Newspaper idea hopes to stimulate local economy
The second phase of the Echo Press' "Ready, Set, Save Spectacular," which is designed to stimulate the area's economy, will begin early Tuesday morning, August 4.
Starting at 7 a.m., readers can purchase gift certificates through the Echo Press that can be used to buy goods and services at nearly 120 area businesses.
The gift certificates are being sold to readers at a deep discount of 30 to 50 percent off the original price, but customers will receive the full-dollar benefit when they take those certificates to the business to go shopping.
For example, a certificate that has a $50 shopping value at a store can be purchased for just $30 from the Echo Press.
The value of the shopping cards ranges from $25 to $300, depending on the type of business.
"It's a win-win-win - for the community, for buyers and for businesses," said Jody Hanson, publisher. "It's hot summer savings to stimulate the economy."
More than 1,450 gift certificates will be available. Purchases can be made by shopping online through the newspaper's website at www.echopress.com, by calling the newspaper at (320) 763-3133 or by stopping at the Echo Press office at 225 7th Avenue East, Alexandria.
Not only will customers benefit by being able to stretch their shopping dollar further, but businesses will also benefit by getting customers in the door.
In the first phase of the "Ready, Set, Save Spectacular" promotion, businesses benefited by not having to pay up-front advertising costs to participate in a special "Ready, Set, Save Spectacular" section that was published in the Lakeland Shopping Guide on Sunday, July 26.
The project was designed to help businesses through the economic crunch and stimulate the local economy.
Instead of paying the regular fees for those ads, participating businesses instead provided gift certificates that the Echo Press will now sell to readers.
The newspaper retains the revenue generated from the sale of the certificates.
Participating businesses are located in Alexandria, Brandon, Nelson, Leaf Valley, Osakis, Miltona, Carlos, Sauk Centre and Elbow Lake.
Categories include: dining, entertainment and recreation; health and fitness; lodging and travel; retail; salon/spa and tanning; and services.
Shopping online for the certificates will be easy, said Hanson. Go to the Echo Press website and click on the "Ready, Set, Save" promotion area.
At 7 a.m. Tuesday, August 4, the selection of certificates will be visible and can be added to a shopping cart.
Before August 4, participants are encouraged to pre-register in order to make their shopping process quicker and more convenient.
Individuals without Internet access can also call the Echo Press and make purchases over the phone. Sales will not begin until 7 a.m. Tuesday, August 4.
Because shoppers know a good deal when they see one, Hanson said she expects more than 50 percent of the cards will be sold the first day. "You can't afford to pass this up," she said.