CROWN POINT - The Essex County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has developed a program to assist local businesses who have endured a loss of revenue as a result of the unexpected closing of the Lake Champlain Bridge in Crown Point, New York on October 16, 2009.
The program evolved from meetings held in late 2009 with businesses in the Towns of Moriah, Crown Point and Ticonderoga coordinated by the Essex County IDA in conjunction with Empire State Development. "We gathered information and input from the local business owners' perspectives at these meetings to determine how best to address this unanticipated loss of commerce in those communities," said Carol Calabrese, Co-Executive Director of the Essex County IDA. "We used this information to submit a marketing proposal to Empire State Development, and were successful in receiving an award of $50,000 to develop and implement a marketing campaign to attract consumers and ease economic strain in the communities that were most severely affected by the bridge closure."
The new program promotes local businesses to local residents of both New York and Vermont with the theme: "Lets bridge together and buy local. Visit ShopChamplain.com. Together, we can keep our communities thriving."
"The "Buy Local" program allows residents to pitch in and directly help their neighborhood businesses by encouraging them with creative incentives to shop and dine at local establishments," said Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen. "The Towns of Moriah, Crown Point and Ticonderoga depend heavily upon the success of these small businesses, which are still facing tremendous challenges as a result of the unanticipated loss of customers due to the Champlain Bridge closure. I'm pleased that Empire State Development and the Essex County IDA have partnered together to offer the community an opportunity to become a part of the solution as we work towards sustainable economic recovery in the region."
The campaign begins this week, and includes a 4-color promotional brochure promoting the "Buy Local" program, which will be available at participating businesses, local Chambers of Commerce, at information centers along the I87 corridor and at the ferry landing in Crown Point. In addition to the brochure, local newspaper, radio, and billboard advertisements will drive consumers to the website where they can download and print coupons that are redeemable at participating local merchants. "The online coupons represent value-added opportunities for consumers, such as a percentage off retail prices or buy one, get one free promotions," said Calabrese. "The online mechanism allows merchants to add their own coupons to promote their products."
Along with the brochure, printed $1 OFF coupons will be distributed at the Crown Point ferry landing along with the "Buy Local" brochures. The $1 OFF coupons allow consumers $1 off any purchase of $5 or more at participating businesses in Crown Point, Moriah and Ticonderoga. The participating businesses will then be reimbursed one dollar for each of the $1 OFF any purchases of $5 coupons they collect.
Upon notification of the award of the marketing funds, Essex County IDA hosted workshops to advise local businesses about how they might strengthen their current customer base and attract new customers, and to provide technical assistance and explain how they can take advantage of the "Buy Local" program.
The campaign is a collaborative effort between the IDA and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. Merchants in Crown Point, Moriah and Ticonderoga who are not already taking advantage of the program are invited to participate, and encouraged to contact Suzanne Maye at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center at 518.597.4649. Visit www.shopchamplain.com for more information.