Paying it Forward with a Gift Card Giveaway in Thompson

Feb 14, 2022 | Chamber News, Chamber Spotlights, Front Page

The Thompson Chamber of Commerce chose a “Gift Card Giveaway” as their shop local promotion over the 2021 holiday season, funded through the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce’s Shop Local initiative.

“We purchased $19,515 worth of gift cards from local businesses,” says Paula Yanko, Office Manager, Thompson Chamber of Commerce. “We also received $60 worth of free gift cards from Pizza Pizza, $100 worth of bowling passes from NC Crossroad Lanes and 10 gift bags worth approx. $300 from the Thompson Citizen, for a total of almost $20,000! On Friday, November 19, our team set up tables and banners in the City Centre Mall and distributed 706 envelopes with a value of $20 to $50 each, along with the gift bags. The local radio station, CHTM, did a live broadcast from our booth.”

Yanko says the team deliberately chose the 19th, knowing that residents from outlying communities would be visiting Thompson that day to pick up groceries and other supplies.

“So many people stopped by to ask what we were doing, and when we told them it was a gift card giveaway, we received several comments asking what the catch was, and what they had to do to get a gift card. Many were surprised that it was all free. We received handshakes, hugs, and many “thank yous”, and one elderly woman even started crying when she opened her envelope to find a $50 gift card.”

As an added bonus, the chamber received approximately 200 pounds of non-perishable food from generous donors/recipients of gift cards who also wanted to give back.

“We donated the food was donated to the Thompson Boys and Girls Club. Unbeknownst to us at the time, their freezer had malfunctioned two days prior and they had lost all their food, so it was a blessing for them.”

According to Yanko, the giveaway directly impacted 94 business and more than 700 consumers.

“Businesses have reported back that people spent more than the face value of the gift cards, so we anticipate a $30,000 to $50,000 impact on the local community. It was a wonderful experience and definitely made a difference in our city.”

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