Using your passport to win

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Marcie Lewis (from left), Deanne Fitzpatrick, and Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin are getting more passports ready for customers in the downtown Amherst area. If customers shop at three participating businesses, they have the chance to win a gift basket worth over $2,000.

AMHERST – By shopping at local businesses, you’ll have the chance to win a gift basket worth over $2,000.

The passport program, started by the downtown marketing committee of the downtown advisory committee, encourages Amherst residents to shop at the downtown stores. By doing so, they have a chance to enter to win a basket of goodies.

“Thirty-one businesses are participating,” said Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, chair of the marketing committee who created the passports. “Passports are available at all participating businesses. If you shop at three places, you can enter your name in the draw (for the gift basket).”

One of the objectives of the committee is to create awareness of the existing businesses in the downtown area. Smith-McCrossin said this strategy helps them achieve that goal.

“It also helps to create a sense of community,” said Deanne Fitzpatrick, one of the marketing committee members. “It also gets the downtown businesses communicating with each other. It makes one business send a customer to another business, that’s what I’ve been experiencing.”

By getting Amherst residents involved with the passport program, Marcie Lewis, sales and marketing co-ordinator for the town, said it’s a great way for everyone to see just what kind of stores are available in the downtown core.

“I don’t think most people realize how many businesses there are downtown,” said Lewis. “Would you normally be able to rhyme off 31 businesses? You’d probably have to think about it. I think people are starting to realize that we really do have a lot to chose from and can frequent a lot of these places. It’s really a recognition thing too.”

The prize basket will be awarded on Dec. 17. The basket includes different prizes from all the participating businesses including a hair straightener from Hairstyles by Ryan, a free car wash from Brad Hoeg and other gift cards and products from the businesses. Passport users are also able to use their passport for a chance to enter the draw this Friday during the Black Friday shopping event.

For more information on the businesses involved with the passport program, visit their Facebook page under Christmas in Downtown Amherst.

Geographic location: AMHERST

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