Bixby, Broken Arrow offer incentives to buy local

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/03/2012 9:13 am Published: 12/01/2012 9:55 pm

As holiday shoppers hit stores over the weekend, more local communities were offering big incentives to spend that holiday cash close to home.

For the sixth year, Bixby is having its "Buy Bixby" program, and for the 18th year, Broken Arrow is offering its "Buy Broken Arrow" program.

Participating businesses give out raffle tickets for every $10 shoppers spend. Then on December 17th, both cities will have raffle drawings.

The incentive is the more people spend locally, the more chances they have to win grand prizes of $10,000 in both cities. In Bixby, four other people will also win $1,000 each. In Broken Arrow, second prize is $3,000, and third prize is $2,000.

Eighteen years ago, Broken Arrow started the first "buy local" campaign in Oklahoma. This year the city has 91 businesses participating, more than ever before.

"As that number grows every year and more people want to get involved, they're seeing the other stores' success with the program and then they're wanting to get involved," April Sailsbury, Vice President of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce, said.

Six years ago, Bixby started a similar program to stop all of its residents from going to Broken Arrow or Tulsa to spend their money during the holidays.

"We have increased each year," Trish Richey, Director of Economic Development for the City of Bixby, said. "This year we have 93 businesses participating."

Each of the six years of the program businesses have given away more tickets, including more than a million in 2011. And each year the program brings in more sales tax revenue for the city.

"Oklahoma is the only state in the nation that relies on sales tax to fund municipal budgets," Richey said.

More sales tax revenue means more police and fire protection, and other improved city services.

Andrew Nelson is the general manager at the Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Bixby, and says there's no doubt the "Buy Bixby" program has increased his restaurants business.

"We do probably about 120 cars in drive-thru every lunch hour from just 12:00 to 1:00, and everybody's asking for the "Buy Bixby" tickets," Nelson said.

The enthusiasm is just as great among shoppers in Broken Arrow, too.

"We shop it every year," Broken Arrow resident Sandi Sparks said. "Every year since it started we've shopped for the "Buy Broken Arrow" tickets."

"[I] have yet to win."

On Saturday, Sparks was taking advantage of the program while doing some Christmas shopping at Kay's Gifts. She said the chance to win $10,000 definitely encourages her to spend a little more to get more tickets.

And she's not the only one. Sailsbury said businesses around town keep running out of tickets.

"'We need to get more tickets.' And now they've come back in for their third time and their fourth time," Sailsbury said. "And we're noticing that they're getting more tickets than they had all season last year, and we still have two weeks to go."

"You hear the expression win-win," Richey said. "To me, it's a win-win-win. It's a win for the business, a win for the city, and a win for the customer."

In addition to Bixby and Broken Arrow, Sapulpa also has a campaign called "Keep It In Sapulpa" that offers incentives and prizes for spending.

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