The Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce sold $111,460 worth of Chamber Bucks since the program was revamped in November 2011. They haven't all been redeemed, Executive Director Jan Scarbrough said, but she's pleased that much money will be spent with Pratt merchants, re-circulate in the community, and generate $8,972.53 worth of sales tax.

"Dollars spent in the community help the whole economy," Scarbrough said. "Chamber Bucks encourage people to shop locally; if we don't shop locally then the local shops can't stay in business."

The Chamber Bucks, unlike the old gift certificates, are used just like a check; businesses deposit them with other receipts and get their money immediately. Record-keeping for both the business and the Chamber are greatly reduced.

The old gift certificates issued by the Chamber allowed a shopper to spend a small amount and get the rest back as change, to spend in Pratt or out of town. Chamber Bucks are issued in $10 and $25 denominations, and if the purchase doesn't meet that level, stores have the option of offering their own gift card or store credit, or encouraging the shopper to pick another item to make up the difference — or save the Buck for a bigger purchase.

Chamber Bucks must be redeemed with a Chamber of Commerce member business — a nice perk for their membership, Scarbrough commented. Neither the business nor the customer pays a handling fee.

Sales stay pretty steady throughout most of the year, as Bucks are given for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, babies, other occasions or as a thank-you gift, then spike around the holiday season. In 2012, between 1,700 and 1,800 Bucks were sold just prior to Christmas.