Shop Fresno's Finest campaign comes to an end

FRESNO, Calif.

Some retailers say few people have asked about the program, let alone buy into it. But other locally-owned business said the program did help bring in more shoppers.

While many are out running Sunday errands, the folks who own Jack's Carwash and J's Too Boutique in Northwest Fresno say they've been answering questions and selling gift certificates under the Shop Fresno's Finest campaign for the past three weeks.

"People have been coming in asking about it. Even if they didn't know about it, we were mentioning it," said J's Too Boutique employee Laura Beth Fanning.

Action News:"Were people buying it?"

Fanning: "Some people thought it was too good to be true."

The small business campaign was over at the end of the day on Sunday. For those who took part, they were able to spend from $20 for a $25 gift certificate up to $80 for a $100 gift card.

Laura Beth Fanning says her boss wishes Shop Fresno's Finest would have lasted longer to bring in more sales.

Over at Fresno Ag Hardware in Northeast Fresno, Adam Klusener said there hasn't been too much interest in the gift cards, but there is interest in buying local. "It's a nice deal, you can save a little bit of money, you can get some holiday shopping out of the way."

Still Klusener said any shop local campaign that brings in customers, even just a few, is a big help to his business and the local economy.

Marketing expert and Fresno State Economics Professor, Dr. William Rice, said in order for a shop local campaign to be effective its message really needs to be driven into the retailers and shoppers. "The problem is when you don't have buy in from the community, the media, and individual stores in general. It's nice idea, but it's not going to mature, and it's not going to have the kind of harpoon impact on the community that you need."

The program was one of several shop local efforts organized by Fresno city officials. Store owners say they hope the program comes back next year, but with a few tweaks -- such as extending the length of it.

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