BIA Bucks big success in Ingersoll

Ingersoll, Ont. 'BIA Bucks, can be purchased at eight cents on the dollar, in increments of five, 10, and 25 dollars. (Marek Sutherland / CTV London)

Sue Reintjes welcomes customers waiting outside the Olde Bakery Cafe in downtown Ingersoll.

Through the pandemic that hasn’t always been the case, but those customers found ways to support the business.

“The customer support and community support was fantastic and it has been all along,” says Reintjes.

When the pandemic hit, and businesses were restricted or shut down completely, The local Business Improvement Association (BIA) looked for ideas where everyone could win.

“How do we give back to the customers who over the years have supported us?” Says Gordon Lesser, who is the Council representative on the BIA, and owns a Jewellery shop.

The idea they settled with is something they’ve done before, BIA Bucks.

“Our business association has put money away for a rainy day, and lets face it. Covid was about as rainy as you’re going to get business wise,” Lesser says.

The ‘bucks’ can be purchased at eight cents on the dollar, in increments of five, 10, and 25 dollars — but the shop owners aren’t losing out

“The BIA is subsidizing that 20 per cent. So the merchants don’t lose out at all,” says Reintjes

The program has been successful, over 40 businesses are taking part in it and over 180,000 ‘BIA Bucks’ have been sold. The BIA is hoping to continue the program until the end of the year.

“It’s a win win for everybody, everyone gets to shop local and merchants get business, it’s great.” says Reintjes.