Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cool cash: Detroit Community Scrip aims to keep money in the city

It isn't Monopoly money. And it isn't a clever little keepsake. It's called Detroit Community Scrip (sometimes known as Detroit Cheers) and it spends like real cash, provided you're in the right bar or restaurant.

Detroit Community Scrip is real currency, backed by a handful of Detroit bars who were looking for a way to ensure money stayed in the city. It's much like a gift certificate, but it's accepted at a  growing list of places in Detroit. If, for instance, your tab at the Grand Trunk Pub comes to $16, just fork over six of the Detroit Community Scrip $3 bills. You'll get change in U.S. currency.

You can exchange it for U.S. currency any time at the Grand Trunk, Park Bar or Motor City Brewing Works out in Midtown. And you can buy Detroit Scrip with U.S. currency, dollar for dollar. The benefit to the bars, restaurants and other retailers who deal in Scrip is that it ensures the  money will be spent somewhere in the network of Detroit businesses who recognize it.

So what's the benefit to you, the person spending it? I asked that to the bartender earlier today after I handed over a few $3 bills to cover my lunch. She seemed pretty happy to see me using the bills. "If you ever come down to a bar, maybe before a game when the places are packed, just show your Detroit Scrip. You'll get served before everyone if they know you have that."

Cheers to that!

Aside from the three backing establishments, other places currently accepting Scrip are Cliff Bell's next to the Park Bar, the Woodbridge Pub, Supino's Pizza, and Union Street, as well as retailers such as Wheelhouse Detroit, Canine to Five Detroit Dog Day Care, and Dormouse Design, among others.