Americus business owner helps keep other local businesses thriving

The idea started during the COVID-19 pandemic when many local businesses were struggling.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 9:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Businesses have been thriving in Americus as they bounce back after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because one owner decided he wanted to put back into the community to keep the businesses up and running.

Chuck Smith, the owner of the Maze, decided to do more than just help himself, but others in the Americus community.

“When the pandemic hit, we were down for five weeks and after we came back up, our local restaurants were struggling to get on their feet. They were serving only pickup and delivery,” Smith said.

Smith came up with a way to help other businesses. If people ate at local Americus-based restaurants and keep their receipts, in exchange, they would get 20% off his furniture.

Pat Spann, the owner of Pat’s Place, has seen first-hand how it only takes one person in the community to create change. Pat’s Place is just one business that has benefited from this project.

“Chuck has been sending people our way for years and years, so I’ve always appreciated that. He is a real advocate for this city, and he is quite a spokesperson. I didn’t even know he was doing that until sometime after he started,” Spann said.

Smith told WALB that sales peaked at above 50% during the pandemic, but now they are steady and still collecting more receipts.

“Oh yes, it’s absolutely working. I walk into a lot of the restaurants and the owners tell me thank you. And that’s all I need for gratification, is that I know that they are still thriving and growing and that our community is growing. A lot of people in town have fun with it,” Smith said.

Smith is making sure other business owners get the support they need.

“As a whole, if we don’t support our community and appreciate it, nobody else is. So, I like to point out the good things we have, and local restaurants are one of them,” Smith said.

The idea started during the COVID-19 pandemic when many local businesses were struggling.

The owner’s next goal is to achieve 1,000 receipts to keep Americus growing. So far, they’ve got 843.

Smith said he is not done just yet and wants to find more creative ways to continue growing local businesses.

“I’m just anxious to see what we can do to continue to grow this community. We are very fortunate to have an intact downtown, we have people who love our community, and out-of-towners seem to receive our community well,” Smith said.

Spann described what the support from Snith and the community means to him.

“Flattered to hear that people have been to us and have had a good experience and then come back. And it’s always flattering to me to hear from these people who are out of town or visiting relatives,” Spann said.

Hunting is very popular here in Southwest Georgia, which adds to the foot traffic of people supporting local businesses.

“We have a lot of hunters that come up to this area to hunt, and they have made a regular thing of coming down to see us, and that is because of what Chuck did,” Spann said.

Smith said that he will continue to monitor the receipts and continue eating out so that he can help as many local restaurants as possible.