ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - The Zachary Chamber of Commerce has a unique contest to get folks in the doors of the city's local businesses this holiday season. Cash prizes will be handed out to three lucky shoppers.
It's been a long year for much of the city. Hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses took on water in August, including 4 Sisters & Etc. Antiques on Plank Road.
"Everyone lost so many things, here in the store in particular," Carolyn Loubiere said.
Loubiere is one of 60 vendors counting on the holidays to make up some business. "Money-wise I probably lost about $2,500. China cabinets, dining chairs, pillows," she explained.
Small Business Saturday is the official kickoff for Zachary's contest. The national movement was created seven years ago to remind people how much the local economy depends on locally-owned and operated stores. The contest runs from November 26 to December 16. Twenty-nine local stores are participating, including 4 Sisters Antiques. Every $10 you spend gets you one punch on a punch card. Every ten punches gets you one entry into a drawing for $500, $300, or $150 to spend at your choice of those 29 businesses.
"Last year's winner actually split it up three ways, so he picked two stores for his wife and one store where he liked to shop," Chamber executive director Kate MacArthur explained.
This is the third year for the successful promotion.
"Last year we actually counted up the cards that were returned, and we did $31,000 during that time period just here locally with the participating businesses," she added.
Each purchase puts money back into the local community. Not only does it rack up tax revenue for local schools, but it also helps people like Loubiere rebuild. The items for sale at 4 Sisters can't be found at any big box retailer.
"There are deals to be had, and a lot of times people don't actually go into the smaller businesses that are locally owned and they don't know what's in there," MacArthur said.
So what are the hot items this Christmas? In south Louisiana, the wish lists look a little different.
"The merchandise that's really been flying out of here are things people need, like tables, chairs, chest of drawers," Loubiere said.
Whether it's a need or a want, remember the small guys for your big purchases.
Click here for a list of businesses participating in the contest.