Programs gives businesses a boost

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 08:38 am

Okotokian Jennifer Graham displays the $700 in Wheel bucks she won in the Western Wheel’s Black Diamond and Turner Valley Stop and Shop program.
Okotokian Jennifer Graham displays the $700 in Wheel bucks she won in the Western Wheel’s Black Diamond and Turner Valley Stop and Shop program.
Diana Locke/OWW

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A Black Diamond woman was well rewarded for spending her money in local shops last month.

Joanne Irwin entered the Western Wheel’s Black Diamond and Turner Valley Stop and Shop Christmas Gift Pass program, where for every $100 shoppers spent in 10 participating Diamond Valley stores they were entered in a draw for one of six prizes. Irwin’s name was drawn for $250 worth of Wheel bucks to spend at participating stores.

Although Irwin is delighted at the prize, she didn’t need incentive.

“You have to support the businesses that are here in town and so I think shopping locally is very important,” she said. “I always try to do a lot of my Christmas shopping in town wherever I can.”

The idea for the stop and shop program came from Western Wheel sales representative for the Diamond Valley area Diana Locke, duplicating a similar program held in Okotoks with great success.

“I wanted to find creative ways and new concepts for the Diamond Valley community for a shop local program,” she said. “It was an inexpensive way for businesses to participate and give back to the community through prize winning.”

More than $15,000 was spent in Diamond Valley stores through the program, said Locke.

Salus Wellness Centre owner Ingrid Joulin Kehler said her clients really enjoyed it, yet business was down substantially from previous seasons.

“I don’t know if it had anything to do with the (2013) flood,” she said. “Everything was a little quieter here in town. It seems to be the way it has been here in Black Diamond for a while – since the flood.”

Naramata Bench Clothing Co. owner Lori Czerwinski didn’t have a previous Christmas season to compare to, having opened shop last year, but said businesses is getting better all the time.

“Since I’ve opened my doors every month has improved,” he said. “That’s very encouraging.”

Most who shopped at her store last month were local, which Czerwinski attributes to activities like Black Diamond’s light up event and the stop and shop program.

Owner of Nature Arranged Bev Geier said there are some businesses residents aren’t aware exist and projects like these are a great way to get the word out.

“It’s really good exposure,” she said. “It’s a good value to the merchants and the value to the customer is winning the money.”

Town of Black Diamond economic development and events coordinator David Petrovich said the Town sponsored the program to give merchants an opportunity to gain more exposure while supporting each other.

“This whole concept, I just loved it,” he said. “I welcome any initiative that brings businesses as a group closer together.”

Although the most prosperous time for Diamond Valley businesses is summer, the winter is important to keep them going until the busy season starts up again, Petrovich said.

“Many of the businesses were robbed from that during the flood,” he said.

“If they don’t get a start up on their reserve they are not going to make it through the winter.”

Prize winners for the stop and shop program include Okotokian Jennifer Graham, who won $700 in Wheel bucks, Calgarian Brenda Davies won the Bohemia gift basket, Black Diamond’s Tara Pelrine won the Wonderland Studio/Sparkly Babe gift basket, Okotokian Jane Russell won the Naramata Bench Clothing Co. scarf and Okotokian Alison Chudleigh the Salus Wellness Centre gift certificate.

Other participating businesses were the Chuckwagon Café, Chinook Windz Pets, Bali Bling, Rona and Black Diamond Gallery.


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