traditionally didn't "expect" tips (coinciding with higher prices in the first place). These type of jobs aren't intended to be careers, and customers may not be exactly "flush with cash", themselves.

Just sayin - I don't think this program is going to be very successful.

Dianne Tobias

Think shop local is a great mantra and not opposed to the ecards however several years ago my son and DIL gave me a physical DDBA card they had bought. I must have kept it too long in my wallet because when I tried to use it at several local businesses. No one knew what I was talking about!

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