The program began two years ago by Allison Kalb, wife of Portsmouth City Mayor James Kalb, as a way to get people walking through downtown businesses.
“We missed last year, because I thought the Chamber was going to take it over, so we didn't have it last year,” Kalb said. “This year, the ladies from Main Street called and asked me to explain to them how this works, and how to do it.”
The way it works, she said, is customers pick up a Treasure Hunt booklet at any of the sponsoring businesses listed below, or at the Welcome Center on Second Street. Each booklet has a complete list of all participating businesses, and as customers visit these shops, they will be given a sticker for their booklet.
“First they have to go in and say ‘Merry Christmas' and ask for a sticker. They don't have to buy anything, but the idea is just to get people downtown walking into shops and see what we have down there,” Kalb said.
Once the customer has collected 19 stickers, they'll return their booklet to the Welcome Center for a chance to win one of numerous prizes donated by various merchants.
“The main reason behind it is just to get people downtown, and see what we have in Portsmouth, and try to keep them shopping locally at Christmastime,” Kalb said.
Prizes include a Tote Bag from Acadia Dance Wear, a $30 Gift Certificate from Estep Sporting Goods, a Jewelry Set of Earrings and Necklace from The Ritz, a men's Bulova watch from Kay Jewelry Company, a Facial Makeup Sampler from Merle Norman, a Balloon Bouquet from the Costume Emporium, a TEAC SL-A200 phonograph/CD/AM-FM Stereo System from The Emporium at Portsmouth and other prizes from Kidz Biz, Morgan Brothers Jewelers, Pampered Princess, Smith Discount Drug Company and others.
Booklets are available for customers to begin their treasure hunt now. Drawings will take place on Dec. 23, for prize pickup on Christmas Eve. The first name drawn will be given the largest prize, with prize amounts decreasing with each following drawing.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.