SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- A Santa Maria Valley Chamber promotion is encouraging shoppers to make their holiday purchases locally this month, while at the same time offering cash prizes.
The "Support Local & Win Big campaign" kicked off last month and runs through Sunday, Dec. 19.
It's part of an effort to help support local businesses that are competing against online retailer.
"We're really encouraging people to get out and support the local businesses," said Molly Schiff, Santa Maria Valley Chamber Marketing & Communications Manager. "It can be really easy to go online and click and buy sort of thing, but when you out supporting local, especially with recent supply chain issues and stuff, not only are you supporting the businesses that support our community, but you're also guaranteed knowing what inventory is there. You know what products you're getting and you get it right away."
Shoppers that make purchases at local businesses or dine at local restaurants are eligible to win one of several cash prizes from a total purse of $3,000.
"It's super simple," said Schiff. "You snap a selfie when you're out supporting a local business or non-profit. You can also submit receipts totaling up to $50. There's a really easy app on our website. You just submit them there. You submit a little information about yourself and you'll be entered to win."
Local business owners said they appreciate the Chamber's effort to help them boost sales, especially as they battle tough online competition.
"That's helping a lot, especially here in our community," said Xtreme Electronics owner Roger Galvan. "Small businesses, we need that help because we rely on the people local here. The big brand name stores like Best Buy and this and that, they have budgets where they themselves get funding from corporate, where here, our funding comes from just local people and our own pockets."
Galvan, who has owned the electronics shop on Main Street in Santa Maria for more than 20 years, emphasized how just how important it is for the community to keep money local.
"Local businesses here, we support our community," said Galvan. "Our taxes stay here in the community. Supporting local businesses is very important because when you buy online, the money just leaves the town, leaves the city, goes to another state, or either out of the country, but when you're supporting local businesses like us, we do investments. We invest in our community."
In Orcutt, at Cubanissimo Cuban Coffee House & Cafe, co-owner Chrystal Trenado agreed community support is essential to keeping locally-owned businesses open.
"For us, we're reliant on our immediate local community to keep us in business," said Trenado. "It keeps us here so people can keep coming back to us, so we can operate. We can be here, so we can bring something new and unique to the community, a place that's not just your everyday location, but that is different, fun, vibrant and unique to our community."
Businesses and organizations must be located within the Santa Maria Valley (Santa Maria, Orcutt, Guadalupe) or a member of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber.
In addition, the Chamber states qualifying purchases must be outside of your normal spending, which would exclude a receipt for groceries or a utility bill.
Shoppers are able to submit multiple entries to increase their odds of winning.
Entries are due by Dec. 19 and winners will be announced on Dec. 20.
There will be seven total winners including one grand prize of $1,000, two $500 prizes and four $250 prizes.
For more information, click here.