A downtown business program that started in Modesto and pays customers for shopping local has been expanded to include all cities in Stanislaus County.

The RAD Card, or, “Relief Across Downtown” Card, is a digital gift card created by the Downtown Modesto Partnership this summer. It was originally focused on aiding downtown Modesto businesses but with the commitment of one million dollars from Stanislaus County CARES Act, the RAD Card program will now expand to downtowns in all cities and unincorporated communities countywide.

When a customer downloads the RAD Card app, their purchase amount of either $25, $50, $75 or $100 is automatically matched, doubling the funds in the customer’s RAD Card account. The customer’s app is then assigned a unique QR code that can be scanned by participating restaurants, retailers and personal care services when a transaction occurs.

This is a completely contact-free, mobile experience to be used from a smart phone. Providing a contactless process was an important feature when creating this program, due to the sensitivity of consumers during these times.

“Downtowns rely on human exchange, pedestrians on sidewalks and a strong sense of place, all things that were impacted by shelter-at-home orders and the metered reopening of the economy,” said Josh Bridegroom, President/CEO of the Downtown Modesto Partnership.

“The new countywide downtown gift card program will help demonstrate solidarity and further efforts to highlight downtowns as city centers, the only neighborhoods that belong to everyone in the city, no matter where they live,” continued Bridegroom, “and given that many consumers’ pocketbooks have been adversely affected by the economic downturn, a great value has never been more important in enticing downtown patronage.”

After County Board of Supervisors learned about the downtown Modesto RAD Card program and how it had sold out in less than three weeks, they voted unanimously to work with Downtown Modesto Partnership to quickly deploy aid through the platform countywide.

“This innovative solution to the economic woes felt in our central cities is an excellent use of CARES Act funds,” said Raul Mendez, Assistant Executive Officer and project lead for the County. “We see this as a great opportunity to give county residents the incentive to spend in a way that will help businesses with their bottom line just in time for the holidays.”

Downtown Turlock business owner Mariah Williams of Flawless Studio of Beauty said her clients are already taking advantage of the program.

“I had one client who not only spent more, but tipped more and bought products,” said Williams.

“I love it. I think it’s amazing. I think my clients are more willing to spend more money with me,” she continued.

To visit the RAD Card website, go to theradcard.com.