Philly-based festival organizer finds new way to keep vendors, businesses afloat

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When Mayor Jim Kenney announced that gatherings of 250 people or more were canceled in Philadelphia at least through early next year, that news hit a lot of people and organizations hard. 

For Philadelphia-based, which plans many of those large festivals you’ve likely been to throughout the region over the years, the news was extra disheartening. 

But lucky for them, before this decision was made, they had already changed the focus of their company to adjust to the the current times, knowing large events weren’t happening for awhile. 

“The idea was why not connect our brands, our sponsors, these vendors with these restaurants and have them set up in front of the restaurant like it is a festival?”

The vendor still gets to set up their booth or table and promote their product to whoever is walking by. 

“We told them, ‘Hey, you guys need to start thinking about America 2.0. You need to start thinking about how you’re going to position you’re brand once America is back open for business,’” Sheehan said. 

And as a thank you to the restaurants who are letting these vendors use their space, they buy gift cards from the restaurant and hand those out. 

“So for (the restaurant) it’s a huge win,” added Sheehan. “There’s guaranteed revenue, additional marketing, new traffic through the front door, so all these things are a huge benefit to the restaurants right now.”

When KYW Newsradio asked Sheehan if the G.I.F.T. Program was basically a dating service for vendors and restaurants, he laughed and said, “You’re absolutely right.” 

The program was started in Philadelphia, but isn’t just for local businesses anymore. It is currently being run nationally. 

And it’s not just for restaurants anymore either. Hardware stores, gyms and other businesses are able to bring in the vendors in exchange for the immediate revenue that comes from gift card purchases. 

Anybody on either side who wants to be a part of the G.I.F.T. Program can learn more and find contact information here.