How to boost your town’s economy with plastic cards?

How to boost your town’s economy with plastic cards

There are roughly 11,000 people living in Fruita who may be eating and shopping a lot somewhere other than where they live.

The way city officials see it, there’s no reason they can’t do those things at the west end of the Grand Valley. And they’re hoping to give them some incentive to do just that and at the same time inject some life into a middling local economy.

The city has worked with the Fruita Chamber of Commerce and Grand Junction marketing firm Cobb & Associates to launch a buy-local campaign known as the Fruita Treasure Club.

Roughly 14,000 households in Fruita, Loma, Mack and the west end of the Redlands will soon receive in the mail a pair of plastic Treasure Club cards similar to grocery store discount cards. Cardholders can then use the cards to receive discounts at participating Fruita businesses.

Although the cards are going out to just a fraction of the population in Mesa County, anyone can obtain a card by filling out a form at the Fruita Civic Center or the chamber office.

“The whole idea is when the business community does well, the city of Fruita does well, and so we’re just trying to promote all the business we can,” City Manager Clint Kinney said.

Staff with the city and chamber spent weeks going door-to-door, letting businesses know about the program and asking them to sign up. More than 50 have registered so far. Residents can learn which businesses are participating by looking for window decals or logging onto http://www.FruitaTreasureClub. com. The Web site will also list the deals being offered by each business.

Russ Parker, co-owner of The Feed Lot, is offering 10 percent off any breakfast, lunch or dinner;.

“Reaching out to all of Mesa County is a good thing for us,” Parker said. “We want to put the dollars right back where the dollars are coming from.”

The city ponied up the $15,000 it cost to produce the plastic cards and promotional materials.

The program is similar to one initiated last week by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Eric Mello, marketing director for Cobb, said he hopes the Fruita and Grand Junction programs complement each other.

“They’re designed to do the same thing, which is keep the doors open around this town,” he said.

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