Local merchants raised about $300 and 300 pounds of food for Share the Spirit and the Homer Community Food Pantry as part of Shop, Share and Win.
A promotion run by 10 retail stores, customers who visited all 10 participating venues and got a card punched could enter to win one of 10 $50 gift certificates offered by the stores.
Now in its third year, the stores put together the effort to “get people into our stores and for them to know what was available in Homer,” said Claire Waxman, co-owner of Homer Saw &Cycle with her husband Bob Schmutzler and one of the promotion’s organizers.
Shop, Share and Win ran from before Thanksgiving to last Saturday.
A drawing for gift certificates was held Dec. 2 at The Classic Cook, one of the participating stores. Waxman said about 700 people participated.
“We get a lot of comments that people didn’t know how much was available in town. You didn’t have to purchase to particpate; you just had to come into the stores,” Waxman said. “We found a lot of people decided on purchases right then.”
Waxman said she saw shoppers come down from the central Kenai Peninsula. One group of woman came to Homer just to go shopping here.
Shop, Share and Win was timed to run during the big Nutcracker Faire and Nutcracker Ballet weekend Dec. 2 and 3. She said customers tell them they like to shop in Homer because of the small stores and the quality and variety of merchandise they find here.
“I felt like it was a really good promotion. I think all of us liked it. Even if we didn’t see immediate purchases, people gained more knowledge of what our stores had,” Waxman said.
The 10 stores shared the cost of advertising and other expenses. In addition to Homer Saw &Cycle and The Classic Cook, other participating stores were Art Shop Gallery, Homer’s Jeans, Oodalolly, the Homer Bookstore, North Wind, Homer Animal Friends, Sea Glo and The Wagon Wheel.
Waxman said the organizers keep the participating number at no more than 10, about the limit for a competition.
“We didn’t want to make it a task. We wanted to keep it fun,” she said.