To help bolster local shopping, The Inter-Mountain will launch its "I Shop Locally" rewards program on Jan. 5.
"The program rewards residents who do business with local merchants and businesses," said Don Smith, general manager of The Inter-Mountain. "Each time shoppers make a purchase or do a transaction at a participating store or business, they can get their 'I Shop Locally' rewards card stamped. After three stamps, they can drop that rewards card into the collection box at any participating store or business. That rewards card acts as an entry and gives each participant a chance to win the $2,009 grand prize and the $50 weekly prize. After completing one card, they can pick up another card and start the process over. You can register as many times as you like. Those who do the most business with local stores and businesses have the best chance of winning the prizes."
According to Smith, the goal of the program - part of The Inter-Mountain's continuing effort to support the local business community - is to encourage residents to patronize local shops and businesses in January and February, which are traditionally the slower business months.
"We hope that one of the results of the program will be increased activity for local businesses," Smith said. "The real emphasis behind the program, however, is to strengthen the bond between our residents and the business community. I think both groups appreciate each other and this program gives them a way to show it.
According to Smith, participating shops and businesses will be encouraged to offer "I Shop Locally" specials on merchandise and other rewards.
Smith said the staff at The Inter-Mountain has put a great deal of thought into the "I Shop Locally" program.
"I believe it to be a long-term program that could continue for many years to come," he said. "This is The Inter-Mountain's way of kicking off the program and at the same time showing its support for the community. If this program encourages residents to spend a little more money with the local business community, then we've achieved our goal," Smith said. "I guess this is a small town version of an economic stimulus plan."
Merchants who participate in the program will be listed in 50 full-page advertisements that will help shoppers find them, and will receive an "I Shop Locally" Rewards Center Poster, a registration box, registration cards and a stamp. Merchants wishing to participate or request more information may do so by calling 636-2127 or fax The Inter-Mountain at 636-8252.
According to Ed Griesel, president of the Downtown Merchant's Association, the flyer being prepared for distribution at this winter's tourism trade shows is nearly ready to go to the printer. After being presented at Tuesday's merchants meeting, it was to be "fine tuned" by Griesel, Sue Pifer, owner of Elkins Sewing Center, and Dennis Lively, operator of www.elkinslive.com, and upon final review will be sent to the printer.
In the unlikely event you are not familiar with the flyer, or leaflet as some refer to it, it is a four-fold color document advertising the shopping opportunities in the whole of Historic Downtown Elkins rather than focusing on a few individual entities.
Griesel told me after the meeting on Tuesday that he is greatly pleased with the enthusiasm with which the merchants worked together in planning and designing the flyer.
"I do wish there had been more of our businesses, especially those located right in the heart of downtown Elkins, involved in getting it ready, though," he said. "It is meant to help bring tourists into the downtown shopping and I believe it will - that will help everyone. The owners and operators of our two main attractions, the excursion trains and the American Mountain Theater, have put a lot of effort in trying to get people across the street and into downtown Elkins; this is our way of helping ourselves."
Beverly is hosting an "Old Fashioned" Beverly Christmas today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Planners of the event extend a hardy welcome to come enjoy holiday cheer and charm in their quaint valley town.
Residents, shoppers and visitors alike will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the original Randolph County Courthouse - 1808-2008. Other activities include punched-tin holiday ornament demonstrations and sales, and the Beverly Print Shop will feature limited editions of the Beverly Holiday print. The Beverly Presbyterian Church Holiday Bazaar and Luncheon will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch costs only $6 and includes soup, salad, sandwich, dessert and drink.
A serenade of Christmas music will provide the background for Beverly's own Victorian Santa to hear Christmas wishes. Refreshments will be available. A local history book sale will be ongoing at the Randolph County Museum. "Christmas 1863 - living history in the home of one of Beverly's most famous residents - and an evening of fireside readings and music from the 1863 war-time letters of the Chenoweths" will take place at the Chenoweth house. Reservations are required for this event and may be made by calling 636-2650.
For more information, call 637-7424 or visit the events calendar at www.historicbeverly.org.
Artists at Work, located at 329 Davis Ave. is hosting a holiday open house today from noon to 5 p.m. Artisans extend their invitation to "stop in and meet them." Gift-wrapping, door prizes and holiday specials will be featured. Refreshments will be served.
To help celebrate the Christmas season, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will be featuring a two-hour children's train interactive that includes experiencing a lively staged reading of the classic Christmas favorite "Frost the Snowman" presented by actors of The Old Brick Playhouse. Young riders will also enjoy face painting, seasonal refreshments and a visit from Santa himself on board the New Tygart Flyer.
All trains depart from the Elkins Depot. Today's runs will leave the depot at 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. There will be only one train on Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be two runs on Dec. 13, the first at 11 a.m. and then again at 2 p.m. The final run on Dec. 14 will depart the station at 2 p.m. Fees for these runs are $30 for adults and $25 for children age 11 and younger.
These special Christmas season runs will also include a Holiday Cheer Parlor Car for those ages 21 and older only. Cost for the parlor car is $40.
For reservations, call 1-877-686-7245 (1-877-MTN-RAIL).
The Children's Advocacy Center is hosting an open house on Dec. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sharon Bedford, the new executive director, extends an invitation for all to "come, have a bowl of soup and see our new digs." The agency is located at 313 Henry Ave., next door to United Way's new office. No RSVP is required - just show up for a warm bowl of soup (and maybe some crackers) and enjoy a couple hours of Christmas season networking with friends and perhaps even make a couple new ones.
Nominations are being taken for the 2009 class of Leadership West Virginia. People interested in submitting the names of nominees for the program's class of 2009 are invited to go to the LWV Web site www.leadershipwv.org. Applications of nominees must be completed and submitted by Dec. 31.
Leadership West Virginia is an annual eight-month education and leadership development program affiliated with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. For 18 years, Leadership West Virginia has worked to identify emerging leaders, enhance their personal leadership skills and enrich their knowledge of issues and opportunities in the Mountain State. For more information about Leadership West Virginia, go to www.leadershipwv.org or call Pam Ferris at 342-1497.
The singing group Lucky Enough is now performing its Christmas program at the Elks Club. Including tonight, there will be only three more performances before the group begins its winter break, to begin again, hopefully in the not too distant future. It's a great show - make the opportunity to go see them.