The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting their Passport to Christmas program, which encourages Lacombe residents to do their holiday shopping locally.
This year, the seventh year of the program, shows a upward trajectory for the program.
“We’re pleased to have 77 participating businesses, 6 of which are in Bentley,” Helen Peck, organizer of the program, said.
For every $10 spent at each business, she shopper receives a stamp — of which they need 30 stamps to fully complete a passport. Completed passports can then be handed in to participating businesses for a chance at prizes.
“The prizes for Passport to Christmas are in the form of ‘Lacombe Bucks’ which a local currency that winners use at the participating businesses,” Peck said.
First place earns $1500, second place is earns $750, and third place is $500 and there is a prize for a partial passport for $250.
The program has not only grown in vendors, but also in monies spent in Lacombe.
“In 2017 the program tracked $2,928,600 within a six-week period with over 15,000 distributed and 9726 collected,” Peck said. “The first year that we counted each passport was in 2014 when we tracked $775,000 from 2585 returned passports.
“That’s a pretty incredible increase.”
Peck said the point of the program is to show how shopping local is key to a strong Lacombe economy.
“When we shop and do business within our community – it makes an impact,” she said. “To be able to communicate to participants that we tracked nearly $3 million in a six-week period last year, that number is impressive.
“We hope that people recognize their shopping dollars do make a difference to our local businesses. If we can keep those dollars circulating locally, our businesses and our community benefit.”
Peck added, “We look forward to collecting a record number of passports and being able to announce a number well over the 3 million dollar mark at the end of this year’s program.”
The program started on Nov. 13th and will run until Dec. 24th.