The Cortez Retail Enhancement Association has helped add more than $150,000 to the local economy over the last year.
Aiding the area’s economic engine, CREA’s primary focus is on promoting local business to local customers. CREA executive director Gayel Alexander said there were about 100,000 potential retail customers within a 100-mile radius of Cortez.
One of CREA’s biggest programs is Cortez Cash. Over the summer, the program was responsible for helping to drive $35,000 in sales across nearly 200 local retailers. Last Christmas, the project was responsible for more than $125,000 in sales.
“Customers appreciate it, because it allows them to stretch their money further, but the bigger picture is promoting local businesses,” Alexander said. “The stronger our local businesses are, the stronger our local community becomes.”
Under the program, shoppers who purchased $300 in Cortez Cash to be used during the six-week Christmas sale, for example, end up with $400 in buying power.
“People really appreciate the Cortez Cash program,” she said. “The flexibility is what’s so nice.”
Alexander said Cortez Cash could be spent only at participating retailers. She said those retailers benefit through advertising efforts undertaken by CREA.
“It’s a solid marketing plan for what we’re trying to accomplish,” she said.