Archives for February 2014

To Everything There is a Season

HodsonEvery once in a while, a person finds themselves having to make a difficult decision, weighing the pros and cons of a situation, and deliberating the effect a decision may have. For myself, Chamber staff, and our Board of Directors, one particularly tough decision has been made. You may have heard about it, and it’s true…Hutch Bucks are retiring.

I know this announcement may be surprising to some of you who have been diligent supporters of this program, but I can assure you, this decision was not made in haste. After many conversations with stores in town, hours of research into other options, and discussions as a staff and with our board of directors, it’s time. I know you are asking “why?” so here are some of the answers to questions you may be asking.

What were the largest challenges of the Hutch Bucks program?

◦ Declining use of Hutch Bucks over the past eight years
Fewer purchases are made by larger businesses, due to changes in IRS reporting regulations and needs of each company.
◦ Increased errors with check processing programs
Larger companies utilize processing machines which rejected Hutch Bucks after mistakes were made during processing. Right now, only one large Hutchinson retailer is able to accept Hutch Bucks.
◦ Fewer businesses accepting Hutch Bucks
With the digital age, comes plastic cards. Fewer businesses accept personal checks, and while following their check acceptance policies, also do not accept Hutch Bucks.

When will we stop selling Hutch Bucks?
February 28, 2014, will be the last day we sell Hutch Bucks. Hutch Bucks can be used at local businesses until February 28, 2015. After February 28, 2015 the Hutch Bucks account will be closed and no Hutch Bucks will be processed.

Do Hutch Bucks expire?
Yes, all Hutch Bucks are stamped with a red expiration date on the lower right hand corner.  Businesses should not accept expired Hutch Bucks, but please refer them to our office.

What happens if you have expired Hutch Bucks right now?
You may bring expired Hutch Bucks to the Chamber office to be exchanged for the same value. We will exchange expired Hutch Bucks through noon on December 31, 2014.  All exchanged Hutch Bucks will have an expiration date of February 28, 2015.

What options are now available?
You can still use your Hutch Bucks!  Ask any business you are visiting if they accept Hutch Bucks and remember to use them before they expire!  Looking for something to do instead of Hutch Bucks?  Hutchinson is so very fortunate to have many businesses who offer their own gift cards. Please utilize these options as you consider gifts for friends and family, as well as businesses that have utilized Hutch Bucks for various programs. We did look into getting a Hutch Buck pre-paid card, however, the costs associated with them, and the inability to limit their use to Hutchinson made the option unfeasible.

The Chamber is not changing our philosophy on ‘buy local’, ‘shop small’ support, as it is very important to our community.  The Bring It Home Committee will be engaged in many activities to bring awareness to shopping local, just as they have been. This group is passionate and committed to helping and supporting our local businesses and “Bringing it Home” to Hutchinson.

In a season of change, be sure to see the opportunities…. There are MANY!