One-day dollar sale set for fourth year to help St. Stephen businesses

(Andrew Sutton/Courier) Heather Donahue, of Downtown St. Stephen, and Tara Cleghorn, of the St. Stephen Chamber of Commerce hold Downtown St. Stephen Dollars.

ST. STEPHEN – Downtown St. Stephen Business Improvement Area Inc. is having a sale on downtown dollars.

Downtown St. Stephen’s Dollar Blowout Sale will take place on Nov. 17 this year.

Heather Donahue, with Downtown St. Stephen, said this is the fourth year for their one day only sale, which has brought in almost $30,000 in revenue to the town over the past three years.

“It’s been very successful and every year, it grows more and more,” she said. “That’s been injected back into the St. Stephen downtown economy, which is wonderful.”

Downtown St. Stephen (DSS) Dollars will be sold at a 10 per cent discount at a maximum of $200 per person, she explained, noting that the DSS Dollars are “universal gift certificates” that work like cash and can be redeemed at participating downtown boutiques, restaurants or services.

“The customer gets the discount, so, for example, if they purchase $200, they only pay me $180. We absorb that 10 per cent loss, the store gets full value for the dollar so they’re not taking a hit,” Donahue explained. “As of right now, we have, out in circulation, between selling the dollars, donating dollars, and giving the 10 per cent discount, it’s $29,745. With that being said, that’s $29,745 that could’ve been taken right out of St. Stephen. People could’ve purchased gift cards or gone to Saint John, or one of the larger communities. But this way, when people buy the dollars, they have to spend them in the downtown in the small businesses. Pretty much every one of my businesses have received dollars.”

The DSS Dollars are available year-round, with no expiry date, said Donahue.

“We have some businesses that will buy my Downtown Dollars and give them out to their employees at Christmas time or give them for thank-you gifts,” said Donahue. “Businesses will buy them and give them out to their customers as an appreciation. When I do the blowout sales is when I sell the most because it’s popular and I usually see the same people every year buying but I’m hoping this year there’ll even be more.”

Donahue said the Downtown Dollars allow the recipient to choose multiple establishments, not limited to only one.

“The recipient can choose. They might want to spend at a restaurant, and then they might want to go to one of our boutiques, or they may want to go to the pet store. They can spend that money throughout the downtown,” she noted. “So, it’s a win-win.”

Participants are asked to stop into the Downtown St. Stephen office at 123 Milltown Blvd., Suite 104 (in the ANR building), between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“If a store, or a restaurant, or a service receives Downtown Dollars, they give me a call, I flip it around, I give them actual cash, and I take the down dollars,” Donahue stated. “They don’t have to wait weeks or whatever. We flip the cash over to them as soon as possible so that they can make their deposit.”

Downtown St. Stephen represents independent businesses who support local families and local projects and help sustain the local economy by keeping profits in the community.

“Our BIA (Business Improvement Area) was created back in 1984 so it’s only the businesses in the geographical area,” said Donahue. “It runs down part of Milltown Boulevard to what’s known as High Tides. If you go out past High Tides, and that’s where the mall is and Tim Hortons is; that’s not considered the downtown.”

Donahue said the idea originated from other BIAs.

“Most uptowns or downtowns, they all have Downtown Dollars,” she noted. “A lot of the larger communities, they all do it. Our smaller BIAs don’t always have the Downtown Dollars, but I decided I was going to implement this back in 2019 and I’m very pleased with the success of it all.”

The businesses participating in the sale this year are Ames Law; Archambault, Neathway and Rideout; Bernie’s Body Blast; Bone Physiotherapy & Wellness; Bordertown Beauty Bar Salon and Spa St. Stephen; Boulevard Early Learning Centre; Briggs Plumbing Inc.; Candy Creations by Cathy; Charlotte Dial A Ride; Day Insurance; Element506 Made Local Boutique; Game Time Sports Bar; Ganong Chocolatier; Garcelon Civic Center; Get Bronzed Tanning Co.; Golden Chinese Restaurant; Harper’s Exotic Animals & Pet Supply; Haunted Hearts Studio; High Tides Music; High Tides Head Shop; L K Toombs CPA & Associates PC Inc.; Mary Dale’s Pet Services; McVay’s Barbering and Hairstyling; Miss D’s Convenience and Take-out; Perry’s Barbershop; Pita Pit – St. Stephen; Pizza Delight St. Stephen; Scoops; Simply For Life – St. Stephen; Something’s Brewing Café; Spree; St. Croix Army Surplus & Musical Instruments; St. Croix Vocational Centre Thrift Store Inc.; the Saint Croix Courier; St. Croix Printing & Publishing; The Chocolate Museum; The Co-Operators: Charlotte County, NB; Stuarts; Top Shelf Cabinets; The 5 Kings Restaurant & Picaroons Brewhouse; YUM-O Bakeshop; and 98.1 Charlotte FM.

“Every business, basically, in our downtown participates in the Downtown Dollars. It’s not just retail and restaurants,” Donahue said. “There’s services, too, that they can use the Downtown Dollars towards their bill.”

For more information, contact Donahue at 506-466-7407 or email

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.