Now running for its third year, it’s time again for ‘Passport to Christmas’.
On Nov. 1st, the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce launched the popular shop local program for the holiday season. Executive Director for the Chamber Monica Bartman said this year double the number of businesses are involved and the Chamber is expecting to hand out about 6,000 passports as opposed to the 3,800 or so that were handed out last year.
Bartman added that some businesses are already running low on passports and have asked to be supplied with more, so she will be busy making more copies.
“I see a lot more printing in my future, so that’s good.”
For those who are unfamiliar, the Lacombe Passport to Christmas program is a shop local incentive aimed at encouraging Lacombians to spend their money within the community during the holiday shopping season.
Passports can be picked up by shoppers at any of the 31 participating businesses in Lacombe and are stamped for every $10 spent at any of those businesses.
Once passports are filled, they can be entered into a draw for ‘Lacombe Bucks’, certificates which can be spent locally at any of the same participating businesses. Bartman said this year the Chamber has added two prizes for incomplete passports as well, in case shoppers have any uncompleted passports when the deadline hits.
The first prize is $1,000 in Lacombe Bucks, the second prize is $500 in Lacombe Bucks, the third prize is for $250 in Lacombe Bucks and the two final prizes for incomplete passports are $100 Lacombe Bucks each.
While there are now prizes for incomplete passports, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Lacombe shoppers to fill up their passports as there is a wide variety of different businesses participating in the program.
“We have everything,” said Bartman.
All four of Lacombe’s major grocery retailers are participating in the program so families can fill up their passports on grocery runs. Other specialty food stores are also partaking, so shoppers can get stamped for getting appetizers for a Christmas party and for outdoor décor like Christmas lighting, there are a few hardware stores involved. All that, and everything in between has a place on the Passport to Christmas, said Bartman.
“There is a great variety which I think adds a lot to the program because it has something to offer for every consumer.”
She added the Chamber is still working on gathering information to find out just how well the shop local is working at keeping Christmas shoppers in Lacombe, but the program has grown quite a bit in the last three years it has run in this format. She added that the program doesn’t just help keep shoppers’ dollars within Lacombe during the build up to Christmas it makes it easy for consumers to spend their money in the community after the holiday season with the Lacombe Bucks prizes.
This is something that is important to Bartman. “I think it’s really important for people who live in a community, wherever that community is, whether it’s Lacombe or elsewhere, to be committed to the area that they live, to the area that they call home.”
Passports for the Passport to Christmas program can be picked up at any participating retailer. For a full list of participating businesses, check the Chamber web site at www.lacombechamber.ca.
There are seven locations to drop off completed passports including Sunny 94, Fischer’s Pharmasave, Lacombe Storage Center, Nowco Home Hardware, Sobeys and Lionel’s No Frills and the Chamber office. The draws for the prizes will take place on Dec. 17th in conjunction with the Chamber’s ‘Business After Five’ event at the MNP office. Deadline for completed passports is Dec. 15th at 5 p.m.