New Digital Gift Card Keeps it Local

Enjoying the sights, sounds and amenities of Downtown Fort Wayne just got easier, thanks to the Downtown Fort Wayne Gift Card.

“We’ve seen gift cards in other markets, and we’ve been studying them to determine if they’re a fit for the Downtown community,” says Preston Wallace, director of marketing for Downtown Fort Wayne. “We’ve partnered with Yiftee to create a one-stop shop for Downtown.”

Yiftee is a digital card platform that allows users to send or receive gift cards for a variety of merchants and businesses, all in one place. For Wallace, the program makes it easier for Fort Wayne Shoppers to shop locally.

“As a business improvement district, what we do is focus on supporting our property owners and local businesses,” says Wallace. “Right now, it’s never been more critical to find creative ways to support our small-business owners.”

The new community-based digital gift card takes the guesswork out of gift giving by offering recipients a choice of participating Downtown businesses.

“If you have, say, a $50 gift card, you don’t have to spend it all in one location,” says Wallace. “You can choose from any participating business.”

Participating in the program are retail outlets as well as bars and restaurants, entertainment attractions and services, giving consumers plenty of choice in how they spend those digital dollars.

“We’re starting to see it branch out,” says Wallace. “Anyone who can accept a payment for a service or a product can be a participating location.”

The gift card officially launched on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Since then, reception has been positive. To get the ball rolling, Downtown Fort Wayne invested $4,000 in gift card giveaways on Small Business Saturday. By the end of the year, the return was more than double that investment.

“Just shy of $9,000 was redeemed or purchased through Yiftee, which was great to see in such a short window of time,” says Wallace.

The Downtown Fort Wayne Gift Card can be used by consumers in a number of ways.

Large employers, for example, can use it for employee gifts, bonuses or corporate gifting.

“When you do that, you get bulk discounts as well,” Wallace points out.

The card itself is completely digital, giving carriers one less thing to carry in their wallet. It can be accessed using a smartphone. Customers who don’t wish to use their phone can print out the email they receive to present at time of purchase.

“The idea behind it is that it’s with you everywhere you go,” says Wallace. “It’s incredibly easy to use. It’s just like operating any normal credit card.”

As the Downtown Fort Wayne Gift Card enters its first official year, Wallace looks forward to customers and businesses alike taking part in the program. It makes a great gift, even if it’s for yourself.

“It’s a great incentive to continue supporting local retailers,” says Wallace. “It’s nice to be able to purchase from your preferred retailers and restaurants knowing that money goes right back into the local economy.”

To purchase a Downtown Fort Wayne Gift Card, head to