Chamber brings money to Ponoka

More than $1.7 million was spent during the Passport to Christmas promotion last year.

More than $1.7 million was spent during the Passport to Christmas promotion last year. The amount is $126,900 more than at Christmas 2011, director Melodie Helm told the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce. “We’re really pleased.”

The chamber met Feb. 19 to discuss its monthly reports and financial statements.

“The thing to know is we were up from out of town passports completed,” Helm added.

There were 5,756 passports completed and 696 were from out of town, 133 more than in 2011. Hobbema residents showed the biggest increase with 135 visits in 2012 up from only 40 in 2011.

Residents of the cities of Lacombe and Red Deer also enjoyed shopping deals in Ponoka; the former was up 17 passports with 135 and the latter was up to 43 from 11.

“In my mind what that says is that we are slowly becoming a destination place for our small businesses and if we can keep that going that’s even better,” suggested Helm.

Chamber president Jim Hamilton thanked her for the report. “That does bode well for the town.”

Trade fair updates

The chamber’s trade fair is already 70 per cent full, reported chamber manager Les Jaster.

Scheduled for April 19 and 20, the theme is It’s a Jungle In Here.

The Town of Ponoka reduced financial support for the chamber but is providing a discount on renting the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. “They did give us a break on the trade fair.”

Jaster expects an increase in attendees as Ponoka’s trade fair is going to be on a different date than Lacombe’s.

Last year the trade fairs coincided with each other.

Next month Jaster intends to have more information for chamber members on specific details of the trade fair.

Business bylaw survey

The chamber is going to launch a survey through Survey Monkey to get feedback from its members on the Town of Ponoka’s proposed business hours bylaw. Hamilton said the purpose is to get a feel for what businesspeople think about it. The chamber wants to provide the results to the town for research purposes.

“It’s strictly to find out if the businesspeople of the town are aware of the bylaw and if they are, what are their thoughts?”

A copy of the bylaw will be made available to members for the survey.

“As the chamber we have an obligation to work with the town and give as much information back as we can,” he added.

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