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    WELCOME: Heidi Higginson, Matt Linsley and Jason Hosemans are calling on shoppers to support local as ACE Radio prepares for its We Love Ararat initiative on Friday, and the Greater Ararat Business Network launches its new gift card program which includes a series of giveaways, also starting on Friday. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Added incentive for We Love Ararat

There’s extra incentive to shop in Ararat and district during December. 

Shoppers can be rewarded for spending their hard-earned dollars locally, with two giveaway initiatives on offer. 

The Greater Ararat Business Network, GABN, in launching its gift card program called ‘shop local, spend local, support local’ will give away 20, $500 preloaded cards between Friday and Christmas. 

The Weekly Advertiser and radio stations 3WM and MIXX FMs ‘We Love’ series reaches Ararat on Friday and has two $250 vouchers to give away. 

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Driving local business

Phillippa Cairns, GABN business development and engagement, said the first two gift card winners would be drawn at 1pm and 4pm on Friday, on-air during We Love Ararat celebrations.  

People can enter at participating GABN members’ businesses by making a purchase, at a value or above as set by the business, and writing their details and a contact number on the back of their receipt, and keeping it at the store for collection. 

GABN will announce winners each week via social media, and directly contact winners to arrange collection.

GABN is introducing the gift card program after receiving a State Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions flood recovery grant. 

A window sticker will identify businesses selling and accepting the cards. 

“The closed loop gift card system works exactly like any pre-paid visa gift card, but it is only able to be used in the Greater Ararat region, so circulates dollars at a truly local level,” Ms Cairns said. 

“The program is open to all GABN members who have expressed an interest in participating, with the initial set up costing nothing as we cover the activation cost and initial set of cards for loading. 

“Unfortunately, the only terminals currently unable to accept these cards are Square, but we have a number of businesses choosing to add a second terminal or opting to change their facility to an alternative and have found real savings in the process with lower costs – a win-win for everyone.

“There will be no ongoing costs except for the cost of purchasing more cards to be loaded and this will be managed by GABN.” 

As shoppers emerge from Black Friday and Cyber Monday initiatives, and look to Christmas just weeks away, Ms Cairns reminded people that the power of spending locally could not be overstated. 

“These dollars go into the pockets of employees and suppliers, who spend at cafes and restaurants, pay for sporting activities, entertainment, school fees and books and donate to charities – so there is literally no part of local community that is not supported one way or another,” she said. 

“We talk about a circular economy, so when those dollars are spent, statistically, they circulate three to five times through the local economy. 

“Local retailers return 52 percent of revenue back into local economy as opposed to just 14 percent of a national chain, with money spent out of town seeing no benefit to the local economy.” 

Bargains revealed

The ACE Radio ‘We Love’ series, which has visited Warracknabeal, Horsham, Stawell and Nhill during spring, highlights opportunities available to regional shoppers and promotes a ‘shop local’ drive. 

There will be plenty of bargains to be found in Ararat on Friday, with discounted products and services available throughout the day. 

People can peruse their options and plan their shopping day out using the five-page guide in today’s edition.  ACE Radio Horsham promotions manager Kaycee Tickner reminded people who made a purchase at participating businesses to ask for a ‘We Love Ararat’ card to be eligible for one of two $250 vouchers. 

Mrs Tickner and the ‘MIXX FM Street Team’ van would be set up in Barkly Street and broadcasting live throughout the day. Shoppers can present their card at the van to enter the draw, with vouchers to be spent at any participating business.  

The entire November 29, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 29, 2023 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!