‘Try Home First’ this Christmas season

Try shopping here in the Alberni Valley this holiday season and you could win big.

Try shopping here in the Alberni Valley this holiday season and you could win big. The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is launching Try Home First on Dec. 1 to encourage shoppers to check out the local shops before heading out of town to Christmas shop.

“We are asking shoppers to try our local stores first to find what they are looking for,” says chamber executive director Bill Collette. “If they can’t find what they want, then fine, head for Nanaimo, but give your local store owners an opportunity.”

To encourage shoppers to Try Home First, they are offering prizes of gift cards in December and into January.

Here’s how it works: you might be shopping in a local store when someone from the chamber walks up and offers to pay for $25 of your purchase right there at the cashier. That will happen every day from Dec. 1 to 24, randomly and without warning at participating businesses.

Then, come January, names will be drawn for larger prizes of gift certificates from participating businesses.

Based on last year’s participation by businesses, prizes could mount up to a $2,500 grand prize, with smaller prizes of $1,500, and $1,000.

To make the program happen, local retailers will be contributing $100 gift cards. For every $100 donated, the chamber will purchase a $25 gift card for the instant prizes.

Winners could be posted on Facebook and grand prize winners will be announced in local media.

Collette reminds shoppers that trying shops here at home first, supports the community.

“Our survey last year showed an enormous amount of money, goods and services are donated to this community to make it better for everyone,” says Collette. Shopping at home supports local sports, clubs, charities and events.

Many shoppers don’t realize that local businesses carry the same items as those in larger communities, or they can order them in. As well, many local shops carry unique items that can’t be found elsewhere.

Many shoppers believe shopping in a larger centre saves money, but Collette refutes that notion.

“Our local stores have to be competitive with larger markets and we believe that they are. In fact we also suggest that consumers may unknowingly be spending more by shopping externally due to the costs of travel etc. So, Try Home First,” says Collette.

For information, call the chamber at 250-724-6535.

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