A new discount shopping card offered through the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce could benefit the Braselton Community Improvement District (CID), according to those promoting the venture.
“Any business can really do this,” said Stephanie Sokenis, executive director of Shop in Gwinnett — a program offered through the chamber of commerce.
Shop in Gwinnett targets consumers, businesses and local charities through the card — which offers discounts, specials and other promotional services and goods for retail stores, restaurants, services and entertainment throughout Gwinnett County.
For $20 a year, consumers may use the card at participating businesses. Since Shop in Gwinnett was launched three weeks ago, it has attracted 60 merchants to the program with an additional 20 slated to join soon, according to Sokenis.
The cards are sold through local nonprofit groups — which will receive 50 percent of the sales of the Shop in Gwinnett cards it sells. The cards will be personalized with the name of the consumer on it, along with the logo of the nonprofit group that sold the discount cards.
Most of the cards will likely be sold through a chamber website with the option of designating a specific charity, Sokenis explained. There is no upfront costs for nonprofit groups to participate in Shop in Gwinnett.
Organizers of Shop in Gwinnett asked the Braselton CID — which serves businesses along Ga. Hwy. 211 in Barrow, Hall and Gwinnett counties — to participate as a nonprofit group in the program.
Jennifer Dees, Braselton town manager and a member of the CID board of directors, said the discount card would be a free resource to promote the CID — which recently launched a new website and Facebook page.
Scott Snedecor, co-owner of ACE Hardware in Braselton and development partner of Liberty Village, said he didn’t want to potentially send customers elsewhere in Gwinnett County when the CID is trying to get folks to shop and dine in the town.
“Our focus is right here,” said Snedecor, who is chairman of the Braselton CID.
In response, Dees said: “I saw this as an opportunity to get people from Lawrenceville to Braselton.”
Sokenis said consumers will follow the discounts and shop where there’s a deal. Consumers will also get regular e-mail promoting specials with the Shop in Gwinnett card and details when new businesses join the program.
Shop in Gwinnett is being heavily promoted by the chamber, including digital billboards on Interstate 85, newspaper ads, social networking sites and a dedicated website — www.shopingwinnett.com, according to Sokenis.
Snedecor said he wanted more time to evaluate the program before making a decision. The Braselton CID didn’t take any action on the proposal during its meeting on Monday.
In other business, the Braselton CID board of directors:
•learned that the board will need to call for an election caucus to name members to Post 1 and Post 3, currently held by Denzil Wasson, an owner of Discovery Point Child Development Center and Scott Snedecor. The election will be held on Monday, April 2. It will be open to those property owners of properties located in the CID.
•learned that the Georgia Department of Transportation is still reviewing permitting documents for the Braselton CID’s LifePath — a multi-use path that will connect residents and businesses along Ga. Hwy. 211 and Thompson Mill Road. The CID has two permits before the DOT — a revamped crosswalk at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 211 and Thompson Mill Road, and the remainder of the LifePath. A portion of the LifePath has been installed along Thompson Mill Road from The Gates of Braselton to Ga. Hwy. 211.
•approved a request by Independence Bank to include its property in the CID, which will now include 25 non-residential properties along Ga. Hwy. 211. The bank recently purchased the former building of Habersham Bank, which had a branch in Braselton at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 211 and Grand Hickory Drive. Independence Bank is the bank that issued the Braselton CID its $450,000 line of credit to build its LifePath.
•approved a bid by Wayne I. Bowen to handle the Braselton CID’s annual audit for an estimated $500 to $700. Another auditor submitted a bid for $4,000 to $5,000 for the work.
Good idea, seems like if Winder wanted to encourage shopping inside the city limits of Winder and downtown, it would or should have thought of this a long time ago. I'm sure there are a lot of businesses here that would participate top get the customers shopping in Winder...think about is Mr. Mayor.