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Popular Chamber Dollars program upgraded to Spencer Chamber Gift Card

Spencer Chamber has unveiled its new Gift Card in an effort to keep more dollars local, sponsored by Spencer Municipal Utilities. The Spencer Chamber Gift Card is a high-tech Gift Card that can be spent with multiple participating businesses in the area, including retail, hospitality, leisure and services.

The new Gift Card replaces the Chamber Dollars system that has been in place for over 20 years, and is available to buy online and from the Spencer Chamber of Commerce office on Highway Blvd, in denominations of $20-$500.

Sheriffa M. Jones, Executive Director at Spencer Chamber of Commerce said the new Gift Card will be easier for businesses and customers, and will have a greater economic impact for the area:

“Chamber Dollars were introduced to lift up local. But as the checks could be deposited in the bank instead of with local businesses, it reduced the effectiveness of the program. The Dollars were sold in increments from $10-$25, so if a customer purchased a $3 coffee, they’d get change and that money wouldn’t necessarily stay local.”

Sheriffa adds: “Our new Spencer Chamber Gift Card can be spent just like a debit card right across the city with the balance automatically updated. It can be spent in all sectors and on treats as well as groceries, gas and household essentials. Spencer is the largest community in a 60 mile radius. We have a population of 11,000+; however, a retail pull of 70,000. Not only will the Gift Card keep more dollars invested in the Spencer area with Chamber businesses, it will bring new dollars in, from those that want to experience all we have to offer.”

“There has always been a strong shop local community in Spencer,” continues Sheriffa. “Around $20,000 of Chamber Dollars were sold each year. We hope that employers, customers and tourists will use the new Spencer Chamber Gift Card to show their support for Spencer.”

Amanda Gloyd, Marketing and Community Relations Manager at Spencer Municipal Utilities said:

“Spencer Municipal Utilities is glad to be part of the new Spencer Chamber Gift Card as they will be a great way to help keep money in Spencer. We are accepting them in our office so they can be used to pay for utilities as well as many other places throughout Spencer which will make them a great gift. The new Gift Cards will be much easier to use for more than one purchase. At SMU we recognize employees for their years of service each year and on milestone anniversaries we have given Chamber Bucks in the past and are looking forward to the new Spencer Chamber Gift Card for future recognitions so our employees will continue spending them right here in our community.”

One of the businesses set to accept the new Spencer Chamber Gift Card is award winning restaurant, The Prime Rib, a Spencer institution.

“The Prime Rib is a steakhouse which was established 38 years ago,” said co-owner Carol Gilbertson. “We took over the business in 2018. It’s a community place where everyone goes to enjoy the certified Angus beef, legendary salad bar, specialty cocktails and Wednesday Wing night. There’s a very strong and supportive community here in Spencer, and we all know and use the shop local lingo. Of course, there have been days that have been scary over the past few years, but we’re fortunate to have been able to keep all our staff, which is thanks to our supportive clientele.”

“I think the Spencer Chamber Gift Card is a wonderful gift to give someone,” adds Carol. “They can go to a favorite shop, restaurant or business, or try somewhere new. It could encourage people to be more experimental and I think it will encourage tourism too. Our big resort area is about 30 minutes from Spencer, and tourists will often come to Spencer to enjoy our amenities. The Spencer Chamber Gift Card is a way we can showcase everything we have here in our city. The Chamber Dollars were great but 95% of our customers use cards now to pay, so the fact that the Spencer Chamber Gift Card can be spent like a regular debit card will be really popular.”

McCreary’s Creative Catering operates food trucks and concessions across the area, as well as The Dock restaurant. Cassie McCreary said:

“Chamber Dollars was a little confusing for customers and staff, and this meant people were scared to use them. The new Gift Card will be much easier because staff accept it like a debit card. It makes it all more straightforward and opens up the possibilities for the Gift Card.

“I think the Gift Card is an excellent idea because it will help to bring in new customers, which is vital for all businesses. It also allows people to support the community. Everyone struggles with what to get someone as a gift, but now we’ve got the Spencer Chamber Gift Card which can be used right across the area.”

The new Spencer Chamber Gift Card can be used with all types of businesses in Spencer, including locally owned franchise hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, part of the IHG brand. Nicki Haburn is the General Manager and said:

“The Holiday Inn ​Express & Suites is the newest hotel in Spencer and is an elite hotel within its brand, being recognized several years in a row for being in the top 10% of hotels worldwide for guests’ scores. The support we have from the community is the reason our hotel continues to grow, and that means so much. Shop local is like recycling. When you spend local, you get that money back in a different way and it’s what grows your town.

“The mix of recognizable brands, mom and pop stores and independents on the new Spencer Chamber Gift Card makes it more appealing and attractive for people to buy, and for employers to use for their staff and customers. We currently give our team members and guests a single retailer Gift Card regularly, but look forward to offering them a Spencer Chamber Gift Card as it’s more versatile. For guests here on vacation, it also gives them the opportunity to experience all that we have here in Spencer, like our beautiful Grand Avenue.”

The Spencer Chamber Gift Card is part of the Downtown Gift Card concept from payments provider Miconex in association with payments technology solutions provider EML Payments.  Downtown Gift Card systems run across the US, in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.

For questions or bulk orders, please contact office@spenceriowachamber.org. Card is issued by Pathward™ N.A., member FDIC. Funds do not expire. Non-reloadable and no cash access. For Cardholder Agreement or Customer Service: www.getmybalance.com or 1.833.558.1088.