By Becky Carey
You know that happy feeling when you swipe your loyalty card at the grocery store and the total on the register shrinks, or remember when you used your college ID to score deals on or around campus? That savings experience is now available to Richmonders at select local businesses.
The RVA Card is a new opportunity for thrifty Richmond-lovers to save money while supporting community growth via marketing and fundraising specifically for local businesses and nonprofits.
So here’s how it works.
You purchase your $10 card online, at MyRVACard.com, or at any supporting business listed on the website. For consumers, once the card (which looks and feels like a credit card) is in your hand, you can start receiving discounts from participating stores, restaurants, and businesses around town. The businesses that are involved should have a sticker in their window or brochures. If you’re not sure, just ask. The cards are sponsored by a particular local business and support a local nonprofit.
For those who run a nonprofit, partnership options are available. Your nonprofit can team up with the RVA Card to spread awareness and raise funds. Organizations that choose to sell the RVA Card receive half of the proceeds from each card sold. The card can also be a source of visual marketing by choosing the option to have your logo on the cards for public production.
“…a forward-moving cycle of mutual support between Richmonders, local businesses, and organizations.”
Each business found on the website creates its own deals to offer to cardholders, changing or adding as they please. For example, currently with every sandwich purchase at Alamo BBQ in Church Hill, cardholders get a free side, or when visiting AlbTech on Main Street for an iPhone screen repair (because you dropped it again), you receive 20 percent off. The RVA Card continues to grow throughout the city with deals available from the Fan, to Mechanicsville, to Short Pump. With placement in the airport and museums, the RVA Card also highlights the local community to a growing number of tourists. There have been approximately 5,000 cards distributed thus far, and 150 official participating businesses, with that number increasing rapidly.
Danny Moss, founder of the RVA Card, came up with the business model while finishing his degree at VCU’s Da Vinci Center and quickly brought fellow Richmond-enthusiast Patrick Holmes on board, as well as Joe Domino, Kevin Smith, and designer Cesley Musgni to create his current team. “The RVA Card is community on a card. Not just a discount card, but a way to connect,” says Holmes. The notable difference between the RVA Card and other discount options, such as ValPack or Groupon, is that the card specifically benefits the local Richmond community. Barrett Snow, owner of Richmond Shirts LLC, notes, “In July of 2013, I collaborated with the RVA Card team and I saw immediate exponential sales increases. I was also able to launch new products in the RVA Card team’s test market, which proved successful while limiting my risk as a small business owner.”
The RVA Card is positioned to create a forward-moving cycle of mutual support between Richmonders, local busi- nesses, and organizations. The RVA Card team says that the benefits are limitless. “We think we’ve created a no brainer, a win-win for everyone,” says Holmes.