Despite hiccups, state calls buy local voucher program a success

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Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 4:53 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 7:28 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters who scored a coupon to a local businesses through a buy local program have until the end of October to use them. It wasn’t without a few hiccups though.

More than 20,000 Vermonters applied for shop local coupons through a state effort to help boost the economy.

When the buy local program went live Tuesday, nearly all of the 14,000 vouchers were gobbled up in minutes.

The huge flood of people applying overwhelmed the website and caused technical difficulties for some who never saw a confirmation code.

Out of the $500,000, $425,000 went to the coupons, and $75,000 went to the Massachusetts-based web firm Nift.

Despite the bumps, state leaders called the rollout a success.

“A lot of the reason there were some delays in getting codes out to people and some people were disappointed that they didn’t receive an offer was because we wanted to achieve equity across the state. That takes a little bit of time when you out those extra guardrails on,” Vt. Tourism Commissioner Heather Pelham said.

According to state leaders, 91 percent of the more than 1,000 businesses who participated will get money from the program.

The Vermont Senate is considering a separate $50 million shop local proposal that would give people $150.

State leaders say if the program is approved, they will work to better let Vermonters know how the process works and what to expect.

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