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DUMBO BID, seeking return of workers, creates local currency as incentive

'DUMBO Dollars' redeemable at local stores

October 19, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The DUMBO Improvement District has launched a “Perks in Person” program for employees working in the neighborhood returning to the office this fall. The program is aimed at sparking local spending and creating an amenity for employers luring employees back to the office.

DUMBO is home to more than 500 tech and creative companies, including the headquarters of Etsy, Rent the Runway, West Elm, BIG Architecture (Bjarke Ingles Group) and dozens of digital advertising agencies, in addition to being the home for over 90+ retail small businesses. 

The neighborhood has fared well during the COVID crisis as a hub for New Yorkers and returning tourists. However, the slow return of the workforce has posed a significant challenge, as many small businesses rely on the employee base for daytime and after-work revenue streams.

In an effort to continue to encourage the return of DUMBO-based employees, on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m., members of DUMBO’s workforce can stop by the pedestrianized Washington Street in DUMBO (55 Washington St.) to get free ice cream sandwiches from Melt, plus $10 of “Dumbo Dollars,” redeemable at more than 20 neighborhood retailers and restaurants including: 68 Jay Street Bar, City Chemist (wellness and beauty), Emerald Gem Exchange (jewelry), Front Street Pizza, Glam Expressway (women’s clothing & accessories), Gran Eléctrica (Mexican restaurant), Le Chien Bleu (pet boutique), Loop of the Loom (Japanese Zen weaving dojo) and others.

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DUMBO’s Washington Street. Photo: Lore Croghan/BrooklynEagle

The DUMBO BID’s “Perks in Person” Program, launched on Sept. 15, offers free coffee and Dumbo Dollars distribution at Evil Twin Brewing, 43 Main St..

The program was born out of a Workforce Welcome Committee, composed of 10 volunteers from companies around the neighborhood. It has been generously supported by Small Planet Digital, a company that has been creating apps and games in DUMBO for more than a decade.

“We keep reading about all of the amenities companies are offering to lure their employees back to the office. DUMBO itself is an awesome amenity! Our creative vibe, waterfront location and indie retailers are what make this one of the most sought after locations for growing companies,” said Alexandria Sica, president of the DUMBO Improvement District. “These perks are about bringing the creatives back out together and reminding them of how amazing IRL office time can be when you get to come to DUMBO each day.”

“Small Planet is thrilled to be a part of the Perks in Person series! We’ve called Dumbo home for over a decade and it’s a great way to meet our business neighbors,” said Gavin Fraser, chief executive officer of Small Planet at 45 Main St. “I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the neighborhood buzz lately with more people returning to work, and I’m guessing the Perks events will continue to be a popular draw.”

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