Shop-on-P.E.I. gift cards again being snapped up by public

·2 min read
Tens of thousands of these $50 gift cards have been sold in the past year on Prince Edward Island.  (Carolyn Ryan/CBC - image credit)
Tens of thousands of these $50 gift cards have been sold in the past year on Prince Edward Island. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC - image credit)

Another 4,100 Canada's Food Island gift cards were sold at a discount on Monday, the first day in 2021 that they've been offered at 20-per-cent off face value.

Kent Thompson, the director of finance and food tourism with the Food Island Partnership, says the $50 gift cards have been popular with Island consumers and P.E.I. merchants alike.

So far for this year, the group has enrolled about 240 businesses that have agreed to accept the cards in return for meals, lodging or products.

Many are seasonal businesses that took a body blow from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in 2020.

"They're just starting to look now at the plans for the upcoming year. So we're encouraging them to get signed up early," Thompson told CBC News.

The industry-led, non-profit organization launched the gift cards last year as a way to spur at-home spending at registered restaurants, bars, hotels and other establishments.

For limited periods of time, Islanders could pay $40 for a gift card worth $50.

Nearly half of previous cards now redeemed

Before this week's release of more cards, the Food Island Partnership said almost 24,000 of the cards had been sold — and 44 per cent of them had been redeemed at a total of 163 locations across the Island.

Thompson said the organization is now looking at whether it could sell the gift cards online; they are currently only available to in-person buyers at Mel's Convenience and Murphy's Pharmacy locations, plus Co-op locations in Souris, Tignish, and O'Leary.

He noted that as travel restrictions ease, the redemption rate could rise further since many accommodation providers on P.E.I. will be offering "Stay and Savour" packages that include one or more gift cards.

The 20-per-cent-off promotion runs from March 15-29 or while supplies last.

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