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Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce unveils upcoming Same Day Rewards Program

DOWAGIAC — The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a plan that will benefit both consumers and retailers alike.

The chamber revealed its Same Day Rewards Program Monday. The four-month cross-promotion, which begins on Sept. 7, encourages consumers to shop locally as the holiday season approaches.

Consumers will have the opportunity to pick their day for great savings, offered by participating chamber-member locations. Each shop or restaurant will select the promotional offer they would like to feature, such as a percentage off on a minimum purchase, or a buy one, get one half off.

Chamber trustee June Nemeth, owner of Yarn on Front, developed the cross-promotion along with fellow trustee Jim Frazier, owner of Vincent J. Jewelers.

According to Nemeth, Frazier was inspired by an incentive program used at the Michigan City Outlet Mall in Michigan City, Indiana to develop a program that caters to Dowagiac businesses.

“For a long time, we were hashing out what would be the best way to incorporate something like that in our town, and this is what we came up with,” Nemeth said.  “We surveyed to see if businesses would be interested, and there was enough interest, so the program was created. The next step is getting those retailers on board so we can circulate information to participating retailers.”

Retailers and restaurant owners will be able to choose what type of sale they would like to offer and can also feature a different promotion each week. The consumer can decide which in-store promotion they want to benefit from, but the program cannot be used with another in-store promotion.

“It’s not a one size fits all,” Nemeth said. “What I decide to do might be different than what the next business does. It will be something that rewards them for taking advantage of that promotion.”

Consumers who make a purchase at a participating business may take their signed and dated receipt to another shop or restaurant, where they can make a purchase to receive a special discount at ensuing locations. The purchase must be made the same day to capitalize on the savings.

“It allows people to save a little by doing more shopping,” Nemeth said. “They can visit more downtown shops and maybe find some they didn’t know existed. The bonus for them is they save a little money.”

Nemeth hopes the program will increase exposure for local businesses.

“I can’t tell you how many times somebody comes into my shop and says, ‘hey, did you just open?’ Yeah, three and a half years ago,” Nemeth said. “We’re hoping this gives downtown Dowagiac more exposure. With the way the economy is going, we could definitely use it.”

While the chamber will provide promotion material in the form of signage and fliers for check-out counters, according to Nemeth, it will be up to participating businesses to promote the program. The deadline for businesses to sign up is Aug. 15.

“The success of the program depends on retailers promoting it and making sure they get the word out to their customers,” Nemeth said. “It’s going to be a matter of shoppers wanting to come downtown and the retailers promoting.”

If the program is successful, the chamber may decide to continue the program into 2021.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Nemeth said. “If it’s well-received, and the interest stays, it’s possible we could make it a permanent part of the customers’ shopping experience.”

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