DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Piscataquis County Chamber of Commerce and area employers recognize that shopping local is vital in Piscataquis County and Dexter region in the wake of industry closings and job losses.
So larger employers have teamed with the Chamber once again to promote local shopping through the Chamber’s gift certificate program.
“It keeps the money local, which keeps our business healthy,” said Russ Page, the Chamber’s executive director, this week.
Keeping money local, he said, benefits the communities because the merchants support schools, civic organizations and clubs in the region. “We think it’s very important to keep them healthy and to find as many ways to do that as possible.”
Under the program, employers buy gift certificates at face value in $10 increments from the Chamber and give the certificates to their employees in lieu of other gifts or money.
The certificates are redeemed at face value at more than 150 merchants in the Chamber region and in Dexter. Those “merchants” include doctors, dentists, fuel suppliers, convenience stores, restaurants and Central Maine Power Co.
The purchase of the gift certificates and the administrative costs are borne by the Chamber.
“The sales have been going well,” Page said. Employers are buying the gift certificates for the holidays or year-end bonuses, he said.
Among those involved in the program this year include CMP, Foxcroft Academy, Piscataquis Regional YMCA and Mayo Regional Hospital.
Through the gift certificate program, the Chamber helps keep about $30,000 in the local communities, according to Page. Over the past seven years and including this year, the program has kept about $230,000 in the region, Page said.
According to statistics, about 48 percent of every dollar spent locally is reinvested back into the community or the county, in such areas as wages or donations, Page said. So, the gift certificates are a beneficial way to help the local economy and the merchants in the county and Dexter, he said.