Do you ever feel that our MDI Small Businesses only care about the tourists? Well we’re happy to say you’re wrong.

I hear this grumble from time to time and today, whilst sipping my coffee, was no exception. Of course the fact that I’d forgotten my Choco-Latte card was my fault (and yes I could have grabbed a new one at the register), but it got me pondering on loyalty programs.

Who offers them? What kind of programs are there and how do you keep them fresh?

Julie Vieulleux of Windowpanes  and Bar Harbor Merchants Association has been an early adopter. “Window Panes does offer a program which has been very successful over the last 4+ yrs. We call it the LOCAL LOYAL card.  It seems that more and more businesses are offering such a program, a great thing for sure and a win win for both parties!” 

A quick polling of the local businesses online revealed a selection of perks for frequent buyers, ranging from traditional reward based programs to deals for multiple or bulk purchases and some fun and unusual perks.

Fun Perks

These are the programs that are just a little bit different. They are generally born from of a creative mind/ niche business or as a way to support a related goal.
It goes to show that you can find a way to say thank you to your customers with a bit of thought.

Rich MacDonald & Natalie Springuel, of The Natural History Center have a birding and naturalist tour guiding business, so it’s a bit of a niche and the program rewards the achievements of his customers rather than their purchases. Rich created his MDI Bird Club – when you see reach certain thresholds of birds seen on their outings and tours you get an embroidered patch.

Fabricate gives a 15% discount off all regularly priced items for members of Maine Crafts Guild.

Mountain Sea Properties not only gives returning tenants a $100 discount but has a referral program where anyone (need not be a prior tenant) can refer someone to Mountain Sea Properties and if it results in a booking, both the new tenant and the person referring get a $50 thank you. Yes, that means that locals can make quite a bit of cash by referring tenants to Mountain Sea.

And what about supporting your environmental beliefs by passively educating people…..?

Everyday Joes and Trailhead Cafe offer $1 coffee, you bring your own cup! No previous purchase required.
In addition to their more traditional accumulating purchases reward program, FIORE also has an environmental reward with their refill program. Customers receive a dollar off when they bring their bottles back, clean and dry, for a refill of any product they choose.

Traditional “Cashback” Reward

This is probably the most popular style – basically a “BOGO” promotion or variation on the theme of “you buy from us and we’ll give you a free product or discount on your next purchase” to say thank you.

Since their first day way back in July of 2009, FIORE has offered a Buy 10 Get One Free Program. With every purchase of oil & vinegar at all of their locations, customers receive a star for each purchase. Once you accumulate 10 stars, you earn a free $17 bottle (typically the 375ml size) or receive a $17 discount on the overall purchase of oils and/or vinegars. Program is available on line and in store.

Choc-o-latte offers 10% off when you present your loyalty card and a free drip coffee (or 50% off specialty coffees) after ten purchases.
Trailhead Cafe also has a loyalty program, buy 10, get one free.
MDI Tutors offers pay for 9 sessions of tutoring, get the 10th for free.
Serendipity issues a frequent buyer card with no expiration date, simply spend $100 and you earn $10 and start a new card.

Save your A&B Naturals receipts.  When you have $100 in receipts you can hand them in to get a 10% discount on your purchase that day.  Hand in $200 in receipts and receive a 20% discount on your purchase that day. Stop by the store to get full details – they also have a donate your receipt option ‘cos they’re good people!

At Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops. Earn $10.00 for every $100.00 you spend it’s free, it’s easy, it’s good at all Sherman’s locations and, most importantly, it’s tied into their POS, so you don’t have to remember that pesky card, even I can manage to remember my name and phone/address.

Who knew that Geddy’s also offered one point per dollar with the purchase of any Geddy’s restaurant food item? Once you reach 100 points, you will automatically receive $10 off your Geddy’s meal. Your Geddy’s Loyalty Rewards Card will then automatically start over again.

“Savvy Shoppers” at Stone Soup get their purchases recorded on a card. After 6 purchases, you receive 10% of what you spent in a gift certificate. As a bonus, if you leave your email, you’ll be notified of any special sales that are held for this group.
Spruce & Gussy have a punch-card. $10 per punch and 20% off your next purchase once get all 10 punches.
FT Brown Hardware and Mercantile in Northeast Harbor has a punch card. Get a punch for every $10 you spend and when its full (ten punches) get 25% off your next purchase.
As part of the True Value family at Paradis Hardware you can join the corporate rewards program. This is a points based system with additional “member only discounts” and even a birthday present. Points can earn dollar value rewards certificates or can be applied to to store shipping costs if they apply to and online purchase.
Galyn’s Restaurant has their Captain’s Table member program. Spend $100 ; excluding alcohol and sales tax and you will receive a $10 gift certificate.

Discount Reward

These are program where you bulk buy and receive a discount or additional benefits, It offers increased value to the purchaser and the provider get a bigger sale up front.

Reel Pizza has the eternally popular classic “The Big Ticket” pass that offers a discount admission price to people who purchase 10 tickets in advance, and also includes 5 free toppings when you order pizzas.  Yummy!

At Downeast Pilates if you prepay for a session you receive a discount on each class.

Cape Air has a Commuter Ticket Book: 10 one way tickets at a set price, so you avoid the seasonal rate variations.

House Wine has their 6 for $60 that allows you to select 6 bottles from a curated selection for a straight $60 cost rather than paying per bottle.

So let’s get a list of the love  – post your program, what your fav. places do for you in the comments below or get inspired to create a program to thank those who keep you business afloat!

November 2018 Update:

Here are some additional businesses sharing the local love that we’ve been told about:

Coffee Hound offers a free app that offers free coffee after you purchase 8. It’s valid at the Bar Harbor location and the Sunday River location

Willis Rock Shop offers a locals discount “Just ask”

Saltair B&B offers a 10% locals discount, so if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion with a waterfront suite, Bob’s your uncle!

Little Village Gifts are over achievers with a 20% discount for locals AND free gift with you 5th purchase.

Thrive Juice Bar offers a frequent buyer punch card with rewards when you fill it up.

Route 66 has a 10% discount locals card with a free appetizer after your 10th visit – anyone up for a milkshake?

Thank you for all the new local perks we’re learning about, keep ’em coming……….

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