The Hay River Chamber of Commerce has launched a new contest, which will be awarding a big prize – or more accurately an impressive collection of prizes – to one lucky shopper just before Christmas.
The contest, which started on Dec. 1 and will end on Dec. 21 with a draw for the prize, is called Santa’s Sleigh of Surprises.
The concept is that participating businesses will each donate a prize, which will not be revealed to shoppers until one winner gets to open them all.
“The winner will have no idea what they’re winning,” said Jacqueline Boyce, the executive assistant with the Chamber of Commerce.
The only clue will be the wrapped items on display at the Chamber of Commerce’s office until Dec. 21.
To enter, a shopper must buy an item at a participating business and write his or her name on the back of a receipt and place it in an entry box. (Or if the shopper wants to keep the receipt, the business will supply a paper entry form.)
“We’re just trying to support the local businesses in town,” said Boyce.
She suggested Santa’s Sleigh of Surprises based on her own experience of having won a similar contest in Innisfail, Alta., about 12 years ago.
“And that’s how I came up with the idea,” she said, noting she won thousands of dollars in merchandise and gift certificates.
As for the new Hay River version of the contest, Boyce had arranged the involvement of 20 businesses as of Dec. 6, and collected 15 prizes which now sit wrapped on a table at the Chamber of Commerce.
She is also hoping for more businesses to become involved, resulting in more prizes.
“I’m still working on it,” she said. “There are still some business owners that I haven’t approached and talked to yet.”
Boyce knows some of the prizes if they were submitted unwrapped and she wrapped them.
And she knows the combined approximate value of all the gifts.
“It’s probably sitting at about $3,000 right now,” she said on Dec. 6.
So far, the contest appears to be quite popular.
“I’ve gotten great feedback from some business owners,” said Boyce. “They’re quite happy with it. They were excited and more than happy to participate.”
One of the reasons for the contest is to give local shoppers a chance at a grand prize.
The Chamber of Commerce also has its annual Winter Road Coupon Contest, but that is for residents of other communities who shop in Hay River during the winter road season.
Santa’s Sleigh of Surprises will be open to both shoppers from Hay River and any other community.
Joe Melanson, the president of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce, is happy that Santa’s Sleigh of Surprises gives local residents a chance to participate in some kind of contest.
“Everybody likes to win something,” he said. “It’s only fair to open it up to the people that support our businesses year round, and that’s why we thought this initiative might work OK. It’s another way of saying thank-you to all our local supporters.”
Santa’s Sleigh of Surprises is an initiative of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Northern News Services Ltd., the publisher of The Hub.