Friday, August 12, 2011

Alliance sweetens discount deals

Atkinsonsí rewards cardholders

Express Staff Writer

Fly Sun Valley Alliance has made the deals associated with its Access discount card even sweeter this week, with the addition of five new local businesses.

Atkinsons' Markets partnered with the alliance last week to launch the Refer a Friend program, in which current cardholders can get a $50 gift card in exchange for recommending the card to a friend. The new cardholder would receive a $25 gift card.

"It's a huge bonus for a current cardholder," said Carol Waller, director of the Fly Sun Valley Alliance. "They've saved $50 just for referring someone."

Other new discounts include deals at the Board Bin in Ketchum, Bavarian Soul clothing store in Ketchum, 10 percent off anything at Fireplaces Etc, discounts on services with Western States Geothermal and free upgrades on any drink at Tully's Coffee,

The $99 Access Sun Valley card allows shoppers to buy goods at discounted prices at dozens of valley businesses covering a range of consumer interests—arts, restaurants, physical fitness, automotive, sporting goods, theater and a variety of retail outlets throughout the valley.

The card allows the nonprofit alliance to raise funds to support its initiatives and to contribute to minimum revenue guarantees, which help keep flights coming into the valley. The Access Sun Valley card program is part of that fundraising effort, but also provides a way for local businesses to promote themselves and motivate traffic into their stores.

Waller said she's gotten several calls from local business owners wanting to join the program since the card's relaunching in May.

"I just got a call from someone today who said, 'Some of my competitors are in the program. How can I join?'" Waller said.

The alliance's goal is to have 100 participating businesses by mid-August. With more than 85 currently participating and five new businesses joining this month, Waller said she hopes the momentum carries into card sales.

"I don't have an expectation, but I am certainly hoping," she said. "I think people are jazzed about the new program."

Waller said that between the Atkinsons' gift card and discounts on Alaska Airlines flights—$89 to Los Angeles and $69 to Seattle each way—the card more than pays for itself.

The alliance hopes to sell 500 cards by Oct. 1, to raise what Waller calls a "substantial" amount for the minimum revenue guarantees that keep air service coming to Sun Valley.

About 165 cards have been sold since the card's relaunch on May 7.

Katherine Wutz:

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