Chamber selling ‘MattiBucks’ to spur local holiday shopping

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12/06/2011 1:16 PM |

In an effort to piggyback on the success of last month’s Small Business Saturday, the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce is selling gift cards — called “MattiBucks” — to promote holiday shopping at local stores.
Chamber president Donielle Cardinale said the Visa gift cards will be available for purchase this week in Mattituck at Barth’s Pharmacy, Suffolk County National Bank and Cardinale Realty Group.
Although the gift cards are designed to be used locally, they can be redeemed at any store where Visa is accepted, Ms. Cardinale said. Two cards are available in two amounts, $50 and $25.
“The idea is to encourage people to shop locally,” she said. “We can’t force anyone to use it at a small businesses, but, when they pull it out of their wallet, we hope the card’s design and its slogan, ‘Save Local, Shop Local,’ will remind them to support local businesses.”
The chamber, which came up MattiBucks last month, decided not to pursue the creation of a gift card designed exclusively for North Fork businesses this year because of time constraints. Another concern is the expense of developing and installing machines at local businesses that accept such a gift card, she said.
“This was the most economic and easily accessible way to do it this year,” Ms. Cardinale said about MattiBucks. “It does cost us money to produce, but our feeling is that the real purpose of the chamber is to promote local business and we want to put more of our focus on developing projects that will specifically support our members and the local business community.”
In addition to promoting small business during the holiday season, Ms. Cardinale said another incentive to purchasing a MattiBucks gift card that the chamber is picking up the $5 activation fee.
So far, the chamber has ordered about 200 cards. If it’s successful, Ms. Cardinale said her group will expand on it next year.
“I think [MattiBucks] is catchy,” she said. “It’s definitely a conversation starter.”