By TIM KELLY
Longtime Ocean City business partners Tyrone Rolls and Jill Adamson’s newest venture looks like a winner – on several different levels.
The duo’s Key to the Community discount card is promising as a value for customers, as a supporter of other local businesses, as a booster of the community, and as a fundraiser for numerous charities.
“Ocean City and the community have given us so much,” Adamson said. “We feel an obligation to give back.”
The concept: people may visit the new website at www.keytothecommunity.com to purchase the card, which can be used for discounts at dozens of restaurants, shops and purveyors of products and services in the greater Ocean City area and beyond.
The card, which costs $25 and is good immediately through August of 2021, pays for itself with just a few uses. It helps out the charity of the customer’s choice right away, with $5 of the card’s price paid forward to help the selected designee.
Upon purchase, the cardholder is taken to a menu of both local and national charities to choose from. Once on the website, the logos of the participating businesses are displayed with the specific discount for each.
Buyers of the card online can choose to have them shipped out for free, or arrange for local pickup.
“Our motto is, ‘Shop local, give back, save big!'” said Adamson.
The partners, both from Ocean City, are also co-owners of RA Development Academy, a local youth sports, coaching and training venture. They are heavily invested in the town and surrounding area.
They’re well-known locally in their “day jobs.” Rolls is a sergeant with the Ocean City Police Department and Adamson is a frontline healthcare worker as a speech-language pathologist.
In addition, the pair are quite visible in youth sports programs and endeavors. In those roles, they have built ongoing relationships with countless young players and their families over the years.
“We are fortunate to be able to draw on that,” Rolls said of their local celebrity, modestly leaving out that their reputations are the result of years of hard work and friend-building.
The Key to Community card is just that: a small piece of plastic that enables the holder to discover and experience area businesses they might not have otherwise been exposed to and with a discount.
“The business wins by introducing itself to new customers, who win by getting a good deal, which is a win for the business community and for the charity of choice,” said Adamson.
Rolls said that while the early emphasis is on building the business and establishing its local start, the goal is to expand into other shore towns like Sea Isle City, Avalon, Ventnor and Atlantic City, “but also outside of New Jersey into places where our visitors come from, such as Philly, New York, North Jersey and beyond. Because the card is good until next August, the customer will enjoy its benefits over two summer seasons.”
As with their sports academy, Rolls said he and Adamson will use a portion of the card’s proceeds to provide scholarship opportunities for deserving students.
The card and website are user-friendly, and the businesses where the card is accepted cover a wide range. Retail, restaurants, entertainment and products and services are represented.
Each participating business has a link to its website and access to menus, product descriptions and the like.
Adamson and Rolls are also working on partnerships with area real estate companies to include the card in the gift baskets they hand out to vacation rental customers.
“It’s a nice gesture by the real estate company to its customers, good advertising for businesses that might not be well-known to the renter, and an opportunity for the cardholder to help support and grow the local business community,” Adamson said.
The card also makes a thoughtful gift for any other present-giving occasion, she noted.
So what’s next for the Key to the Community discount card?
“Now that we’re out there (with a successful launch) we’ll be using social media to promote the concept to give our businesses a well-deserved boost in exposure and advertising,” said Adamson.
She mentioned that Facebook users can find the card by searching “Key to the Community” and Instagram users should search @keytothecommunity.
“We’re not only a Key to the Community, we’re a part of it,” said Adamson.
Businesses wishing to join as a participant, or anyone seeking additional information should contact Jill Adamson at email@example.com or 609-214-2380.