By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
A car tag aimed at benefiting small businesses in Alabama could be produced if enough pre-commitments are made by the new deadline of Jan. 31, 2022.
The “Shop Small Support Local” tag must receive at least 250 pre-commitments for a scaled-down design, or 1,000 with full plate artwork, to go into production and be available at DMV locations across the state.
The original deadline for a minimum of 140 online pre-commitments was Oct. 31, 2021.
“We were surprised to not make the quota, but grateful that we now have a little more time to promote the car tag that would provide grant opportunities for Alabama small businesses,” Main Street Alabama President and State Coordinator Mary Helmer Wirth wrote in a press release.
Main Street Alabama’s tag program launched in August 2020 to increase support for small businesses.
Hoover City Councilman Casey Middlebrooks wrote in a previous release that the car tag idea came from a group of Jefferson County Councilors who regularly discuss impending issues.
Leaders saw the custom tag as a way to support local businesses after the pandemic hit in March 2020.
“We felt Main Street Alabama had the statewide presence and resources to facilitate support to small businesses throughout the state,” Middlebrooks wrote.
The cost of the tag is $50 and will be refunded, minus a $1.25 process fee, if the initiative falls through.
Proceeds from the pre-commitments and future tag purchases would allow business owners to apply for $500 match grants to supplement expenses for items such as new signage, awnings, website development and more.
“A $500 grant would help my business in many ways,” wrote Deana Pierce, owner and operator of Lunation in Enterprise. “If I win the grant I would like to clean up my building storefront. A good steam cleaning for the awning and lights on our business sign will make for an attractive entrance for my customers.”
Main Street Alabama currently needs another 100 pre-commitments for the tag.
When registering online, basic contact information is required, along with the automobile’s VIN or tag number.
The receipt will be used to pick up the license plate.
To learn more about purchasing the Shop Small Support Local tag, visit Main Street Alabama’s website, Mainstreetalabama.org.