Two chambers of commerce promoting online coupon deals

Jan 17, 2011

Two communities in West Michigan are trying an online coupon program to help spur the economy. The program called ‘Try it local’ is similar to Group-on.

A restaurant will offer a deal such as a 50% off $20 gift card. Customers love it because they get a $20 gift card for ten bucks. The restaurant loves it because they have more people coming to eat.

Kalamazoo Chamber President Steward Sandstrom brags how he got an hour massage for $30. That’s half off the going rate.

“I got more Smashburgers than I could eat in one sitting and I didn’t even pay as much as I otherwise would have and that’s just fantastic.”

The Kalamazoo Chamber launched ‘Try it local’ last month.  Try it local is a lot like other online coupon sites like group-on, except it takes a much smaller cut from the profit. Sandstrom says it sends roughly 40% more money back into the local economy.

“Many of the other national programs are just that. Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with a national retailer but we’re the local chamber of commerce. So we’re predisposed to work with the local mom and pops.”

Holland’s Chamber launched their first deal last week.

Liz Hoffswell is Vice President of Marketing at the Holland Chamber of Commerce. More than 450 people bought their first deal at the Eighth Street Grill. That’s a record for an inaugural deal.

 “They had been looking at several different coupon program and they were considering doing group-on. They liked this one better because they get more money back and they get it more quickly than working with group-on. So they were thrilled with the results.”

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