Single Moms Discount Card Supports Women and Local Businesses
Like many people, Mindi Englart spent a lot more time at home during the pandemic. Instead of binge-watching the latest streaming series, Englart used that time to finally put one of her longtime dreams into motion.
This past April, Englart launched the Single Mothers Discount Card (SMDCard), which “was developed to support a subpopulation of society that is not at the height of its economic earning potential. The SMDCard is also like the AAA card because it gives membership discounts to participating businesses. Members join for free and receive discounts offered by participating businesses. Participating businesses profit by drawing in more new and repeat business,” according to singlemothersdiscountcard.com.
Englart has been slowly forming the idea over the past 20 years. She was first inspired by her students—Englart has taught creative writing at Co-Op High School in New Haven for the past 20 years—and then she became a single mom 15 years ago.
“The students were writing stories, poems, and memoirs about life and a common theme was how many were being raised by single mothers,” said Englart. “I realized it’s a big problem that people aren’t doing anything about. Single moms can feel so alone in a bubble trying to survive. Some are financially okay, but some are not. Some have family support but some do not. I wish people would understand and reach out with concrete help.”
Over the past several months, Englart has partnered with more than 50 business that will offer discounts to those showing their SMDCard. There are businesses throughout New Haven County and beyond offering a variety of services and items, such as gift shops, tutors, cafés and restaurants, salons, fitness, personal wellness services, auto body repair, and home services.
Though Englart’s original goal was to help single moms, she has found that she is also enjoying supporting the local business community as well. All of the businesses that have signed on to the program so far are small businesses.
“I want big businesses to get involved, too, but what I created is really helping entrepreneurs and the small businesses were hit hard with the pandemic, so I really want to help,” said Englart. “We have a bunch of participating businesses in New Haven and about half are online so people from anywhere can shop with them. I want it to be very helpful to the moms and include businesses that offer food and childcare and I’m working on growing the list. A lot of businesses that have signed on are single moms, were raised by single moms, or have single moms in family and feel close to the cause.”
The first East Haven business to sign on was Goody’s Hardware, which offers a 10 percent discount to cardholders. Rob Katz and his family own Goody’s, which is located at 540 Main Street
“It’s a wonderful thing to help people out,” said Katz. “We are a small family business and we like to help people in the community.”
The first North Haven business to sign on was Blur Barbershop run by Angelo Graziano. As a father to a one-year-old, when he saw a post about the SMDCard on Facebook, the idea struck home. There is a $5 discount for cardholders at Blur, which is located at 276 State Street.
“While she is nothing but a blessing to my partner and I, having a child does not come without its struggles and I could not imagine the strength it would take to do it by yourself, and for that reason, my heart goes out to those who wake up every day and know that everything falls on them,” said Graziano. “Being a barber has shown me the importance of being a part of the community. As a group of individuals who service the community every day, we wanted to take it a step further. At the end of the day, we are nothing without our community and we want the community to know that we are here for them as much as they are here for us week in and week out.”
Businesses can partner with the SMDCard for free and will be listed on the website. Businesses can also opt for the $150 annual membership ($75 if the business is owned by a single mom), which includes advertising through the newsletter and social media as well as the podcast, which is set to begin in early 2022. Paid members also have the option to host workshops.
The monthly workshop that was held in December was about mental health and the holidays. The January seminar will focus on finances. The free workshops are presented via Zoom to cardholders.
“It’s another way to connect with each other,” said Englart. “The information is good for moms and our business partners get exposures. Next month will be Finances 101. Just want to help moms not feel so alone.”
There are already more than 350 women signed up for the SMDCard. While there are many from East Haven and North Haven, Englart has had signups not only from throughout America, but all over the world, including Puerto Rico, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, and South Africa.
“Though I’m starting hyperlocal with the New Haven area, the idea is that there are single moms all over the world and there are other countries where women have it worse so this can take off wherever it’s needed,” said Englart. “I’m trying to get the word out to as many moms and businesses as I can so we can really grow this idea. I want it to be as common as student or senior discount—that’s my ultimate goal.”