SALINE COUNTY -- Saline County Chamber of Commerce associate director Alex Watkins said he is encouraging residents to shop local at the start of the holiday season, and the chamber has multiple programs to encourage local shopping.
In addition to its year-round "Shop Small" campaign, which encourages people to shop at locally owned businesses, the chamber has brought back its "Chuck the Buck" program in addition to its Business2Business Bingo promotion.
Chuck the Buck is a stuffed deer mascot for the chamber, Watkins said. Patrons are encouraged to find Chuck's location, which will be at a participating chamber member business, take a selfie and post it to social media with the hashtag #ShopSalineCounty for a chance to win a $25 gift card good at any participating member business.
The Business2Business Bingo program has bingo cards featuring member businesses. Cards may be picked up at participating member stores. As a patron takes the card from chamber member to chamber member, he or she will ask an employee to stamp the card with a special stamp. When a person believes he or she has a bingo, that person may turn the card in for a chance to win $50 at a participating member business. People may participate through Dec. 14, and a drawing for both gift cards will be Dec. 18.
"These are promotions that are designed to encourage people to shop small and spend money here in Saline County, especially with the beginning of the Christmas shopping season," Watkins said. "A good portion of money spent in Saline County stays in Saline County."
Watkins said according to recent numbers, 67 cents of every dollar spent locally remains in Saline County.
The chamber has been promoting local shopping heavily for more than a year, and that promotion is resulting in greater-than-expected sales tax revenues in the county, Saline County Treasurer Jeff Murrie told county board members Tuesday night.
Sales tax dollars exceeded budgeted expectations nearly every month this year, and actual year-to-date revenue from sales tax is $2,290,005 compared to an expected amount of $2,225,000. That means the county has taken in more than $65,000 in sales tax than expected.