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    (THOMAS WALLNER | THE GRAHAM LEADER) The Graham Chamber of Commerce and Graham Economic Development Corporation Holiday Shopping Spree ended last Friday, with local businesses participating in the program having over $380,000 in sales.

Holiday Shopping Spree makes local impact

Over $380,000 spent at local businesses through campaign

The Graham Chamber of Commerce and Graham Economic Development Corporation Holiday Shopping Spree ended last Friday with over $380,000 in local purchases being made at area merchants through the four-week event. The annual event encourages shopping at local merchants and gives the community a chance to win prize drawings in the process each week.

The chamber, GEDC and local sponsors kicked off the annual Holiday Shopping Spree for local businesses in Graham Friday, Nov. 26 and it concluded the event Friday, Dec. 17. Through the event, $7,000 in chamber bucks prizes were awarded to members of the community who contributed to $386,575 in spending at participating local merchants. Since the program began in 2013, a total of $4,155,300 has been spent locally through the campaign. Graham Chamber of Commerce CEO Krisa De La Cruz said the event always brings out the community in support of local businesses.

“I feel like it’s always a favorite. People look forward to it. The retailers definitely look forward to it,” she said. “For those who are not aware, our retail community really depends on this season for success overall, because a lot of them do more sales during this shopping season than they do all year long. It’s hugely important for them to have a successful holiday shopping season. So this campaign (...) exists to just encourage people to shop locally, really, incentivize them even to shop locally. Because every time they spend $25, at a participant merchant, they get to enter to win a prize, which is in the form of chamber bucks.”

The program utilizes stamp cards which could be picked up at any of the participating merchants during the shopping spree. For every $25 spent during the shopping spree at a participating merchant, the customer would receive a stamp which will enter them into a prize drawing. De La Cruz said the initial push for stamp cards was shocking this year.

“We were really blindsided and maybe we should have seen that coming,” De La Cruz said. “We prepared based on last year’s numbers and (...) we ordered extra cards, because we had more merchants participating this year, and distributed those out.  We ran out completely on Black Friday on the very first day of the launch and we were like, ‘How is this possible?’ You know, that’s crazy. So we ordered some to get them here as soon as we could and then literally the retailers were like making labels for their customers as they’d come in or (...) they had like lists of names so they knew how to fill them out after which (...) says a lot about our retail community and how great their customer service is also. (...) so we got that round in that next batch of cards, we get those distributed and as we’re distributing them, people are like, ‘Well, these are only going to take care of the names I’ve already written down. I still need twice this much.’ And we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ so we ordered more cards again. That’s when we (...) ordered little business cards, because we needed them so quickly that we sacrificed on quality a little bit just to get them here quickly, but they served their purpose.

For the rest of the story, see the Dec. 25 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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