BETHEL — The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce has stepped up efforts to encourage shopping locally by introducing the Mountain Money eCard, a digital gift card that can be purchased online and used at any of list of 18 merchants and growing.

“Shopping as locally as possible is always important, but right now we really have to ask ourselves, ‘who do we want to still be here when the pandemic is all over?’” said Jessie Perkins, executive director of the chamber. “The Mountain Money eCard is the ideal gift for anyone who lives locally or plans to visit the Bethel area and is committed to supporting its business community.”

The Mountain Money eCard can be purchased at www.bethelmaine.com/mountainmoney. It can be sent to recipients via email or text, or can be printed to be given as a physical gift. It is simple to use: the customer presents the eCard at checkout and the merchant processes it through its usual credit card system. Because it is purchased online, anyone from anywhere can purchase it to send to someone living in or planning to visit the Bethel area.

Eighteen businesses now accept Mountain Money, including: Bethel Toys & Trendz, Elements Art Gallery, Gneiss Spice, Good Food Store & Catering Co., Harvest Gold Gallery, Little Bits Consignment, Pooh Corner Farm Greenhouse & Florist, Revival Boutique, River Haus & Well, River Lanes, Sport Thoma, Steam Mill Brewing, Stony Brook Variety, The Barn Collection, The Gem, True North Adventureware, and Western Maine Supply. An individual Mountain Money eCard may be used at multiple locations until its value is fully spent.

Sponsors have allowed the Mountain Money eCard to kick off sales with no fees for purchasers, merchants, or the chamber. Mahoosuc Realty and Maine Ski Lodging Co. are Gold Sponsors; Franklin Savings Bank, the Good Food Store, and Smokin’ Good BBQ are Silver Sponsors, and Androscoggin Valley Hospital is a Local Champion Sponsor.

Mountain Money will be available year-round and the value of the eCards never expires. Chamber member businesses who are interested in either accepting the eCard or in future sponsorship opportunities may contact Jessie Perkins at [email protected]

Studies have shown that local independent retailers recirculate 47% of their revenue back into the community, while only 14% of national chains’ revenue stays in the community. More dramatically, restaurants recirculate 73% of their revenue back into the community, versus only 30% for national chains.  By supporting local businesses, more money continues circulating through the local communities: profits paid to local business owners, wages paid to local workers, goods and services procured locally for internal use or resale, and charitable giving within the community.

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