Longview Main Street is encouraging residents to shop local this year by offering a prize contest for those who do.

Between now and Dec. 9, residents who shop local can upload pictures of receipts or purchases from local retailers for a chance to win prizes from Longview businesses.

Main Street Coordinator Melida Heien said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes people have become more cognizant of where they shop.

“More so than any other year, it is so important to support your local businesses,” she said.

Small, locally-owned retailers work within different budgets than big box stores and do not have as much money for marketing, she said. Additionally, local retailers do not have corporate support.

“When you spend money at a local business, it’s going to go further in a lot of different sectors of our community,” she said, adding that local retailers are owned by people who live here, and those people will reinvest that money into the East Texas economy.

To help encourage residents to shop local, Longview Main Street decided to reward those who do.

The group has set up a website where residents can upload pictures of their receipts or purchases from local businesses. Each photo submitted counts as one entry into Main Street’s prize drawing, Heien said. Residents can submit up to 10 photos each time they visit the link; the website also asks shoppers to fill out a form with contact information so they can be reached if they win a prize.

Residents can win weekly prizes from local businesses, and a grand prize drawing that features gifts from several local retailers will be awarded at the end of the contest. Heien said if more businesses are interested in participating in the prize drawing, they can contact her at (903) 239-5538.

For information about the contest, visit Longview Main Street’s Facebook page facebook.com/LongviewMainStreet/ and click on “Events.” In the “Events” section, visit the “Shop Local. Love Local and Win” page for more information.