Small businesses throughout Laramie will be able to see the physical impact shopping local can make as the Laramie Boomerang and UniWyo Federal Credit Union start the $2 Challenge this week.
Holiday shopping is right around the corner, and this year, the Boomerang and UniWyo are challenging residents to pledge to spend $100 of their typical shopping budget at local businesses rather than online or big-box retailers in Cheyenne or Fort Collins, Colorado.
“We’re not asking them to spend all their money locally — what we’re saying is at least pledge to spend $100 locally, because that boosts the local economy,” said Gary Loftus, regional general manager for the Laramie Boomerang, Rawlins Times and Rock Springs Rocket Miner.
Folks are encouraged to exchange a $100 bill for $2 bills at UniWyo, which can then circulate around Laramie. UniWyo will exchange the bills to $2 bills for free.
“We’re passionate about supporting the Laramie community,” said Mindy Uitterdyk, UniWyo’s vice president for marketing. “The $2 Challenge allows business owners and community members to visually see the impact that they’re making in Laramie.”
She added with each bundle of bills exchanged at the credit union, people will be entered to win an additional $100 in $2 bills.
“Whether they’re a member of UniWyo or not, we invite the community into either of our Laramie branches to exchange their cash for $2 bills to shop local,” Uitterdyk said.
While shop local campaigns have been growing more popular in recent years, Loftus said the $2 challenge is “a tangible way for the merchants and people in the community to see it.”
Businesses are also encouraged to spend the $2 they receive, with the goal of having them circulate all over Laramie during the holiday season.
“We hope then the merchants don’t deposit them, so we have a lot of those $2 bills and a lot of conversation going on in the community about buying local and supporting local businesses,” Loftus said.
Those who want to accept the $2 challenge can go to www.laramieboomerang.com/2buckchallenge to fill out the form, call the Boomerang office at 755-3322 to have a name added or fill out the form in the print edition of the Boomerang.
Those who make the pledge will have their name printed in the Boomerang several times throughout the holiday season.
“We encourage people, too, when they get their $2 bills to post on social media, go on our Facebook,” Loftus said. “UniWyo is doing the same thing.”
The supply of $2 bills is limited.