NORFOLK, Va. — “Shop local” campaigns are nothing new – small businesses have had to compete with the big retailers for decades, and here in Hampton Roads it’s no exception.
But a locally powered phone app is connecting consumers to small businesses better than ever before.
It’s called LOVEVA, pronounced love-vah, and while it’s been around a couple of years, it’s now gaining more users thanks to a pretty simple concept.
If you shop or eat a local store or restaurant connected to the app you earn a heart.
When you earn enough hearts, you get deals and discounts in return.
While it sounds like your typical rewards-based program, it’s not.
You can redeem those hearts at any local business in the app, regardless of where you earned the heart.
That includes places that aren’t even in the same city.
The app was created by the non-profit group Retail Alliance out of Norfolk, and hundreds of businesses all over the region are participating.
Instead of trying to compete against the big retailers one on one, small businesses have all banded together to create an entire network of incentivized local shopping.