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Loyal to Local shopping program kicks off Nov. 26 in Jamestown

Booklets will be available at participating businesses along with other places such as banks.

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Emily Bivens, executive director for Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, stands with some prizes for the upcoming Loyal to Local Holiday Passport program on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — Melissa Brass, owner of Handpick’d Boutique in Jamestown, is a strong supporter of shopping local. That’s one of the reasons why her business will again be taking part in the Loyal to Local Holiday Passport program.

“Local builds your community,” she said. “I tell that to people all the time, especially my friends.”

The Loyal to Local Holiday Passport program begins on Saturday, Nov. 26, said Emily Bivens, executive director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce . The program sponsored by the chamber launches on Small Business Saturday and runs through Jan. 6, she said.

“Our first year was really successful and so we wanted to offer it again,” Bivens said.

The Loyal to Local Holiday Passport program encourages people to shop locally and be eligible for prizes when they complete a booklet. Booklets will be available at participating businesses along with other places such as banks, Bivens said.

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“We will have a list on our website of all those places but when people are shopping the merchants should have booklets for them and so you can just get the booklet when you’re there and they can stamp it for you,” she said.

To participate, take a booklet to a participating business and get a stamp for purchases made up to $50. To have a completed booklet, $250 needs to be stamped, so people will have to visit at least five area businesses, Bivens said. They can visit more but a minimum of five will need to be visited to return the booklet.

Once a booklet is complete, the booklet should be brought to the chamber office or Zimmerman’s Furniture, where the prizes will be on display that will be given away in January, Bivens said. Those returning the booklet should make sure they’ve filled out the page with their contact information in order to be contacted if they win a prize.

Booklets will need to be returned by Jan. 9, and the drawings for prizes will be on Jan. 13.

“You can complete as many booklets as you want, it just ups your chances of winning prizes,” Bivens said.

There are 70 businesses participating this year, Bivens said, in at least one of three ways: as a merchant, advertiser or donating prizes. Among those participating this year is the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are a merchant this year for our Chamber Bucks,” she said.

Chamber Bucks do not expire and are good at more than 300 area businesses, she said.

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“I think people think of gift certificates, Chamber Bucks, they just think of retail or restaurants and stuff like that, but you can use them at dentist offices, gas stations, any of the businesses that are listed (on the brochure),” Bivens said. “You get a brochure when you get Chamber Bucks of all the businesses they are accepted at.”

Chantel Harr, co-owner of Junk in the Trunk, said the business will be taking part in the program for the first time this year.

“We just thought it would be a good way to get more people in the store and a lot of people still don’t know we have a store so it’s just another form of advertisement too,” she said.

Harr said she participated in Loyal to Local as a customer when the program launched in 2021.

“I know I had fun using it last year,” she said. “I filled up a book and turned it in. It’s just kind of a nice way too to keep the money local over the holidays.”

Most of the 65 businesses that participated last year in the Loyal to Local program are participating this year, Bivens said, and there will again be an estimated $10,000 in prizes. Participating businesses, which do not have to be chamber members, paid a fee that goes back into the program for prizes, she noted.

Larger prizes this year include a small chest freezer donated by Lifestyle Appliance & Entertainment Center and a $700 voucher for a travel package with Jamestown Travel.

The chamber focuses on people thinking locally and shopping local, Bivens said. The Loyal to Local program is about that.

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“It’s really to encourage people to think locally during the holiday season and to shop local,” Bivens said of the program. “I think one of the biggest things that we heard last year was ‘Oh, I didn’t know this store was here,’ or ‘I didn’t know these guys sold this product.’ So just getting folks to realize that Jamestown does have a lot to offer for holiday shopping and to keep our dollars local because we all know that the more we shop local the more dollars stay local and those dollars go to help all the things that we need and want ...”

Brass agreed. She said last year’s program gave her regular customers an added incentive to shop but it also drew people into Handpick’d Boutique who’d never visited the store that has been here for four years.

“It was very successful,” she said.

Last year, the program goal was to track at least $120,000 in spending, Bivens said. At the program’s conclusion, they tracked more than $125,000 in spending.

“So this year we’re hoping to track at least $130,000 and hopefully that will keep growing and growing,” she said. “We know more dollars are spent locally but it’s really fun to see – like last year, every single business that was in the booklet had some stamps from their place of business.”

Of the 2,000 booklets distributed, 500 were returned, and this year 4,000 will be available. Bivens expressed her appreciation to Forum Communications, which printed the booklets, and Zimmerman’s Furniture, which works closely with the chamber on the program.

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Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or ksteiner@jamestownsun.com.
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