L.B. Lightning Cyclery on East Genesee Street in downtown Auburn.

The Citizen file

The new year brings to the Auburn Downtown Business Improvement District a new incentive to increase sales at shops, restaurants, spas, salons, entertainment venues and more.

Downtown Auburn gift certificates will be available for purchase at the BID office and on our website, payable with cash or check, in any denomination and redeemable at any participating BID businesses within five years of purchase. The gift certificates are designed to promote local businesses and increase revenues for our downtown economy.

Gift certificate participants who are happy and eager to be part of this program include: ABC Cayuga's Play Space, A.T. Walley & Co., Auburn Document Centre, Auburn Public Theater, Elements Salon and Day Spa, Finger Lakes Art, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Finger Lakes Scuba, The Good Shepherds Brewing Co., Hairlooms, Hunter Dinerant, Jim Van Arsdale Guitar School, L.B. Lightning Cyclery, The Liberty Store, Lynch Furniture, Massage by Rachel, Mesa Grande Taqueria, Moondog's Lounge, Moro's Table, Parker's Grille & Tap House, Sam's Shoes, Seward House Museum, Silbert Optical, Subway, Swaby's Tavern, Thirsty Pug Craft Beer, Underground Cafe, Vape Kult and West & Co. Diamonds and Fine Jewelry.

If you would like to participate in this program, please contact the BID office no later than Jan. 31. We will be launching soon, and more details will follow to those interested in this new program.

A brief synopsis of how the program works is as follows:

• Certificates can be purchased in person at the BID office, or by credit card on the BID website. Values range from $25 to $500.

• Businesses must honor gift certificates for a five-year window from the issue. A list of participants will be printed on the backside for patron reference.

• Purchases are recorded on the back with the business, date and amount of transaction.

• At the end of each month, BID will reconcile with businesses where certificates were used and cut a reimbursement check for the amount spent.

• The last merchant to cash out the total value of the certificate will return it to the BID office.

Stay tuned for more information within the next few weeks and the actual launch date. Our anticipation is to have the gift certificates available just in time for Valentine's Day.

As we approach spring, the BID's Flower Power program is in full swing, with our annual fundraising and sponsorship drive to begin in March. New this year will be hanging baskets on Genesee Street, as well as State and Exchange streets. Newly self-watering flower pots will be added on Dill Street and Loop Road to complete the district.

As last year’s Flower Power program was a terrific success, this year’s downtown district and parks will be brighter and more beautiful than ever. Partnering with Dickman Farms and the city of Auburn has been a great success, and we look forward to what this year will bring for our community. We are very grateful for all your support in making our downtown look the absolute best it can be.

As Auburn continues to be a destination and the home of historic and cultural sites, fine arts, history, restaurants, retail and the soon-to-be Equal Rights Heritage Center, we must ensure that our city is aesthetically pleasing and welcoming for our community and visitors to enjoy.

On the horizon this spring will be the announcement of several businesses that will join our downtown family. We welcome all of you and look forward to announcing their grand openings in the very near future. So until next time, we hope you join us for First Friday on Feb. 2 and remember to shop, buy and dine at all our local restaurants and retail shops — and now the BID office — for your gift certificates. Your support ensures success for all.

Have a wonderful, successful and productive month!

Stephanie DeVito is the executive director of the Auburn Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). For more information, call (315) 252-7874, visit or visit the office, 128 Genesee St., Auburn.