By Rizwana Shaikh, Federation of Calgary Communities
A decade old merchant discount program, bridges two communities together in mutual friendship and good business.
The Inglewood Community Association offers its members a discount at over 30 stores and restaurants in the area. The Ramsay Community Association heard about this amazing benefit and wanted their members to enjoy the discounts, too. With most businesses already honouring the Ramsay membership discount, and talks underway for a while, they finally formalized the agreement last year.
“We wanted to be able to offer the same thing,” said Erin Joslin, board member at the Ramsay Community Association.
She believes adding discount benefits to their annual community association membership has helped them increase the number of memberships sold and brought awareness about voting perks to residents. The merchants offering discounts also get free advertising because the Ramsay community newsletter features a page with a list and the discount available at each store or restaurant. They also coordinate the colour of their membership cards, and the merchants and discounts are the same in both communities.
“We’re pretty close between the two communities,” said Joslin.
“We had to make sure that we matched Inglewood so that it made sense,” she adds.
She remembers neighbours calling her and asking to sign up for the membership after seeing the newsletter. They filled numerous new memberships because of the added benefit.
Naomi Withers, membership director at Inglewood said their main street has remained vibrant because of the discount.
“(Our) goal is to promote shopping local,” says Withers.
Residents see the immediate benefit added to the annual membership, and it promotes them to stay local and save some money in the long run. Non-residents aren’t forgotten either, as they’re able to get an associate membership which gives them access to the discounts as well. The two communities plan to continue working together and add more local businesses to the discount program.