In many smaller communities, auto dealers are often major players in the local business and political world, and they interact with large portions of the population. Now, Grand West Hyundai and Grand West Kia in Grand Junction, CO, are putting their marketing dollars to work in a way to help the local economy, while also potentially generating some sales at the same time.

Over the next six months, the dealers are contacting about 8,000 previous customers and offering them a gift card worth at least $50 to over 100 of the city's shops and restaurants (pictured above), according to Automotive News. All people need to do to receive the certificate is stop by the showrooms. Hopefully, the visitors would check out a new Hyundai or Kia at the same time. "We'd love to sell them a new car, but it is really a customer-appreciation gesture," said Ken Reeher, the dealers' marketing manager, to Automotive News. The two stores already bought about 3,600 cards with $181,000 going into the local economy.

Paying people to come to the showroom isn't really new but generally works well. The Colorado dealers expect around half of the people they contact to visit for the gift card, which is still significantly more foot traffic than from traditional mailings. The decision to keep the cards local also means more money goes to small businesses, and the move gains goodwill in the community, too.

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