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Downtown Salisbury creates virtual scavenger hunt to prop up local business

SALISBURY — Since COVID-19 has shut down much of public life, employees with Downtown Salisbury Inc. began brainstorming ways to help downtown business.

Latoya Price, DSI’s marketing and events coordinator, said one idea was a virtual scavenger hunt with the goal of getting the businesses involved and driving traffic to them since salons, bars, restaurants and movie theaters have been ordered to close by Gov. Roy Cooper, .

“Being at home, you’re probably trying to figre out, ‘Oh what can I do?’ ” Price said.

Weekly scavenger hunts will have prize drawings, including  $50 to spend at Skinny Wheels Bike Shop as this week’s prize.

To participate, scavenger hunters just need to visit DSI’s website, fill out a form with a name and email address, then answer a handful of questions about the downtown area — things like downtown icons, where the farmers market is going and who has a COVID-19 promo.

Price said DSI wanted to do something different and make sure residents know that not all businesses are shut, such as restaurants that are offering food to go.

“As a business owner, you don’t want to shut down completely,” Price said. “You still want to provide for the community and your customers. So the questions now is, ‘OK, well what can I do? What do I need to implement in order to maintain and remain open?’ A lot of our businesses now are selling their items online, they’re doing Facebook Live or Instagram Live videos encouraging people to shop.”

DSI Executive Director Larissa Harper said the organization is a group of volunteers and downtown development staff from the city who always want to promote the businesses of the downtown area.

Harper said the pandemic is affecting the small businesses that make up most of the downtown economy, and DSI is trying to share positive ideas with business owners about how to cope with the situation.

She said DSI’s role is more important than ever.

“Downtown Salisbury has the duty to share educational opportunities with our downtown business owner, always,” Harper said.

Price said the response to the scavenger hunt has been good so far.

“We are still here,” Price said. “We’re still pushing, we’re still strong. The downtown businesses are coming together and working hard.”

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