The holidays can be a celebration of family, tradition and gift giving — and traditionally spending a wad of cash on gifts for the family. In an effort to keep those spent dollars in the community, some of Laramie’s economic development organizations are partnering with businesses for the annual Hometown Holiday Hurrah.
“It’s a fun way for people to shop at home for Christmas,” Laramie Chamber Business Alliance Vice President of Membership Josie Molloy said. “These events are important because it gets the whole community involved. We’d rather see them spend their dollars here than go to Cheyenne or Fort Collins, (Colorado).”
Unlike Shop Small Saturday, which focuses on driving shopping traffic for a single day with sales incentives, the Hometown Holiday Hurrah is a weeks-long raffle event for jingle bucks.
“Jingle bucks are just like gift certificates that you can spend at any of the participating businesses, Molloy said.
Two gift certificates worth $500 each are slated to be drawn at 1 p.m. each Saturday for the next three weeks. Starting Saturday, Molloy said the winning tickets will be drawn at the Bent and Rusty, 308 S. Second St., but raffle participants can listen for the winning numbers at any of the participating businesses, a full list of which can be found at www.laramie.org/membership/annual-events/hometown-holiday-hurrah. If a participant at a business other than the drawing location has the winning ticket, Molloy said they have five minutes to show the clerk who will give them a secret hotline number to call and redeem their prize.
“The drawing usually lasts about an hour,” she said. “But it might go over if we don’t immediately get our two winners.”
If a winning ticket is not claimed in five minutes, it is put back in the tumbler and another ticket is drawn, Molloy said.
“The participating businesses have to give you one ticket,” she said. “But usually, if you spend more at their store, they are more likely to give you more tickets. So, it’s like a spending incentive.”
The drawing itself is typically hosted as an event at each location, including treats and entertainment. On Dec. 9, the drawing is slated to be hosted at the University of Wyoming University Store, in the UW Wyoming Union, and on Dec. 16, Molloy said it would be hosted at Adventure Dodge, 1565 N. Pierce St.
“Each participating business usually does something unique and interesting for the drawing — provided they are open that day,” she said.
The Hometown Holiday Hurrah was started in Laramie more than 15 years ago by the Laramie Chamber of Commerce, but in recent years, Molloy said the LCBA has partnered with the Downtown Laramie Business Association and My Hits 106 radio station to host the event.
While the LCBA does not track the event’s sales results, she said participation has been strong in the last decade, with 65 businesses participating in 2016. This year, however, participation waned to only 50 businesses.
“We’re not really sure why participation dipped,” Molloy said. “But, we think it will grow in the next few years because of our joint partnership with the DLBA and Hits 106.”