New smartphone app to help businesses impacted by downtown streetcar construction

Customers earn points, could win prizes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Streetcar construction is in full swing in downtown Kansas City and businesses are starting to feel the impact.

The Downtown Business Council wants to entice you to fight the construction and eat and dine along the streetcar route.

They've designed a new smartphone app, launching in late July, to do just that.

The app is called “KC Streetcar - Open For Business.”

Here's how it works: You come into a bar or restaurant, check in and get points. If you buy something, you get more points. Then, if you visit while construction is a real mess in front of that business, you'll rack up bonus points.

The more points you get, the better your chances to win prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000.

Business owners say they're hopeful this will bring back customers.

Carl Markus is the general manager of The Polished Gem. He stood in an empty store Wednesday morning waiting for customers.

"You can see there is nobody out on the sidewalks right now and we just want them to know that we are here and we want to be here," he said. "So if they support us at this time during the construction, after the streetcar is complete, we will still be here."

Some businesses are also offering sales if you use the app. At The Polished Edge, they're offing 30 percent off select items, half price watch batteries and a free jewelry cleaning.

Mike Hurd heads up the Open for Business campaign for Kansas City's Downtown Council and said the app will be simple and fun.

"We want people to have fun with it," he said. “It's like 'Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?' Here are five good reasons to come downtown and take on the streetcar construction during this time, because it will be worth the effort.”

You can look for this app to roll out in late July.

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