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Cumberland County

Initiatives to help Carlisle area businesses, honor frontline workers continue on anniversary of pandemic

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The Sunrise Cafe looks for innovative ways to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initiatives to draw attention to and help for businesses in and around Carlisle’s downtown continue to be successful as the pandemic passed the one year mark.

Save Our Smalls

Launched in December 2020, Destination Carlisle’s “S.O.S: Save Our Smalls” program raised $20,402 so far. After merchant fees, this meant the organization had $19,954 to use to purchase $300 worth of gift cards or merchandise at 65 small businesses in downtown Carlisle. The cards and merchandise were donated to organizations on the front line of the pandemic.

Those organizations include UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle, Cumberland Goodwill EMS, Carlisle Fire & Rescue services and several area nursing homes.

So far, the organization has made 57 of those buys, which represents $17,100 going back into the local economy with the remaining purchases still on tap.

Destination Carlisle President Stephanie Patterson Gilbert said the donations were all individual donations ranging from $5 to $600.

Donations are still being accepted through the end of March at the Destination Carlisle website,, and additional information can be found at its Facebook page,

Think Big Support Small and It’s Our Treat

Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing front-line workers while supporting restaurants and retailers from among the retailers, restaurants, gyms, spas, salons, barbershops, entertainment venues and others that it represents through the It’s Our Treat program.

The program, which is supported through the end of June, kicked off in October when Chamber representatives took lunch and gifts to members of the Carlisle Police Department. Since then, they have visited UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle as well as emergency responders and urgent care centers.

The Chamber’s “Think Big Support Small” video series is continuing on its Facebook page. After featuring restaurants in February in conjunction with the Cumberland County commissioners’ declaration of restaurant month, the Chamber is featuring retail establishments in March.

The videos support Chamber members in some of the hardest hit business categories.

“Some of our sectors did well through the pandemic and the shutdown while others did not fare well at all,” said Michelle Crowley, president and CEO of the chamber.

Crowley said the chamber has also partnered with organizations like Cumberland Area Economic Development Committee and Downtown Carlisle Association to provide financial support and information on business-related topics of interest. The Chamber also has raised funds for the PA 30-day fund.


Unveiled in December, Downtown Carlisle Association’s LoveBuck$ program is a “never-ending” downtown gift certificate program, according to DCA Executive Director Glenn White.

“So far in three months, we have printed $7,000 of this ‘currency’ and have had over $6,500 given as gifts and are being spent currently downtown,” White said. “These gift certificate have been getting all around downtown which was our purpose.”

The LoveBuck$ program treats gift certificates as cash, allowing merchants to accept the certificates and then return them to the DCA for reimbursement

White said the DCA expects to see a surge in LoveBuck$ purchases as the end of the school year and summer approaches with people buying thank-you gifts for teachers and coaches as well as gifts for weddings and birthdays.

LoveBuck$ can be purchased through the DCA website at

Email Tammie at Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.


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