Now running for the fourth year, it’s that time of year again for Passport to Christmas.
On Nov.9th, the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce will be launching the popular shop local program for the holidays.
During a five-week period over the holiday shopping season, Lacombians are encouraged to spend their money within the community by filling out a ‘passport’ with a stamp placed for every $10 spent. Passports can then be dropped off at eight locations through out the City to be entered in draws for ‘Lacombe Bucks.’
Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Monica Bartman said this year the program has expanded and boasts many more participating businesses as well as more printed passports – 13,000 to be exact.
“It’s the fourth year and it kind of keeps growing every year,” she said. “I think as people hear about it, they get excited.”
With active community and business participation last year, a confirmed $750,000 was spent locally in the 2014 program. The program received back 2,585 completed passports last year. Each passport represents $300 spent at a participating business.
“It’s just a small portion of what is actually spent in our city and I think even if those are dollars that would have been spent here anyways, it’s nice to be able to show people a number and to say ‘This is what you are actually contributing to our local economy,’” said Bartman.
This year, passports can be picked up and stamped at 46 participating businesses in the community. The amount of available passports has also more than doubled. In 2014, just a mere 8,000 were given out.
Passport to Christmas Organizer Helen Peck said this year the Chamber has also increased the amount of prizes for filled out passports as well as incomplete passports, in case shoppers may have incomplete passports in their hands when the deadline hits.
First prize is $1,500 in Lacombe Bucks, second is $750 in Lacombe Bucks, third is for $500 in Lacombe Bucks followed by $250 in Lacombe Bucks for an incomplete passport.
With the wide variety of participating businesses this year, it shouldn’t be too hard for participants to fill out their passports. A larger variety of businesses are participating in the program, including all three of Lacombe’s major grocery retailers, specialty food stores, hardware stores, salons and pharmacies, to name a few.
Peck said the program also has many participants from out of town, with a reach further out of the community than many may think.
The program doesn’t just help keep shoppers dollars within the Lacombe area during the holiday shopping season, but it makes it easy for consumers to spend their money in the community after the holiday season with the Lacombe Bucks prizes.
Also new to the program this year, and to engage some social media mojo, is a hashtag that participants can use while they shop throughout the Passport to Christmas program. Participants are encouraged to post photos and tweet with #getstamped2015.
“They can take a picture of their purchases or maybe it’s a photo of themselves in the store. It’s just to create some buzz,” said Bartman.
The draws for the prizes will take place on Dec. 23rd on air on Sunny 94 between 11 a.m. to noon. Deadline for completed passports is Dec. 18th. at 5 p.m.