Fallon readies relaunch of ‘Buy Local’ campaign

Fallon is renewing its Live Local Fallon drive after learning a few lessons from the program’s first year.

The campaign was launched in July 2013 as a way to encourage residents to buy from local businesses. Consumers carried a “passport” that was stamped every time they purchased products or services from any of 165 participating businesses or attended local events or venues. A completed page, representing $250 in spending, could be entered for monthly prizes donated by local businesses and a final grand prize of a Toyota Corolla awarded this past June.

A total of 2,240 pages, amounting to more than half a million dollars spent at Fallon businesses, were submitted for the prizes, and the city considers the year-long drive a success.

“The community responded and they really love the program and want it to continue and grow,” said Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority.

So the city is restarting Live Local Fallon Nov. 1 with a few changes to improve it, said Gray.

The critique from some was the program wasn’t encouraging larger purchases of bigger ticket items such as furniture or tires, said Gray.

This time around, consumers will receive extra passport pages — 10 extra for purchases of $1,000 or more, for example – for bigger expenditures.

Another change is to the purchase types. Initially, the program required people to accumulate some stamps from attending local events or restaurants and casinos to complete a page in an effort to incentivize spending throughout the city and not just at retailers.

But Gray said it became too complicated and penalized people who couldn’t afford to attend events or gamble or play golf.

So those activities will still qualify for stamps in the coming campaign but won’t be required.

In addition, the value of each stamp is being lowered from $15 to $10 in purchases, said Gray.

And finally, to encourage even more participation, the monthly prizes are bigger.

Initially, prizes were donated by local businesses and were generally worth about $50. Now, the monthly prizes will include televisions and Apple iPhones and iPads.

The City of Fallon spent about $95,000 on printing passports and business banners, advertising and other costs associated with promoting the program.

Gray said the city should spend considerably less on the new campaign now that much of the infrastructure for it is already in place.

“Local spend is very important to communities and education is the first line of recruitment” said Gray. “But Fallon took it light years beyond that.”

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