Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai shop local program goes live Monday

The program aims to stimulate the city economy by incentivizing local shopping

Kenai shoppers will be able to take advantage of the city’s shop local program, called “Shop Here All Year in Kenai,” beginning Monday, when participating businesses will be able to begin issuing vouchers.

The program, which is being offered in partnership with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, aims to incentivize shopping at Kenai businesses by awarding vouchers to people who spend money on qualifying items at participating Kenai businesses to spend at those same businesses. People who spend $100 will receive a $50 voucher, while people who spend $200 will receive a $100 voucher.

Participating businesses will be allowed to begin issuing vouchers on Monday, Feb. 1 through April 1. Vouchers must be spent by April 30.

Discretionary purchases include money spent on clothing, sporting goods, art, jewelry, books, flowers or at restaurants, cafes and bars, among others. Non-discretionary purchases include money spent on groceries, fuel, utilities, rent, medical bills or prescriptions, among others.

Shoppers will be able to submit up to 10 receipts totaling at least $100, not including taxes or delivery fees or shipping, via an online form on the chamber website or in person at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Receipts must be readable, itemized and dated between Feb. 1 and April 1 of 2021. Receipts must also show the name of the businesses and the full purchase total. Shoppers will be able to pick up their vouchers at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce or can request that their vouchers be mailed to them.

The Kenai City Council approved $350,000 for the program last week. Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center Executive Director Brittany Brown said Friday that at least 10 businesses had already applied to participate in the program with more expected to apply over the weekend.

There is no deadline by which businesses must apply for the program, however, Brown emphasized that the earliest businesses sign up to participate, the longer they will be able to take advantage of the program.

Businesses interested in participating can apply on the Kenai Chamber’s website. In order to be eligible to participate, businesses must be located within Kenai city limits, must have had a valid State of Alaska business license as of Jan. 1, 2021, must be current in sales tax registration with the Kenai Peninsula Borough and not be a national chain or C Corporation traded on the U.S. stock exchange.

Businesses will be issued a check for the total amount of vouchers issued to their business by the Kenai Chamber once a week.

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center was not able to provide a list of which businesses would be participating in the program as of Friday.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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