Save MI Faves Frequently Asked Questions
For Restaurant-Goers & Customers
- What is Save MI Faves?
- Who benefits from these gift card sales?
- Isn’t it risky to buy gift cards to businesses that might go out of business?
- Why isn’t my favorite business on your site?
- Who built this? And why?
- I live outside Michigan. Can you do this for my city/state?
- Why isn’t my business listed on your site?
- How can I start offering online gift cards?
- How can I encourage customers to buy gift cards?
- What if I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ?
For Restaurant-Goers & Customers
What is Save MI Faves?
Save MI Faves is a nonprofit website that lets users easily find and buy gift cards to hundreds of local restaurants, bars, bookstores & other shops throughout Michigan – in towns from Albion to Zeeland.
Who benefits from these gift card sales?
All proceeds go to the small business. We do not receive any money when you use this site to find/purchase a gift card. We’re just volunteers who want to help loyal customers provide much-needed support to their favorite local businesses.
Isn’t it risky to buy gift cards to businesses that might go out of business?
That’s a very fair question. We believe it all depends on one’s intentions and expectations.
In the best case, buying a gift card is essentially floating an interest-free loan to the small business – a loan they will someday repay with food or other merchandise.
Realistically, some of the businesses listed on this site may end up closing forever. Customers who hold gift cards to these shuttered businesses will no longer be able to redeem them – and any money spent to buy the cards will essentially have been a “thank you” donation to the now-defunct businesses for their years of service.
As a result, you should only purchase a gift card if you are willing and able to bear the risk that it could become unredeemable. If you can bear this risk, we imagine these businesses would very much appreciate your support.
Why isn’t my favorite business on your site?
If a Michigan small business (restaurant, bookstore, barbershop/salon, etc.) is not already listed, it’s because either (a) no one has added it yet, or (b) it does not sell gift cards online. If your fave Michigan small businesses does sell gift cards online, please submit its information here.
Who built this? And why?
We’re a small team of entrepreneurs from Ann Arbor, led by Josh Botkin (of the University of Michigan and HistoSonics) and Steve Schwartz (of Alfa Jango and Genomenon). Our terrific logo was designed by Steve’s colleague, Kevin Ryan (of Alfa Jango).
We’ve received moral and logistical support from many terrific community members, including Shannon Beeman, Jordan Fylonenko, Michael Godwin, Sarika Gupta, Neel Hajra, Gregg Hammerman, Angela Kujava, Kelly LaPierre, Katy Lind, Satish Malnaik, Rishi Narayan, Mike Rein, Kaylin Riggs, Jill Saftel, Rich Sheridan, Dug Song, Alison Todak, Stewart Thornhill and Alon Yaffe, among others. Thank to, all!
But mostly, we’re loyal customers who are concerned about what these local businesses are going through and want to do whatever we can to help keep them afloat. We’re no longer going out because of COVID-19, so we started buying gift cards to help support our favorite cafes and restaurants during this unpredictable time – and we want to enable others to do so as well.
We were inspired by a similar Bay Area project (www.SaveOurFaves.org) launched by Kaitlyn & Mike Krieger – a husband and wife duo in San Francisco. Mike and Kaitlyn generously agreed to let us repurpose some of the content from their site (including parts of this FAQ), and they have also posted their site’s source code to GitHub so that others can make use of it. Thank you, Kaitlyn and Mike!
I live outside Michigan. Can you do this for my city/state?
We wish we could, but as Michiganders we are busy helping the struggling businesses across our state. To make it easier for you to build a similar site for your community, our source code is freely available via GitHub. You can find it here.
Why isn’t my business listed on your site?
If your Michigan small business (restaurant, bookstore, barbershop/salon, etc.) is not already listed, it’s because either (a) no one has added it yet, or (b) it does not sell gift cards online. If your businesses does sell gift cards online, please submit its information hereere.
How can I start offering online gift cards?
The first step is to check with your Point-of-Sale (POS) technology provider. Many vendors (e.g. Square, Toast, ShopKeep) offer their own gift card features, and others integrate with specific third-party providers.
If your POS provider doesn’t offer gift cards or integrate with third-party providers, there are some reasonable standalone eGift Card apps like GiftUp or GiftFly. If you’re considering other options, make sure that your business receives the fee for the gift card as soon as the customer purchases the card (otherwise that won’t help you during the crisis). Some services may also ask customers to pay an additional fee when they buy a gift card but be sure it’s a small amount.
How can I encourage customers to buy gift cards?
People are looking for ways they can support their favorite businesses, so don’t be afraid to let them know that gift cards will help. Reach out to your community on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and use your email list to get in touch with your customers. Ask them to consider buying a gift card for one month of spending to help you weather this storm and keep paying staff, so that you can continue offering great food/coffee/etc. for years to come.
What if I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ?
Please email us at info@saveMIfaves.org.