Shop Stettler cash cards help boost Stettler businesses

Big pile of cash cards – Board of trade executive director Keith Ryder sifts through a large pile of Shop Stettler cash cards collected this Christmas season.

Big pile of cash cards – Board of trade executive director Keith Ryder sifts through a large pile of Shop Stettler cash cards collected this Christmas season.

Shop Stettler cash cards in Stettler have boomed this Christmas season, promoting local shopping in Stettler.

“We put out 50,000 cash cards this year, so if they are all returned, this would account for $5 million in 42 participating businesses,” said Keith Ryder, executive director of Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development.

“It’s mainly a Christmas shop-at-home promotion.”

Cards were available from Oct. 15 and expired Dec. 24.

Since the cash card promotion first started in 2001, generating $1.3 million at participating businesses that year, the program has grown significantly with $3.7 million in returns in 2009.

“These figures are just a sampling of money spent in the Stettler community during this time period,” said Ryder.

This year, Shop Stettler was introduced in the promotion to focus on shopping in Stettler.

“As a regional hub, we want people to shop in Stettler,” said Ryder.

Besides patronizing local business, Shop Stettler cash cardholders also qualify for major prizes at the end totaling $2,250, with a top prize of $1,000.

“It’s a way for participating businesses to get a return because prizes are Heart-of- Alberta dollars that can be spent only in Stettler,” said Ryder.

“People are very excited about the chance to win big prizes.”

For businesses, the promotion takes a little more time at the till during this normally- busy time of the year.

“We recognize it is a bit of extra work for participating business and they realize much of that business will return when customer enters the draw for a prize,” said Ryder.

To seek ways to improve the promotion, the board of trade hosts a wrap-up meeting to allow participating businesses to offer new ideas to build and add to the program.

“Last year, we had a lot more people purchase these dollars as thank-you gifts and more businesses bought them for staff recognition and awards,” said Ryder.

“In the last five years, we have seen an increase every year in people buying Heart-of-Alberta dollars.”

“It’s a community gift card where local businesses reap the benefits,” said Ryder.

Heart-of-Alberta dollars are available at the board of trade office in four denominations.