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 five 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 $1,300,200 was spent locally.
“We were really excited to see the number grow as the program grows,” she said.
Now in its fourth year, the program received around 4,334 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. In 2014, just a mere 8,000 passports were handed out.
For those unfamiliar with the initiative, the Passport to Christmas program is a shop local incentive with the aim of encouraging consumers in the local area to spend their money within the community during the holiday season. Passports could be picked up by shoppers at any of the 46 participating businesses in the area.
Once passports were filled up, they were entered into a draw for ‘Lacombe Bucks’ gift certificates, which could be spent locally at any of the same participating businesses.
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.
This year, a larger variety of businesses participated in the program, including all three of Lacombe’s major grocery retailers, specialty food stores, hardware stores, salons and pharmacies, to name a few. The program also added many participants from out of town, with a reach further out of the community than many may think.
The chamber also increased the amount of prizes for filled out passports as well as incomplete passports, in case shoppers still had incomplete passports in their hands when the deadline hit.
The winners of the Sunny 94 and Lacombe Chamber Passport to Christmas for 2015 were: Michele Cade, $250 Lacombe Bucks - partial passport; Cheryl Geldof, $500 Lacombe Bucks prize; Melissa Rogers, $750 Lacombe Bucks prize and Terry Flewelling, $1,500 Lacombe Bucks prize.
Even though the program wrapped up mid-December, Bartman said there could be still some incomplete passports floating around, which means there is the possibility that many more dollars may have been spent locally.
Bartman said she hopes they can continue with the momentum that has been started over the past four years.
“We want to encourage more participation and continue to grow it with more involved businesses,” she said.