Several lucky shoppers filling their Christmas lists at local stores have been surprised with gifts of their own this month, courtesy of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber manager Bill Collette has been gifting shoppers with special $100 certificates offered by one of 43 merchants in the Alberni Valley. In all, 48 certificates will be handed out before Christmas.
It’s a reward-based way of getting the “shop local” message out, Collette said. It’s different than simply telling people to stay at home and support local businesses this holiday season.
“The idea behind this is we’re not telling anyone to shop local. We’re just going to reward 48 people who do,” he said.
So someone could be shopping at West Coast Home Hardware and receive a $100 gift certificate to an automotive shop. Or walk into Char’s Landing and walk away with a $100 certificate to a retail store uptown.
“It will make sure the ‘pay it forward’ part will be from a business in another part of town,” Collette said.
Social media will ideally help both businesses with such exposure, Collette added.
This is the second year for the chamber’s “shop local” program, albeit different than last year’s inaugural campaign.
“It’s a great program,” said Sarah Jones of Walk the Coast, who designed the poster for the campaign.
“There is an incredible shopping experience here. I think if we can reward people and give them more reason to be here, that’s an exceptional program.”
The chamber’s 24 Days of Christmas ends Christmas Eve.