The Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce has launched a new program designed to keep shopping dollars in the Lakes District.
The local gift certificate program allows companies, organizations and individual consumers to purchase gift certificates from the chamber of commerce and redeem them at 25 participating local retailers and service businesses.
The program was officially launched on Nov. 6, 2015, and now the chamber expects the number of participating businesses to grow.
Given the success of the program in neighbouring communities such as Houston and Vanderhoof, the chamber expects the gift certificate to become a standard program in the Lakes District. The chamber has committed to running the program until the end of 2016 at a minimum.
“It’s not the only tool in the ‘shop local toolkit,’ but it’s a mighty one and we encourage maximum participation,” said Susan Schienbein, Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre Manager.
Unlike the purchase of some gift cards that can be used at multiple locations, the local gift certificate will have no fee for the purchaser.
The chamber suggests the certificates can be used as seasonal bonuses, safety awards, employee recognition, or for birthday or anniversary celebrations. They can also be used as donation for community events and fundraisers.
Gift certificates can be purchased from the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce in denominations of $10, $25, $50 and $100. The chamber will also entertain special orders of different amounts.
Participating businesses pay an annual administration fee – that covers the cost of printing and administration – to the chamber of commerce.
Businesses that redeem the coupons can bring them into the chamber twice a month and the chamber writes the business a cheque for the total redemption. The chamber charges less than one per cent as a handling fee.
“Very minimal when you consider what the fees for Visa, MasterCard or debit purchases cost a business, or the service fees on some gift cards,” says the chamber.
In addition, if a business would like to order a number of certificates in bulk, the chamber will, at no charge, incorporate the business logo on the certificate.
The chamber decided to launch the local gift certificate program after a survey conducted earlier this year with its members. The survey showed that chamber members considered “enticing local shoppers” a number one priority.
“We really need to change the pattern of driving to another community to purchase our goods; rather, let’s see what we can buy in this community,” said Schienbein.
“Some will say that we don’t have enough retail stores and they are right, we could use some more,” she added. “But investors who might be thinking about setting up shops in Burns Lake will talk to the local business community; if our current businesses are concerned about residents not shopping locally, that has a negative spin-off for potential investors.”
“Every Lakes District local gift certificate that is purchased boosts our local economy.”
To check the list of participating businesses, visit the chamber’s website at burnslakechamber.com