Online Originals: Kinston Rewards Program hopes to put city back on map for visitors while supporting small business

Online Originals

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A new rewards program in Kinston is hoping to bring more visitors to the city while benefiting locals and supporting small businesses.

The rewards program kicked off in the spring as the country started to make its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Management at Visit Kinston came up with the idea to help local small businesses bounce back after the hardships of the past year.

Community Outreach Coordinator Robbie Rodgers said it publicizes local businesses while incentivizing the community to shop locally.

We were sitting around during COVID, trying to figure out how to exit out of COVID, so we came up with the rewards program. So what it does is gives visitors and residents an opportunity to save a little money at the cash register when they shop in our local stores.

Robbie Rodgers, Community Outreach Coordinator, Visit Kinston

There are currently 26 participating businesses in the Downtown Kinston area. Some of those include: clothing stores like Chéri La Mode, coffee shops like Middle Grounds Coffee House, Mother Earth Brewing Co., and IronClad Axe Throwing.

The owner of the consignment boutique Chéri La Mode, Chrishana Wilson, tells me as Kinston starts to bloom again, a program like this will help to put them on the map. Not just for residents, but for visitors out of city and even out of state. She said, “It really just brings more attention to downtown.”

It’s really important to support local small businesses because we really are the backbone of each community. There are the big box retailers but we are the unique face of each city.

Chrishana Wilson, owner at Chéri La Mode Boutique

All you have to do is go to one of the participating businesses listed on its website, and once you get to the register, scan that QR code, enter your information, and you’re all set for 10% off.


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