Businesses big winners in downtown passport contest

Okotoks: Calgarian takes home $1,000 prize for supporting downtown

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 06:00 am

Calgarian Cheryl Wiswell shows the $1,000 dollars in Olde Towne Okotoks bucks she won in the passport contest as Canine Aquafitness & Vet Rehab Center veterinarian Catherine Pampiglione holds her toy poodle Muffy.
Calgarian Cheryl Wiswell shows the $1,000 dollars in Olde Towne Okotoks bucks she won in the passport contest as Canine Aquafitness & Vet Rehab Center veterinarian Catherine Pampiglione holds her toy poodle Muffy.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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2013 Olde Towne Okotoks Pastport contest winners

• $1000.00 Grand Prize Winner - Cheryl Wiswell
• Elizabeth Street Pet Hospital Gift Basket – Christina Lang
• Bistro Provence Gift Card - Barb Collins
• La Cucina Gift Basket - Sharon Lebsack
• Simple Temptations Gift Basket - Judy Henry
• Cactus Club Gift - Barbara Thompson Brown
• Papillon Gift Card - Amelia Sawatzky
• Homeworks Gift Certificate - Duncan Owen

Shopping in downtown Okotoks paid off for a Calgary woman who won $1,000 to spend at some of those same stores through the 2013 Olde Towne Okotoks passport contest.

Downtown businesses are the real winners with more than $1.2 million spent in just over a month at the 30 retailers, restaurants and professional services participating in the annual program.

Calgarian Cheryl Wiswell received $1,000 in Olde Towne Okotoks Bucks to spend at any of the 30 downtown businesses that participated in the contest.

“It was a wonderful surprise, a belated Christmas surprise,” she said.

The second annual passport contest allowed shoppers to collect stamps for every $10 they spent at participating businesses, starting on the night of Okotoks Light up Nov. 22 and ending in Dec. 31. Each passport filled with 10 stamps was entered in a draw for $1,000 in Olde Towne Okotoks Bucks.

Wiswell has already spent $880 at the Canine Aquafitness to go towards rehabilitation procedures after her dog injured a leg last year. She also plans to treat her husband for a nice meal out at one of the restaurants in the downtown area.

It didn’t take Wiswell long to fill out her passports through regular appointments at Canine Aquafitness to help her toy poodle Muffy heal from the leg injury.

She said she enjoys coming down to Okotoks and she started coming to town when her veterinarian, Marco Bregliano moved from Calgary to the Elizabeth Street Pet Hospital in Okotoks. Her husband then moved into the Tudor Manor a year ago and she now spends a lot of time in town and shops at some of the businesses in the Olde Towne area.

“It’s one of my favourite places to go and they have some really unique coffee shops that I really enjoy going to,” said Wiswell.

In addition to the grand prize, there were seven additional prizes handed out, worth more than $100 each.

The contest kept participating businesses busy over the holidays, generating more than a $1 million spent downtown Okotoks.

More than 12,000 passports were filled out and with each representing $100 in spending it works out to $1.2 million spent at 30 businesses in just over a month.

“That’s incredible and that is only in those 30 businesses that were participating,” said Mark Doherty, Okotoks’ community events co-ordinator. “That’s phenomenal.”

He introduced the program in 2012 and Doherty said it has been a great success growing immensely over two years.

“For those businesses that participate they really enjoy this program, they all believe it’s a success and it’s good for them,” he said.

Doherty said the program allows participating businesses to see just how much they have benefited.

“The beauty of this program is you see the result of it, you can actually gauge the final result,” he said.

Mandy Patterson, owner of the Cactus Club Salon, said it’s one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising for downtown businesses.

She said the businesses gave thousands of stamps and a lot of her customers filled a single passport on one visit.

“After a week as we’re asking people if they have their passports, I was so surprised at how many people were collecting from other businesses,” Patterson said.

She said the passport appears to be taking off as more people are catching on to the program.

“Our clients love it, they get really excited about it,” said Patterson. “They’ve all bought into the program.”


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