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Lonsdale First! cards are bigger than usual this year with more community businesses on the back than ever before. The program lasts from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, and eligible participants will be entered in a grand prize drawing. (courtesy of Shanna Gutzke-Kupp)

The Lonsdale First! Loyalty Program usually draws strong participation from the community, but this year Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shanna Gutke-Kupp needed to expand the card to fit all 34 participating businesses.

“I’m excited that the program is growing,” said Gutzke-Kupp. “It’s been growing year after year since the Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce took over in 2014. Residents understand the benefits of participating, which is always nice to see.”

Residents may pick up cards at any of the participating businesses to keep track of how much they spend locally between now and Dec. 31. Residents get their cards stamped according to how much they spend at a participating business.

This year, seven new businesses have signed up to participate in the loyalty program — New Prague Floral and Such, Teal Magnolia, Copy-right Printing, the Villages of Lonsdale, Weichert Realtors, Fit on Main Studio and Lonsdale American Legion.

Non-retail businesses participate in the program in other creative ways. Frandsen Bank & Trust, for example, has in the past offered stamps to those who open checking accounts.

There’s no limit for how much to spend, and residents can fill out as many cards as they wish. However, only those who spend at least $100 are eligible to enter their card in a drawing for Chamber check prizes. Participants could win up to $700 if their name is drawn at the annual Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year dinner Jan. 28.

The Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce accepts completed cards up until Jan. 13. Participating businesses also collect the cards.

For every $100 spent at a local business, Gutke-Kupp said $68 stays within the community.

“Last year [the program] brought in $555,000,” she said. “It was nice to put a number to that.”

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