The 2020 holiday shopping season is now behind us, and the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce is taking an inventory of its promotions.
Beginning Nov. 28, which is also Shop Small Saturday around the country, through Dec. 24, the chamber hosted its fifth annual Holiday punch card promotion. The promotion encouraged shoppers to visit local businesses where they collected a stamp on a punch card. Once the card had 12 stamps, it could be turned into the chamber where a random drawing picked the winner.
This year’s winner was Steven and Kelsie Hanger who were awarded $400 in local gift cards.
“The fourth quarter is sometimes a make-or-break time for many of our small business owners,” said chamber president Dan Ahlers. “That’s when they do the bulk of their business for the year. We’re always competing against the larger stores in a smaller town and anything that raises the awareness that can drive more people into the stores is really important.”
By all accounts, the promotion seemed to be a success. Aaron Delgado at LaDelle and Fourth Coffeeshop said they saw multiple cards every day during the month-long event.
“It absolutely worked,” Delgado said. “We had a ton of people come in who were using it. The more you pour into your local community on the smallest level, the more stable our economy can be, especially in times like right now.”
Delgado said the promotion has also worked in previous holiday seasons, but this year it was especially important to drive people into area businesses because of the pandemic.
“Of all the years to be shopping local, this was one of the biggest to maintain that money retention in our community and our local businesses,” he said. “Everyone went through it in 2020 and had to make changes and things had to be readjusted. There were a lot of dynamics surrounding financial stability last year.”
Purchase was not necessary to receive a stamp. Heather Ness at Corduroy and Pixie Dust toy store said there was some of that, but also that many customers returned throughout the month for multiple visits.
“Once they came for the first time, we knew they’d be coming back, and they did,” Ness said. “The program brought people into the store, and I know it did for a lot of businesses.”
Corduroy and Pixie Dust was also the host for the annual coloring contest, which has typically been held at County Fair. Children brought their pictures to the toy store, which were then put on the walls to serve as holiday decorations. The chamber chose a winner for that contest as well.
“That was really good for us, too,” Ness said. “There were a lot of people that didn’t even know we were in town that brought in pictures.”
Ahlers said the chamber plans to do the punch card event again for the 2021 holiday season.
“It’s been a nice program,” he said. “It’s one of those where you’re doubling down for your local businesses and you’re encouraging people to shop local. That’s something we’ll always continue to encourage.”