launches to support local businesses.

June 11, 2020

Downtown Hart launches to support local businesses.

OCEANA COUNTY – A coalition of local business and economic organizations has launched a website where local consumers and potential visitors can have one-stop access to Oceana County businesses.

The website – – offers a comprehensive listing of restaurants, markets, retailers, lodging and various service providers. The directory includes links to individual businesses that provide menus, hours, delivery and pick-up options, and more. merchandise will soon be available on the site as well, with proceeds supporting the regional promotion of county small businesses.

A key feature of the site is a matching gift card program. Consumers can visit June 13–25, 2020, to participate in a special offer made possible through an unsolicited anonymous $10,000 gift from a local individual to Hart Economic And Redevelopment Team. The donation will jumpstart the website and card program along with a matching gift from The Community Foundation for Oceana County.

The current program allows gift card purchases of $25 to be matched with another $10, giving buyers $35 in total value for the cost of only $25. Up to five cards can be purchased per person, providing each consumer the opportunity for up to $50 in free local spending power. Due to the generosity of the program’s donors, up to 1,200 cards will be matched.

“The Community Foundation for Oceana County Board of Trustees voted to allocate $10,000 from our Urgent Needs Fund to support the economic recovery of Oceana County. We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of Chamber, DDA and Economic Development organizations that have swiftly collaborated to design a Shop Local campaign to support all businesses, to provide working capital to open up our downtowns and to foster pride in every community. We are thankful to all of our donors to our Urgent Needs Fund and to the Consumers Energy Foundation for their support making this grant possible,” said Tammy Carey, Foundation CEO.

Leaders from Hart’s Economic And Redevelopment Team (HEART), Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Chamber of Commerce, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce, New Era Chamber of Commerce, Oceana County Economic Alliance, Pentwater Chamber of Commerce, Pentwater DDA, and Shelby Chamber of Commerce convened in recent weeks to develop the campaign aimed at making county businesses easily accessible to local consumers and visitors.

The gift card match program is a first phase in the campaign as the group continues to work together to further encourage residents to shop local and to inform prospective visitors of area offerings. According to Jodi Nichols, The Right Place Business Development Coordinator supporting Oceana County’s Economic Alliance, “We all realize we need to work together to support Oceana County’s unique small businesses in any way we can so that our county and its communities can be even stronger on the other side of this crisis.”

Added Claudia Ressel-Hodan of Pentwater DDA, “When we help each other, we help ourselves.”

“Creating one easy-to-navigate site with current information on how to shop, dine, stay and play throughout the county during these ever-changing times is one way we can help each other survive this together,” stated Nichole Steel, Director of HEART. “Additionally, this gift card program gives consumers an incentive for putting cash in the hands of small businesses when it is most needed. Cards purchased now, maybe as Father’s Day or graduation gifts, might not be redeemed until later in the year, but they are helping owners right now as they struggle to re-open”.

Storybook Village, a children’s bookstore located in downtown Pentwater, is a participating business. Owner Barbara Sims says, “Businesses who are a making it through this crisis are using new ways to reach and serve new and returning customers. is one of those new ways now available to us. While it is unfortunate that it is not ‘business as usual’ as the summer season is now underway, we are finding innovative ways to still give our customers the quality shopping experience they expect from us. is providing our business with another way for shoppers to find us and learn about the new ways we are making it possible for the little ones in their lives to still enjoy all that Storybook Village has to offer.”

Oceana County businesses that would like to be listed on and/or participate in the gift card program should contact their local business organization as listed here:


Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Chamber of Commerce:

– Hesperia Chamber of Commerce:

– New Era Chamber of Commerce:

– Oceana County Economic Alliance:

– Pentwater Chamber of Commerce:

– Pentwater DDA:

– Shelby Chamber of Commerce:

Directory businesses are encouraged to make regular updates to their linked websites and social media pages so the public can stay informed as hours and offerings change.

“Whether you are a longtime resident or a first-time visitor, there is something new for you to discover in Oceana County by visiting,” added Scott Beal, Director of Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Chamber of Commerce. “Our local businesses are very grateful for the generous support of the partners who are making the site and the gift card program possible.” Sponsorship opportunities are still available for continued support of this free business resource. For sponsorship information, contact any of the business support organizations listed above.

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This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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