Council in partnership with the Parkes Chamber of Commerce delivered the 2020 Shop Parkes this Christmas campaign from the 19 November to the 31 December. The campaign focused on the diverse retails and service offerings of the Parkes Shire, and the benefits that shopping local has on our community, especially following years of drought and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parkes Shire Councillor Alan Ward said, "After years of a crippling drought and a global pandemic, it was more important than ever to shop local and support our business community. It was wonderful to see our community stick together and support each other by shopping locally during last year's festive season.

"It was also pleasing to see such strong business participation with over 30 stores actively engaging with the campaign online, over 100 businesses promoting the campaign in-store, and a 15% increase in Shop Parkes Gift Card redemption stores from 85 to 98 stores, as a result of the campaign."

"Over $43,000 was loaded to Shop Parkes Gift Cards during the 6-week campaign and a record 90% redemption rate with $38,692 being spent at local business throughout Parkes Shire in the lead up to Christmas," said Cr Ward.

The Shop Parkes Gift Card Program has seen great success and value for the Parkes Shire over the past couple of years. Since its inception in December 2018, there has been $321,014 loaded onto Shop Parkes Cards and $206,957 redeemed, leaving $114,057 ready to be spent within over 90 local redemption stores.

The program, in partnership with Why Leave Town Promotions, was introduced to stimulate economic activity and drive spend to the local business community. Council initially invested in the program as part of its drought funding to local farmers. It's not too late to spend your gift card - the cards are valid for three years. To find out where you can load and redeem your Shop Parkes Gift Cards, head to www.visitparkes.com.au.

One of the ways local businesses were invited to participate in the campaign, was to dress up their shop window with Christmas lights and gift ideas. Parkes Shire Councillors Barbara Newton and Bill Jayet assisted with the judging and were pleased to announce Terry Bros Parkes as the winner of the best dressed window! They received $1,000 in marketing dollars to be spent with local suppliers of their choice.

Shop Parkes Gift Cards are the perfect gift all year round for that hard to buy for friend, family member or colleague. They also provide a great solution for organisational gifts and incentives. There is no cost for the card. Customers only pay for the amount they wish to load onto the card.

Are you a local business who would like to be involved? Contact the friendly team at Parkes Shire Council to find out more on 02 6861 2333 or email shop@parkes.nsw.gov.au.