A central Wisconsin credit union has been helping local businesses thrive through a shop local loyalty and rewards program.
Park City Credit Union has been encouraging its members to sign up for the nationwide program Buzz Points for the past two years.
"We want people to shop local," Park City Credit Union President and CEO Val Mindak said. "We want to encourage our members to use local merchants."
The program rewards members by shopping at locally owned and operated businesses.
"This program is terrific," Mindak said. "What it does is encourage people to shop local, then what they can do is turn around and get points and redeem them to get local benefits."
Members of the program say they joined to help the community.
"To support the local merchants," Buzz Points reward member Mark Plucinski said. "We believe in supporting the local merchants here in Merrill."
There are currently over 60 merchants throughout the central Wisconsin area with more being added every week. Although First Street Coffee Station is newer to the program, they know the benefits of shopping locally.
"Well that's how places stay in the community," First Street Coffee Station owner Donald Swan said. "If nobody supports local businesses, they'll pretty much dry up."
According to industry experts, studies show that 45 percent to 58 percent of local businesses' profit stays in the community.
"We know that when people shop local," Mindak said. "The fact that they're keeping their money local and it's working local, it's so valuable to our communities."
Members of the program have already earned over 6 million points while the program continues to grow.