Haines uses CARES funds to pay residents to shop locally

A cruiste ship pulls into a mountain town
Haines Alaska (Bruce Barrett, Flickr Creative Commons)

The Haines Borough is spending $20,000 in CARES Act funding to incentivize people to shop locally. The byHaines Shop Local and Save program will run through the month of October.

Haines residents who spend $300 locally this month could qualify for $100 more to spend at local stores.

“We are putting money into the hands of our local small businesses when they need it the most,” said David Simmons, Haines Economic Development Corporation’s interim Executive Director. He is working with the Chamber of Commerce to roll out the plan.

It’s free for the businesses — the municipality is giving away the incentive money on the condition that it be spent locally. Simmons and Chamber director Tracey Harmon enlisted dozens of businesses to participate.

“What I love about the program is it’s taking $20,000 and turning it into $40,000,” Harmon said.

It works like this: the municipality has $20,000 to give away. So the first 200 people who spend $300 at participating local businesses get another $100 to spend. The program runs through the end of the month, or until the money runs out.

It sounds like an easy hundred bucks, but there are a few rules. The spending — that 300 dollars — has to be discretionary. So, not fuel or groceries or utilities.

“So books, massages, or a weekend getaway at a hotel here in town… all of these purchases will qualify for the program,” said Simmons.

Also things like tools, jewelry, or art.

Once you have $300 worth of receipts, you apply online with HEDC or the Chamber. Harmon says thirty people have already filed their receipts on the first day of the program.