Jessie Duke, of Soldotna, browses books with 7-month-old Danny Dommek on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at River City Books in Soldotna, Alaska. River City Books participated in the 2020 shop local program in Soldotna. The city is bringing the program back for a second time this holiday season. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jessie Duke, of Soldotna, browses books with 7-month-old Danny Dommek on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at River City Books in Soldotna, Alaska. River City Books participated in the 2020 shop local program in Soldotna. The city is bringing the program back for a second time this holiday season. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna shop local returns for 2nd year

The city council set aside $350,000 in leftover CARES funds for the program.

Shoppers can start submitting receipts for vouchers Monday as part of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own” shop local program, which will run through Dec. 15. The program, which had a successful first run last year, aims to incentivize shopping at Soldotna businesses by awarding $100 in vouchers to shoppers who spend $200 on discretionary items at participating businesses.

Discretionary purchases include purchases made at places like restaurants and cafes as well as on things like clothing, books, jewelry and collectibles, among other things. Non-discretionary purchases that are ineligible under the program include money spent on things like groceries, fuel, mortgage or rent payments or medical bills.

To receive vouchers, shoppers submit up to 10 receipts totaling at least $200 on discretionary purchases to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce online or in person. Receipts must be readable and itemized, and must show the date of purchase, the name of the business and the full total.

The program is made possible by funds the City of Soldotna received via the federal CARES Act and is offered by the city in partnership with the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. Last year’s program generated more than $850,000 worth of economic activity and saw more than nearly 3,000 shoppers receive vouchers, according to a report from the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

The city council approved about $215,000 for the program last year and had to increase the amount halfway through due to high demand. For this year’s program, the council set aside $350,000 in leftover CARES funds; roughly $40,000 will be used to cover administrative costs.

Vouchers can be picked up in person at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce or can be mailed to the shopper’s address.

More information about the program can be found on the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce’s website at visitsoldotna.com.

The article has been updated with the correct web address for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

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

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