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New app aims to increase Blacksburg businesses’ cash flow amidst pandemic

A new app is aiming to help those who may not be able to come to Blacksburg this fall to support the businesses they know and love.

Localyte — an app that allows people to buy gift cards to local businesses with the money going directly to the business — was created by a group of local software developers from the Roanoke and New River valleys in an effort to help local businesses mitigate the costs of losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those hit hardest by Virginia Tech football games not being open to the public.

The impact is estimated to be $80 million of missing economic activity in Blacksburg and the surrounding area, according to app spokesman Kyle Thompson. He said he received those figures from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, which Executive Director Sharon Scott said she based from a study the university previously conducted.

Many local restaurants have had to at least shut down temporarily if not close entirely since the pandemic started to hit the U.S. in March.

“We want alumni and people who come from out of the area to have the opportunity to help the businesses they know and love,” Thompson said Thursday afternoon. “That way when they can come back next year those places are still here.”s

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