Inger Laing and Mike Ro go through the thousands of Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Passports to Christmas recently that helped generate $2.5 million in local business revenue. The program is among the more popular ones and is intended to keep money in the community. Photo submitted

Ponoka Passport to Christmas brings in $2.5 million

The money generated stayed in the community of Ponoka during the holiday program

Another successful holiday shopping campaign by the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce generated $2.5 million in sales.

The 2018 Passport to Christmas concluded with about 8,500 passports submitted, explained the chamber’s executive manager Heather Bendera.

“Things went really well with around 2,000 of the passports coming from out of town shoppers,” she said.

“It also generated around $2.5 million in sales for participating town businesses.”

There were 51 winners this time — one for each of the 50 participating businesses and one grand prize of a $1,500 shopping spree going to Ponoka’s Linda Lindstrom. The other two big prizes also went to Ponoka residents — Janny Smith got the second prize 42” TV from The Brick while Christina York received a $300 gift card from No Frills. The other 48 winners each received a $25 gift card from one of the other businesses.

The chamber also held its annual general meeting earlier this month where president Barry Grant summed up 2018 and looked ahead to the next 12 months.

Among the positives were that membership has grown, with 20 new members joining in 2018, and the Chamber making more than $17,000 in profit on the annual trade show that has meant it starts the new year well in to the black.

He also thanked the many people that volunteered during the year to ensure events such as Almost Midnight Madness, the children’s Christmas shopping party and the business awards were also successful.

As for the future, Grant stated one event that will help all businesses will run at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Ponoka Golf Club.

Representatives from the Alberta Workers Compensation Board will have an information session focused on recent legislative changes that will affect all businesses when it comes to reinstating injured workers along with how benefits for those workers will fall on the company’s health benefits.

The two-hour session will include plenty of time for audience questions and discussion.

While free to attend, businesses are encouraged to contact the Chamber office to let them know of attendees.

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