Passport to Christmas gives back to local economy

With an emphasis on shopping local, the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce program Passport to Christmas

With an emphasis on shopping local, the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce program Passport to Christmas has successfully wrapped up another year.

During the six-week period over the holiday shopping season, Lacombians were encouraged to spend their money within the community by filling out a ‘passport’ with a stamp placed for every $10 spent. Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Monica Bartman said with the active community and business participation, a confirmed $750,000 was spent locally.

In its third year, the program received back 2,585 completed passports. Each passport represents $300 spent at a participating business.

The program has more than doubled its number of passports distributed in the Lacombe area this year with approximately 8,000 given out. In 2013, just a mere 3,800 passports were handed out.

For those unfamiliar with the initiative, the program is a shop local incentive with the aim of encouraging consumers to spend their money within the community during the holiday season. Passports could be picked up by shoppers at any of the 31 participating businesses in the area.

Once passports were filled up, they were entered into a draw for ‘Lacombe Bucks’ certificates, which could be spent at any of the same participating businesses.

This year, a larger variety of businesses participated, including all three of Lacombe’s major grocery retailers, specialty food stores, hardware stores, salons and pharmacies, to name a few. “We really had a little bit of everything,” she said. “That definitely added to the success of the program; giving people a variety of businesses to go to.”

Even though the program wrapped up mid-December, Bartman said there are around 5,000 passports still floating around, which means there is the possibility many more dollars may have been spent locally.

“I’m fairly confident we generated over $1 million dollars,” she said. “The potential of the program is huge.”

Bartman said she hopes they can continue with the momentum that has been started over the past three years.

“We want to show the community that supporting local has value and their purchases made here in Lacombe do have an impact.”

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