OCEANSIDE — October is traditionally a slow month for sales in downtown.
But Main Street Oceanside, a pro-business organization, is in the midst of its fourth annual shop local event, which spans all of October.
Gumaro Escarcega, Main Street Oceanside program manager, said the goal is to drive traffic and promote those businesses participating, along with all the offerings of downtown.
San Diego County, he said, awarded the organization a grant to fund the event, invest in downtown and promote local businesses.
“It’s a really cool opportunity to highlight what we have and the prizes,” Escarcega said. “It’s an unlimited amount of receipts you can enter. It’s just a way to help get the word out and improve sales.”
The prizes are impressive, too, and include a diving gear set from Meric Spearfishing, a telescope from Celestron Telescope Nextstar, a custom surfboard from Whitlock Industries and a Scott Aspect Bicycle.
The overall goal, though, is to beef up business in October and bring more awareness to the offerings in downtown after the tourist season.
“It’s encouraging people to come to Oceanside and shop,” Escarcega said. “We are asking them to shop just to encourage them to shop.”
The first year of the shop local program started with a bang, he added, with $15,000 in receipts collected. The past two years, however, sales have been about $10,000 through participating businesses.
The difference, he said, was a foreign family who was visiting an international surfing competition spent $3,000 to $4,000 and won several prizes in the first year.
Now, the challenge, Escarcega said, is to grow the event and encourage locals and North County residents to support those local businesses in Oceanside.
“I saw some good improvements last year where people are talking about it and supporting it,” he added. “The thing is not the receipts … it’s more about encouraging people to shop.”
Each week the event will have a drawing for a prize. Participants must spend $50 and for every $50, they get another submission to the drawing. To submit the receipts, Escarcega said people can mail, drop off, scan and email, provide bank statements (minus the personal information) or call.
Also, anyone who bought tickets from Oct. 1 through Oct. 6 for the Taste of Oceanside can submit those receipts and qualify for the weekly drawing of their choice.
In addition, every Wednesday will be a two-for-one deal, which means for every dollar spent, Main Street Oceanside will count it as two and allow for more raffle submissions.