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IsleShopSmall program crashes website, but buying rescheduled to Wednesday

A widely anticipated program to boost local businesses crashed the websites anticipated to host it on Tuesday, but the time to buy gift certificates has been rescheduled to Wednesday.

The #IsleShopSmall program used CARES Act funding to give discounted gift certificates to local businesses. Tuesday was the designated day for people to log on from 3 to 8 p.m. at www.theisle.org and buy $40 gift certificates for $20.

However, the website malfunctioned due to the high demand, officials said.

“We have found out that Isle of Wight County, Smithfield and Windsor businesses are in high demand,” said Jessica Jones-Healey, president of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, in a Facebook video posted after 8 p.m. Tuesday. “Obviously, everybody wants a piece of the pie.”

She said thousands of people were trying to buy at the same time. The partnership of Smithfield and Isle of Wight County Tourism, Isle of Wight County Economic Development and The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce had worked with a third-party vendor who supplied the IT for the effort.

“We have been working with a third-party tech company to manage the e-commerce site,” an email update said. “This was not a chamber, tourism, economic development, county or town issue.”

The program worked like this: businesses signed up to participate, and people would have been able to buy gift certificates on Tuesday. The $40 gift certificates were available for $20. The business receives all $40 immediately, with the remainder being paid with CARES Act funding. The gift certificates could then be used beginning on Black Friday.

However, with Tuesday’s internet issues, the online buying opportunity will now take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Officials urged people to buy online, but people can come to the Smithfield Visitor Center if they do not have internet access.

Click here for more information about the program.