Royal Oak DDA offering $150,000 in free gift cards, plus free parking – Daily Tribune

Shoppers in downtown Royal Oak can win a total of $150,000 in free downtown dollars next week before Small Business Saturday.

Free gift cards are offered through the city’s Downtown Development Authority’s annual Downtown Dollars Buy One, Get One program. Anyone who purchases one of the cards receives a bonus gift card for an equal amount.

The DDA partners with dozens of downtown businesses.

Shoppers can get one-day-only deals from participating businesses, special giveaways, sidewalk attractions, and visit warm-up stations from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 26.

“We are expecting up to 5,000 people downtown” for small businesses on Saturday, DDA Director Daniel Hill said. “There are two programs for participating outlets.”

One is for shoppers who spend $50 or more at a retailer and can get a free Downtown Tote and a free personalized Royal Oak Holiday Ornament. Two thousand ornaments will be available while supplies last.

The other is a retail passport program. Shoppers who spend at least $25 at four participating retailers will be entered into a contest. Two shoppers will each win $2,500 in Downtown Dollar gift cards. Hill said those winners can use the cards at more than 40 downtown retailers and restaurants.

Passport programs distributed also serve as a card for discounts and special offers at participating small businesses on November 26.

People can pick up a passport at the DDA’s temporary outdoor headquarters on the gated section of Fifth Street east of Washington Avenue on Small Business Saturday.

“We’ll have plenty of hot drinks,” Hill said, adding that Office Coffee, Tapped Coffee, hot cider from GoldfishTea Cafe and tea and hot chocolate from The Fern will be on hand. “We will also have offers and coupons provided by restaurants.”

The last time the DDA offered the Downtown Dollars Buy One, Get One gift card, it sold out within hours.

Hill said a key thing is for shoppers to sign up for Downtown Royal Oak’s newsletter through her Facebook and Instagram accounts. The information is also on the to place.

Royal Oak Passport and Adornment program participants include: 6 Salon, Blu Jean Blues, Chrome Clothing, Five15, Funky 7, Give Thanks Bakery, Goldfish Tea, Guitar Hi-Fi, hihi/LIFT, La Roche Gifts, The Don Collection, Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery, Made in the Mitten, Marcia Hovland Studio Gallery, Metals In Time, Paper Trail Books, Prism Park Optical Studio, Rail & Anchor, The Accessories Shop, Toyology Toys, Write Impressions and Your Personal Jeweler .

Programs are for retail sale only and do not include purchases of lounge services, food or beverage, services or entertainment tickets.

A list of participating companies continues to grow and is updated at

The DDA board on Wednesday approved spending $61,000 to provide free parking at one of four downtown parking lots.

There will be free parking on Saturday 26th November and Thursday to Saturday every week in December. Sunday parking is always free.

DDA officials earlier began offering grants to downtown businesses to have holiday window paintings made for the season on up to 100 companies.

The temporary wall displays of white stars, ornaments, evergreens, large snowflakes and striped candy canes have already been installed in about 40 businesses. They are each hand painted by artist Lisa Littill.

Artist Lisa Littill has already painted dozens of holiday-themed murals on downtown storefronts with more to come. (Photo by Mike McConnell)

Littill was bundled up and was already painting the windows early Thursday morning.

“Sometimes it’s windy or cold,” she says. “But we keep going until every painting is done.”

When a similar seasonal program of window murals was done in the spring, Hill said, a number of businesses reported that it brought in new customers or grabbed the attention of passers-by.

“The big thing we’re hoping for on Small Business Saturday is to see people go out, be merry and shop at our businesses with the window murals and holiday lights on.”

Michael N. Clark