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Olivia businesses use holiday season to say thanks

Michelle Ramirez is surprised with a Corn Capital Cash gift by Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Standfuss.

OLIVIA -- This marks the 20th anniversary of a unique holiday tradition offered by Olivia businesses.

Along with the usual holiday events and promotions, businesses in Olivia sponsor the "Spirit of Christmas.''

At random times, shoppers are surprised with the gift of a $5 Corn Capital Cash certificate. Nancy Standfuss, director of the Olivia Chamber of Commerce, distributes hundreds of dollars' worth of the certificates to local shoppers during the holiday season.

She makes a point of visiting a variety of businesses and distributing the certificates to the first shoppers she encounters. A volunteer helper takes on the duties on some days.

Standfuss said the annual tradition was started as a way to say "thank you'' to local shoppers. Its purpose remains the same today.

"It has a special feel to it,'' said Standfuss. "It's a surprise and it has a random act of kindness feel to it,''

Saying ''thank you'' to customers is part of the special experience that comes with shopping where people are called by their names, she pointed out.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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