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Fareway donates $1,000 to Fort Dodge businesses

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
Fort Dodge's Fareway donated $1,000 in gift cards to the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Thursday morning. The $50 gift cards will be distributed by the alliance to small business chamber members as a gesture during the hardships businesses and employees have faced during the pandemic. The donation from Fareway is part of over $220,000 in giveaways from the grocery store chain in the Midwest.

Fareway’s Fort Dodge location delivered $1,000 in gift cards Thursday to the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance for small businesses impacted by the regulations and effects of COVID-19.

The donation comprised of $50 gift cards will be distributed by the alliance to randomly selected small business members impacted by restrictions that may have forced them to close or significantly alter their day-to-day business. Businesses will then be able to choose how to use or give away the gift cards.

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance has about 475 business members, CEO Dennis Plautz said, many of whom have concerns about their future in light of the pandemic. Plautz said those with large expenses incurred before the pandemic hit or those with less capital may be at higher risk of negative outcomes.

“The positives are things like this,” Plautz said. “There’s a lot of things people will appreciate more once we get through this.”

The alliance and Fareway hopes the move, part of about $220,000 in donations from Fareway Stores Inc. to communities in the Midwest, will boost morale in a dark time.

“I think it’ll boost morale, plus it’ll allow collaboration within businesses,” Plautz said. “You can use it to give to employees going through a harder time, or have a business luncheon.”

“The biggest thing is if they could hand it to furloughed employees,” said Chris Palm, manager of Fort Dodge’s Fareway. “Just a little bit to help out.”

Plautz noted that because Fort Dodge and Iowa aren’t alone in experiencing the global pandemic, places like Fort Dodge might have a better shot at recovery afterwards.

“Our ability to rebound, I believe, will be better than some of the other places that don’t have the scale we have,” he said. “That’s a positive to think about.”

He said the alliance appreciates Fareway’s community gesture as a mark of solidarity.

“At the end of the day, I think that these are unprecedented times and we just want to make sure we’re helping to take care of our local small businesses and employees facing challenges,” said Emily Toribio, outreach and communications manager for Fareway Stores Inc. “Really, the end game was to relieve stress during this time for business partners.”

“(Chambers of commerce) have the pulse in their communities on how to best serve their small business members during this time of need,” said Fareway CEO Reynolds W. Cramer. “We hope this donation helps small businesses and their employees that are facing challenges during this crisis.”

Fareway has more than 12,000 employees in 123 stores across six states.

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