This Valentine’s Day, love is not the only thing blooming in New Haven — downtown businesses are expected to see more action with the help of a retail promotion called, “C’mon, Love a Little.”

Now in its second year, “C’mon, Love a Little” gives shoppers an extra incentive to shop downtown for Valentine’s Day. With a title that plays off New Haven’s motto, “C’mon, Live a Little,” the promotion invites anyone who spends $250 or more between Feb. 1 and Feb. 16 to redeem their receipts for a pair of free tickets to local theater performances.

Shoppers can patronize any downtown merchants. Participating theaters include the Shubert Theater, the Yale Repertory Theatre, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Long Wharf Theatre. Participants automatically qualify for a chance to win a “Night on the (Down) Town,” including a limousine ride and dinner for two at Scoozi Trattoria and Wine Bar.

Last year, the promotion was surprisingly successful, said Scott Healy ’96, executive director of the Town Green Special Services District. One hundred sixty people redeemed their receipts, which totaled nearly $68,000, and the program gave out 200 pairs of tickets.

“This promotion says thank you to our loyal downtown customers, welcome to our new customers, and gives them all a reason to make a return visit,” Healy said in a press release.

Store owners also applauded the success of the program. Seychelles owner Chip Croft described the promotion as one of New Haven’s most successful.

Croft said the program encourages immediate spending and helps customers feel better about their purchases. He also said New Haven’s theater district is one of the main beneficiaries of the promotion — with new faces in their audiences, theaters are likely to attract new patrons.

Peter Indorf, owner of Peter Indorf Jewelers on Chapel Street, also said he approved of the promotion.

“We tell our customers about it,” Indorf said, adding that jewelry stores are particularly good places to patronize for this program because customers easily spend over $250 on their purchases.

Healy said the promotion is more than a campaign for increased shopping.

“We don’t need gimmicks to attract shoppers,” he said. “The promotion is a way to reinforce what people are already starting to recognize about downtown New Haven.”

Healy said the fair amount of spending this holiday season and the decrease in store vacancies are signs of commercial growth. The promotion’s success indicates encouraging long-term developments in the downtown commercial area, he said, and is simply “bucking the trend.”

This year’s receipts already suggest a participation level similar to last year’s.