Spend money to make money: City of Craig funds ‘Home Grown’ local shopping rebate program | CraigDailyPress.com

Spend money to make money: City of Craig funds ‘Home Grown’ local shopping rebate program

CRAIG — People who shop in Craig will have two reasons to shop locally and save their receipts this holiday season, after members of the Craig City Council voted unanimously to approve $15,000 in support of the Chamber of Commerce “Home Grown” program.

The city will provide the financial support to incentivize spending on sales tax-generating goods, with the chamber administering the program.

“This is the first time for the program to have a city-wide impact,” said Councilman Chris Nichols, who also sits on the chamber board of directors.

The idea for the program was brought to City Council in October by City Manager Peter Brixius and Chamber Membership Director Rebecca Greenwood. It is based on a similar shop local program in Rangely, where Brixius formerly served as city manager.

“It started in 2010 and has run for eight years, becoming a legacy program that has encouraged shoppers to change their habits,” Brixius said

How it works

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• Shop at a city sales tax-licensed business in Craig between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30. on qualifying purchases.

• Keep receipts on city sales tax-generating purchases.

• Submit receipts to the Craig Chamber of Commerce by Dec. 7.

• Earn $5 in Shop Local Spree Dollars, up to $30, for every $50 spent.

• Spend your special Shop Local Spree Dollars by Dec. 22.

Tobacco, pharmaceuticals, gasoline and utilities are not qualifying purchases.

“It’s a sales tax rebate,” Nichols said, adding that he believes it will be a “great” program for merchants and shoppers alike.

Brixius calculated that, if 15 percent of the community participate at the maximum level by spending $300 on qualifying purchases, it will generate $99,000 in sales, raising $4,356 in city sales taxes at a cost of $9,900 in Spree Bucks, which must also be used locally to generate additional sales and sales taxes.

The chamber will retain photocopies of receipts. The originals may also be used to participate in the Downtown Business Association’s Locals Love You More campaign, in which receipts for purchases at participating businesses are entered in a drawing for $250.

In a workshop before Tuesday’s city council meeting, Councilman Tony Bohrer expressed concern about supporting a pilot program this year.

Bohrer was worried that the program was being “thrown together at the last second.”

“Let's not do anything this year; let's throw everything at it next year,” he said.

When the question came to a vote, the decision to support a one-week pilot the program this year was unanimous. Council decided to cap the program at $15,000 for the one-week pilot program. Funds for the program are budgeted within the 2018 Council Projects Economic Development line item, leaving $58,000 for 2018.

Councilman Joe Bird asked if results could be tracked.

“We will know exactly how many people come in,” Brixius said. “We track the vendors accepting, as well as the people taking them up on the program. Anyone who participates is going to win.”

Council members decided against approving funds for 2019, instead opting to see how the first year goes. They will consider making an adjustment to 2019 to keep or expand the program next year.

For more information about Home Grown and the Shop Local Spree Dollars call the Craig Chamber of Commerce at 970-824-5689.

For more information about Locals Love You More, pick up a hot pink flyer and envelope at participating businesses, or call the Downtown Business Association at 970-824-2151.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.