Havre de Grace businesses offer discounts to furloughed APG employees

The City of Havre de Grace has developed a Furlough Friendly Community campaign for local businesses to offer discounts to area individuals and families affected by federal budget sequester furloughs.

According to a city news release, participating businesses will offer a 20 percent discount, Monday through Friday, to Aberdeen Proving Ground employees affected by the furloughs. Proper identification will be requested to take advantage of the offer.

The campaign is expected to get rolling either today (Friday) or by Monday at the latest, Brigitte Peters, the city's manager of marketing and tourism, said Wednesday.

The Furlough Friendly Community campaign is slated to run until the end of September and has been developed with the support of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, in partnership with Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce and Havre de Grace Main Street Inc.

"This campaign will have a dedicated distribution through APG personnel and reaches out to families impacted by the recent furloughs," the news release announcing the campaign notes. "There are over 11,500 people at APG affected by the recent furlough. For 11 weeks Havre de Grace's neighbors at APG, who reside and patronize our city, have lost more than 20 percent of their incomes due to sequester."

Peters said at least 15 businesses have signed up to participate and several more have expressed interest in the campaign.

"The biggest part of this is to call attention to who the people are who are being furloughed," she explained. "These are our neighbors. It's everyday people."

Peters says the impact of the federal furloughs hits both residents who work at APG and the businesses that depend on their patronage. "The end of the whip hits on the small businesses," she said.

Some participating businesses are taking campaign a step further by offering other opportunities that better suit their establishments, according to Peters. For example, she said, Creative Sanctuary will be offering 50 percent off all morning drop-in classes with military ID. The classes, which start at 9 a.m. on Monday and Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday, are 60 minutes long and typically cost $15, she said, after discount $7.50.

A logo and decal have been created to be posted on the doors of businesses that are participating in this campaign. The list of participating businesses will be posted on the hdgtourism.com website by the end of this week, Peters said.

"This is a great and much needed opportunity to reach out to all those individuals and families affected by the furlough and encourage them to continue to patronize our Havre de Grace businesses," Peters said.

"We have a positive relationship with the APG community and understand the challenges the furloughs have placed upon those who reside, work and play in Harford County," Mayor Wayne Dougherty said in the news release about the campaign.

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