Glenwood Chamber introduces Glenwood Gold community currency as part of economic recovery strategy
People might spend freely if they’re given free money.
That’s how Glenwood Gold community currency, a year-round “buy local” stimulus program introduced by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, can work.
Glenwood Gold certificates work like cash when redeemed, and the program will reimburse participating businesses 100 percent of the face value of the currency, according to a press release.
The launch of Glenwood Gold is timely for summer 2020, when local businesses are recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and related Stay-at-Home and Safer-at-Home orders, the release states.
“We hope it lives beyond COVID-19 — we hope it’s very popular and everybody loves it — but we wanted to help now when people really need it and start getting the economy going again,” said Lisa Langer, director of tourism promotion for Visit Glenwood Springs, a department of the Glenwood Springs Chamber.
Participation in the new program is currently free for local businesses in the 81601 ZIP code — though they do need to sign up, Langer said — and any individual, business or group can purchase Glenwood Gold vouchers online at glenwoodchamber.com/glenwoodgold.
“We are committed to making Glenwood Gold a huge success,” says Angie Anderson, president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “Our goal is to encourage a community investment of at least $100,000 into local commerce through this program by the end of November.”
Three local businesses — Alpine Bank, Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwod Insurance — are stepping up in support of the goal.
Through their Grateful for Glenwood campaign, Alpine Bank is seeking online nominations at alpinebank.com of locals who are doing positive good deeds, providing words of encouragement and helping neighbors. Nominees are then entered into a pool for a random drawing that takes place daily on weekdays until July 17. In total, 250 people will receive $100 in Glenwood Gold for a $25,000 sweepstakes, the release said.
“Alpine Bank is celebrating 40 years at our Grand Avenue branch in Glenwood this year,” says John Stelzriede, president of Alpine Bank Glenwood Springs. “This reinvestment into our community feels like a great way to commemorate our anniversary.”
Glenwood Springs Ford is giving away $200 in Glenwood Gold with a purchase of a new or used car of $5,000 in value, or more, between June 20 and July 31, the release said. For more information, visit gwsford.com.
“Glenwood Gold is a great way to jumpstart business in our community again as we start to return to normal. We are very happy to be working with the Chamber to help reach the goal of $100K,” says Steve Nilsson, General Manager of Glenwood Springs Ford.
Glenwood Insurance will be giving Glenwood Gold to recognize employees on a weekly basis.
“We give people RISE weekly awards for exhibiting our core values (Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence). … We are hoping to award our employees with Glenwood Gold to support the local business community while recognizing the great work of our staff,” said Ian Exelbert, owner/CEO of Glenwood Insurance.
To further stimulate Glenwood Springs’ economy, the tourism promotion department of the GSCRA will be gifting $100 in Glenwood Gold to the first 1,000 people who direct-book a two-night, weekday stay in Glenwood Springs from July 1 to Sept. 30. Reservations made June 8 or after are eligible, Langer said.
The lodging promotion is more restrictive than the overarching Glenwood Gold program.
““They have to stay at a hotel property within Glenwood Springs city limits,” Langer said.
The $100,000 for this lodging promotion is in addition to the $100,000 Chamber goal, Langer said, and the money comes from tourism funds and a match.
“We received $50,000 from the tourism promotion reserves to implement the program, and we just received a match on Monday from the county commissioners,” Langer said.
“This helps advertise that Glenwood Springs is open for business,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “This will benefit both Glenwood and Garfield County immensely, and not just the larger tourist attractions, but also the hotel and motels, the restaurants and the small retailers. They really need those tourism dollars and the increased traffic.”
The certificates can be used on a phone or hard copy.
“When you purchase it or when you receive it you get an email with the certificate, and it’s basically a QR code that you can present on your phone or you can print the certificate and hand it to the business,” Anderson said.
To keep things as simple as possible, the certificates must be closed out after the first use.
“The purchase has to be spent all in one place, so there’s no balance on it. … The store could give store credit or change back,” Langer said.
Glenwood Gold for the time being costs the chamber nothing.
“Because of COVID right now [the hosting company is] not charging a service fee, but they will eventually,” Anderson said.
“We’re really excited about this program, especially the partnership and collaboration opportunities it creates,” says Anderson. “Not only are individuals helping support local businesses, but businesses are helping each other, too.”
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