Executive Director Heather Way said the small businesses in Lake View snagged more than $120,000 in sales during the 60-day shopping period, the most money ever generated in the program’s six years.
Between that and the more than $160,000 in sales Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce generated during it’s Shop Local campaign, plus $65,000 in its annual Gift Givers program, small businesses in Lake View got a major holiday boost.
“As of today, we’ve hit $120,000 in receipts, which is really awesome considering there’s about 115 stores participating,” Way said Wednesday. “That’s really amazing. It’s our biggest season so far. And $120,000 means close to $18,000 in rebates are out there.”
The program works like this: Residents shop at one of the participating stores and save their receipts. For every $300 spent collectively among the stores, shoppers get a $50 gift card that can be used at any of the participating businesses.
What’s more is the chamber reimburses the stores when someone uses a gift card. They get the money from SSA 27, a special tax funded by the area shop owners to generate business, beautify the area and even help pay for façade improvements.
"When we put the $5,000 cap in place, we thought it would be really unobtainable, but there are shoppers out there who make it happen."
“We had a lot of first time participants this year—many people from outside the neighborhood who found out about it because they were buying something from a local merchant, so they made a point to tell them about the program, and then the customer made a point to do their holiday shopping at participating local businesses,” Way said. “I mean, that’s the dream situation for this, exactly what we want to happen.”
Shoppers who spent enough money at a participating business, listed here on the Shop Lakeview website, have until Feb. 28 to claim their gift cards. Just bring in a proof of payment to the chamber, from receipts to credit card statements, and Way will fork over your reward. The Lakeview Chamber is located at 1409 W. Addison Ave.
Also, the last day to use the cards is Feb. 28, so if you wait until the last minute, you have less time to shop.
Let Patch save you time. Get more Lake View news like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone with our free newsletter. Join us here!
And the more you spent, the more $50 certificates you get in return. Way said residents would be surprised to find how many people hit the shopping ceiling.
“There’s a maximum, and that’s $5,000. People hit that mark in a heartbeat,” said Way, snapping her fingers. “People do it; it’s surprising, but people do it. If you went to Heritage and bought a bike for like, $2,000. It can be done. When we put the $5,000 cap in place, we thought it would be really unobtainable, but there are shoppers out there who make it happen. I think we had about five or six people who have hit it. Go for it! Please try to hit that cap.”
Because national retailers have to jump through corporate hoops to approve a program like this, Way said pretty much every participating store is a small business.
The Lakeview Chamber covers an area that stretches from Diversey on the South to Irving Park Road on the North, and Ravenswood on the West to Racine on the East.