Two days in, a program to incentivize shopping at Soldotna businesses is already very popular.
“I’m drowning in vouchers right now," said Shanon Davis, executive director for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber and city of Soldotna are sponsoring the program, called “Holding Our Own,” which rewards shoppers who spend $200 or more in Soldotna with two $50 vouchers to redeem at participating Soldotna businesses — currently, a list of 36 vendors.
The city of Soldotna put aside $100,000 for Holding Our Own using CARES Act funding. The program runs from Nov. 16 to Dec. 16, or until vouchers run out. And they might.
“I’ve been shocked at how popular it is already and it is very likely that we will go through that $100,000 before the program ends," Davis said.
She said 80 shoppers have already turned in receipts for vouchers.
To prove they’re shopping local, customers submit receipts online through a form or in person through a drop box at the chamber. They can pick up their vouchers at the chamber or can get them in the mail.
Colleen Jones is the owner of Sugar Magnolias, a clothing store on the Sterling Highway. She just signed up today to be a participating business.
“This spring we were shut down for a couple months and we’re open less hours since COVID started," she said. "And I’m assuming that people will be hesitant to come out and shop. But I’m hoping this will pull people out."
Businesses can sign up to be participating vendors until the program ends, Dec. 13. Eligible businesses are locally owned, brick-and-mortar businesses in Soldotna that have been negatively impacted by coronavirus restrictions.
Customers must redeem their vouchers before the year ends. For a list of participating businesses, visit the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce website.