The Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce and Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority recently partnered with local businesses and community residents to help boost the economy by offering a reward for people who turned in their receipts. Chamber Executive Director Terri Heggie told the Times that local spending topped $214,000 during the promotion period of March 20-April 30.

    Heggie added that the last two-and-a-half weeks of the promotion were the busiest as far as the amount of receipts turned in.

    “At least 80 percent of the receipts submitted were well over $500,” she explained. “A number of messages from those who submitted receipts included, “We know the limit for reimbursement is $500 per household however we want to show how much we are shopping local.” A few others shared, “I can’t believe how much we eat out.” Many were filled with kind messages for holding this promotion during one of the most challenging economic times for our businesses.”

    Heggie said the Chamber sent out $15,880 in Chamber Bucks to over 400 households after the promo ended.

    When asked if a business has to be a Chamber member to accept the Chamber Bucks, Heggie said, “Yes, that is one of the benefits of being a Chamber member.”

    “However, receipts turned in were from any local business with exclusions of tobacco and alcohol,” she continued. “With a total of local spending over $214K we believe the benefits to many businesses, whether Chamber members or not was significant on the front end.”

    “This large amount of Chamber Bucks sent out are valid for one year from issue date,” Heggie went on. “So, there will be much opportunity to spend them when several Chamber member businesses open back up. Many are offering the purchases of gift certificates and gift cards event though they are presently closed we encourage all to call the businesses as well if they are eager to support local and spend those Chamber Bucks.”

    Heggie said she’s also reached out to various community members to create a future “Support Local Chamber Buck Incentive.”

    “We are so incredibly proud of our community for rallying around our local businesses and keeping our the dollars in Crookston. Thank you! Crookston and thank you to CHEDA for partnering on this extremely successful endeavor.”