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Hot Times Demand Cool Discounts: The Summer In The City Card is BACK!

by Jenn Hopkins

If you are native to Tucson, or at least consider it your home, you will have noticed two things during the rollover from May to June. One, the temperature is swiftly warming up—heading towards muy caliente; and two, the streets are less crowded, now that the students and snowbirds have fled the coop for the hot season.

Summers can be tough here in the Old Pueblo. The average Tucsonan tends to deal with this by staying inside, avoiding the situation entirely (at least during the day). However, this creates another problem. During the summer months, many local business experience a dip in sales.

To that end, the Summer in the City program debuted in 2014 with an unprecedented 110 business owners joining together across four districts to offer a savings card for five dollars that more than pays for itself. This year, the number of participating merchants has blossomed to 140, spread out over seven districts. The cost of the card remains only five dollars.

“Rio Nuevo, Visit Tucson, Local First Arizona, as well as the districts themselves, have all partnered together to get the cards distributed and into circulation. This started out in just Downtown Tucson, then Fourth Avenue wanted to participate, then Main Gate did as well so we brought them in. The first year we ordered 25,000 Summer in the City cards and it wasn’t enough. Now we’re up to 50,000 out for distribution,” says John Jacobs, pioneer of the Summer in the City program and founder of “It’s tough in the summer. This program was designed expressly to address that drop in business.”

How does it work? Each participating merchant pays a fee to be involved in the program, and fifty cards come with that payment. Additional cards cost the merchant ninety-seven cents each which they then turn around and sell for five dollars. Every participating merchant has a special offer available to card holders.

This puts a little extra money into their register and keeps a little more of it in your pocket book all while stimulating the local economy. The remaining ninety-seven cents goes back into the advertising campaign, making this a “for the love of it” endeavor. Everyone, including Jacobs, is a volunteer.

The Summer in the City program runs June, July, and August and the card is usable an unlimited amount of times. Discounts range from 10% - 50% off, while some business owners offer free items altogether. Returning contributors The Hub and The Screening Room are found on the list, as well as newcomers Elvira and local favorite Lindy’s on 4th.

Stuck in summer school? Refuel and take a break at Pink Berry, On Deck Deli or IQ Fresh, all located inside the Student Union. Feeling edgier? Sacred Art Tattoo and Razorz Edge can be found along the 4th Avenue route. The seven participating districts are: 4th Ave, Main Gate Square, Downtown Tucson, Mercado San Augustin, Sunshine Mile, U of A, and Nob Hill.

By visiting the website you can choose a district and see what amazing offers the merchants there have available. Their website is mobile-friendly for those on the go, and many participating merchants can be found right along the streetcar line.

As summer settles in and temperatures rise, don’t let the heat hold you hostage! Remember, you’re not chained to your home for air conditioning. The streetcar has A/C, and so do the participants of this year’s Summer in the City program. There is more to do than ever in Tucson this year, so spend a little time with your friends and explore the districts!

You can purchase your savings card at any of the participating vendors or online. For a comprehensive list of businesses and savings offers please visit