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Wellesley offers up its own passport system

Hoping to raise the profile of local businesses and lure shoppers downtown, the Wellesley Board of Trade is launching a “Passport to Wellesley.”

The idea for the passport started with a question: how to get people downtown and into local businesses? When a member of the board of trade suggested the passport, everyone jumped at the idea, including the businesses they contacted to take part.

“They were all thrilled,” said Wendy Sauder, the organization’s treasurer.

The official launch will be Sept.15 at the Wellesley Fall Fair. To complete a passport, participants will have to visit each of the 12 local businesses taking part and collect a stamp from each one. When they walk through the doors with the passport, the businesses will be able to promote or explain what they do any way they like.

The winner will be drawn in November. One winner will receive $500 in Wellesley dollars, and two others will receive $250 each in Wellesley dollars, to be spent at the participating businesses.

The businesses taking part this year are Home Hardware, the cider mill, Hometown Video, the Pfeiffer gallery, Village Flowers and Gifts, Vibrant Life Massage Therapy, Leis Feed and Supply, the Wellesley Service Centre, Erb Financial Services, BioAg, Village Market and Pym’s Village Market.

Sauder explained that they decided to start small this year and expand the promotion next year. They’re hoping for 500 entries by November.

The promotion is open to anyone over the age of 18, resident or not.

“After all, the objective is to get people into the downtown, not just residents,” said Beth Schlueter, a member of the passport committee.

Sauder noted that there are a number of new residents in Wellesley village who commute to the city and do their shopping there, and may not be aware of what Wellesley has to offer.

“Wellesley has so many new residents,” she said. “Unless you go out and about, you’re not always going to know what’s in your backyard.”

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