WASILLA — The Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce is trying out a new way to support small businesses and local shoppers with this year’s Support Local November campaign, Support Local BINGO.
Customers can pick up bingo cards from the Wasilla Chamber office and many of the participating businesses and fill them up with stamps by completing certain tasks, such as making a purchase, following their store on social media, getting a quote, or speaking to a representative.
Customers have until Nov. 30 to turn their cards into any participating location or the drop box at the Wasilla Chamber office to be entered into the drawing for a variety of prizes. Winners will be announced Dec. 1.
According to City of Wasilla administrative assistant, Cassondra Odden, there’s a total of 49 participants in the Support Local Bingo program. She said it coincides with Small Business Saturday, and their overall participation is higher than last year’s Support Local November activities. There are also participating nonprofit organizations such as the Mat-Su Food Bank people can get stamps from.
“We’re trying to support the entire community not just our members,” Odden said. “We definitely upped our ante a little bit but that definitely helped us with having organizations and nonprofits involved because there was definitely a cry out from our members to let other people participate and support local programs without having to buy something specifically.”
Last year, the Chamber put on themed days throughout the month. Odden said they’ve been experimenting with different ways to put on this annual program and this is their first year trying the bingo format. She said this has proven to be a popular way to connect the customers to the local businesses.
“This is actually working out really, really well and the response has just been just absolutely amazing. I think we found one that we’re going to stick with,” Odden said.
Odden said that small business owners play an important role in the community.
“Especially in the Valley, it’s just very evident how important they are with how much they help out with school programs and our nonprofits that need help, like MyHouse and stuff like that. It’s just absolutely amazing to see how so many of our members have stepped up to help with fundraising opportunities or blanket drives and coat drives. It’s so heartwarming,”
The holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year for a majority of small businesses. Odden said this is a particularly important period of time to find ways to shop locally.
“It can make the difference between somebody being able to celebrate Christmas they want to or being able to pay their lease... It makes a huge difference, and we want to see all of our businesses thrive through these times,” Odden said.
Odden said the Wasilla business community has fared well throughout the pandemic and she’s encouraged by the continued involvement of businesses owners and community members.
“This campaign has definitely been a great step in the door for some of our participating businesses that aren’t members to realize the benefits of Chamber membership and how much we can do for them,” Odden said. “We’re just going to continue guiding our members and helping them out in any way that we can and keeping our ears and eyes open for other ways that we can improve.”
Those interested in playing Support Local BINGO must fill at least one space to be entered and there will be additional drawings for filling our rows or a full board blackout.
For more information, visit business.wasillachamber.org.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com