The Lonsdale First! Loyalty Program soon begins, offering residents an opportunity to support their local businesses while earning stamps for a prize drawing.

Last year’s Lonsdale First! Loyalty Program resulted in approximately $60,000 spent within the Lonsdale community. According to Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shanna Gutzke-Kupp, that may be the largest total since the program began.

This year, Gutzke-Kupp hopes Lonsdale First! gives community members an extra push to shop local in support of businesses that lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At first we didn’t know if we were going to do the Lonsdale First! program this year, and then we spoke to a few businesses and they said, ‘Absolutely yes,’” Gutzke-Kupp said. “Along with providing a safe opportunity for residents to come into their businesses, it will draw business awareness and support for the local businesses.”

All participating businesses will be listed on the program stamp card, promoted on the Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and included in a Lonsdale Area News Review press release. Businesses had the deadline to register by Friday.

Residents can collect stamps at participating businesses from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The loyalty cards contain a combination of $5 and $10 increments totalling $100 on each card. Community members can pick up their loyalty cards — and drop them off once completed — at any of the participating businesses.

The Chamber will enter completed cards into a drawing and announce winners at the annual Chamber Dinner on Jan. 26, 2021. Gutzke-Kupp said the drawing will award one $300 winner, two $100 winners and four $50 winners for the Chamber Checks.

“Those are nice because obviously they bring that money back into the community,” Gutzke-Kupp said of the Chamber Checks. “I think they’re going to play a huge role in getting the local economy to come back, especially during the pandemic.”

Gutzke-Kupp said the economy will only improve if residents first of all feel safe going out to shop at the local businesses. She commended area business owners for putting forth health and safety guidelines that make customers feel comfortable.

Planning ahead for the Annual Chamber Dinner comes as a challenge. The Chamber has tentative plans to purchase gift cards from local restaurants in lieu of the annual dinner, and guests can drive by the Chamber of Commerce the evening of Jan. 26 to pick up a swag bag of items from local businesses. The method of announcing the Business of the Year hasn’t been decided.

“It’s just kind of in the works right now, but that’s what we’re leaning towards,” Gutzke-Kupp said. “Obviously we can’t host any event indoors with that large amount of people, so we just need to become creative. And our focus is to still assist the businesses that are struggling, especially the hospitality industry, which was hit a little harder.”

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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