Main Street Historic Chestertown Director Kay MacIntosh took on a mission to help downtown businesses endure the economic impacts of COVID-19, even before Gov. Larry Hogan had to close all of Maryland’s non-essential businesses by executive order on March 23.

On Sunday, March 22, Chestertown Main Street launched a new e-commerce portal to help maintain cash flow for businesses that have closed or scaled back to stay within the social distancing guidelines in Gov. Hogan’s order.

The “Buy Now, Enjoy Later” portal allows shoppers to purchase gift cards for use at a later time.

“Chestertown businesses need your support now so they can reopen later,” is the message that has caught on with local online shoppers who purchased $2,000 in gift certificates only hours after the launch on Sunday.

MacIntosh said 24 local businesses are already participating in the program, which absorbs processing and credit card fees and pays the merchants weekly.

She said the program was not able to help all of the businesses in Chestertown, but she pointed to a link near the bottom of the portal that connects online shoppers with businesses in and beyond Chestertown.

In this 6-minute interview below, MacIntosh explains the “Buy Now, Enjoy Later” initiative, as well as the immediate future of the Farmers’ Market and the Arts District.

Kay MacIntosh is the Executive Director of Main Street Historic Chestertown and Manager of Chestertown Arts & Entertainment District.