Limits on indoor capacity end today — here’s how one South Jersey town is trying to lure consumers back

Haddonfield will give shoppers 20% rebate on all purchases through Thursday

Perhaps lost in the discussion over the state’s continued mandate to wear a face covering indoors is this: Starting Wednesday, there no longer will be indoor capacity restrictions, which could lead to a dramatic increase in business.

Daniella Spera, the owner of Meraki Market in Haddonfield, sure hopes so.

Meraki Market, which sells plants, crystals and home goods, is ready to handle larger crowds, Spera said.

“I think it’s going to make a really big difference, especially for a lot of the smaller stores,” she said. “It will allow people to come and go freely — and, hopefully, it will make people feel a little more comfortable doing so. I think it’s going to make a big difference.”

The town isn’t taking any chances.

Susan Hodges, the chair of the Partnership for Haddonfield, the management corporation for Haddonfield’s business improvement district, said the town is offering shoppers a rebate on in-person sales.

Through Thursday, the town will give shoppers a 20% rebate on all their purchases — with a limit of $100 being returned. Hodges said she hopes the discount will spur business.

“We are thrilled to see our independently owned businesses now being able to operate and serve the public fully, without capacity restrictions,” she said. “We look forward to seeing everyone as the weather warms up in the downtown.”

Here’s how the program works: Customers who shop or dine in the downtown and email a copy of their original dated receipts to the Information Center at Haddonfield will get their 20% back (again, up to $100) in the form of a Haddonfield gift certificate mailed to their homes.

The certificates can be used through the end of June.

Hodges said the rebate program is a way to give thanks to all who have shown support to the businesses by shopping in-store and online throughout the pandemic.

Of course, the Partnership for Haddonfield also hopes it will spur more sales.

Spera, who started the store with her daughter, Madison Ramirez, in October 2018, hopes so, too.

Of course, she considers herself lucky: When the pandemic pushed people inside, more of them wanted house plants. She admits Meraki Market hasn’t been hurt as much as other establishments.

“Our plant sales didn’t ever seem to slow down,” she said. “We were off a little, but we were able to maintain our business throughout the shutdown because we did local delivery.

“Plants were all people were buying, because everybody wanted to brighten up their homes.”

She also feels lucky to be in Haddonfield. The Partnership, she said, makes a difference.

“I think they do a tremendous amount to help us out,” she said. “They are really great about organizing different events to bring people to the town. And, now that the restrictions are lifting and we can kind of get back to some of those events, I think it’s going to help all of the businesses recuperate and build their businesses back up.

“The Partnership really has shown concern with the businesses down here and the community has really shown support. It is amazing being in the in the Haddonfield area, how much they do for their downtown area.”

Sometimes that means rebating 20% of the bill.