Salem resident Matt Obey bought 21 gift cards from local businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak last Sunday. Since then, he’s been parceling out the $50 cards to followers of his Instagram account, @purelysalem.
“I saw shops encouraging people to buy gift cards, and I wanted to support them,” said Obey via phone. “I also wanted to bring attention to the fact that these places are still open — only open for takeout, of course, but still."
“Also I can’t possibly use all of these.”
Small businesses in Massachusetts have been urging patrons to stock up on gift cards as shops and restaurants are forced to close or only offer delivery to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Hey Everyone, this is just a heads up that you’ll be seeing 21 different Instagram posts where I’ll be giving away $50 gift cards to some of my favorite Salem small businesses. I bought these in the hopes to inspire others to also think about supporting our local businesses during these difficult times! Please be on the lookout for my Instagram posts and enter to win!
Every day, in an Instagram post, Obey announces which cards are up for grabs. He asks participants to share what they order or buy at the business to qualify for the draw, and uses an app to pick a winner randomly.
The full-time accountant puts up at least two gift cards for the giveaway each day and so far has distributed 10 gift cards from local spots, including Bella Verona, Wicked Good Books, and Longboards Restaurant and Bar.
When Obey isn’t using his account for giveaways, he posts pictures of historic houses in Salem.
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