New chamber programs support local shopping

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce is initiatinga pair of special programs to beef up the business of localretailers and keep Brookhaven’s tax dollars in Brookhaven.

Approximately 120 chamber member businesses will be able toparticipate in a discount program where sale information ise-mailed among those members and utilized through a printable form,and a second program that will allow them to redeem special giftcertificates.

Chamber Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield said the discountprogram is already in place, and the gift certificate program -available through a national company called CertifiChecks – will beinstalled before Christmas. Both programs, he said, are designed toincrease traffic in member businesses, encourage more localshopping and generate sales tax revenue for the city.

“We thought these programs would be a great fit for Brookhaven,”Brumfield said. “The bottom line of both programs is to encourageshopping at home and keep our retail dollars in LincolnCounty.”

The CertifiChecks program is available to anyone – chamber memberor private citizen – from anywhere. Once the program is up andrunning later this month, Brumfield said anyone would be able topurchase certificates by calling 1-877-770-GIFT, or from thechamber Web site at www.brookhavenchamber.com and use them as cashat any member business.

Brumfield said the CertifiChecks are available in increments from$5 to $50, and the face value of each CertifiCheck is as listed.There are no usage fees, he said, as the chamber will assume thecost of implementing the program.

Those who purchase CertifiChecks will receive an updated list ofall participating member businesses and will have one year from thedate of issuance to use them, Brumfield said.

Brumfield said CertifiChecks would make an excellent addition tothe chamber’s retail development program.

“We just ran across the program a few days ago, and I wish we hadfound it sooner to roll it our before the Christmas shoppingseason,” Brumfield said. “While working with city officials andresearching shop at home campaigns, we found the CertifiCheckprogram on a couple of chambers’ Web sites in the northeasternUnited States. We found they’ve had positive experiences with theprogram.”

The discount program – available only to chamber members – issimple.

Member businesses notify the chamber of available discounts and thelength of time they will be available, and the chamber disseminatesthe information to all member businesses via e-mail. A member canprint the e-mail with their name and present it to the businessoffering the discount at the time of sale to receive thediscount.

So far, Brumfield said, six member businesses have signed on. Hesaid he would like to see a dozen or more businesses participatingmonthly, and hopes the program develops longevity.

“I would like to see this program utilized by our membersthroughout the year, not just for holiday shopping,” Brumfieldsaid.

Brumfield said the CertifiChecks program was chosen for Brookhavenbecause it has been tried and proven elsewhere and allows thegreatest usage for both purchaser and member business. The discountprogram was brought to the city, he said, because it was “just toosimple not to initiate.”

And since 120 local businesses are affiliated with the chamber andwill have the opportunity to participate in the CertifiChecksprogram, Brumfield said shopping options should be abundant.

“Local shoppers should have plenty of options, and time, to usetheir CertifiChecks,” he said.