Seymour Chamber launching Spring Fling Passport Program

One day in late 2020, Dan Robison saw a group of women walking around downtown Seymour with bags on their arms and passports in their hands.

That was confirmation to him that the Seymour Chamber of Commerce was helping give another reason for people to get out and shop local, he said.

Those women were part of the record-setting Holiday Passport Program offered by the chamber, which saw more than $160,000 in sales captured at local businesses.

As people shopped at participating stores from Nov. 28 to Jan. 4, they had their passports stamped based on how much they spent.

Once they had a completed passport, which is valued at $250, they turned it in at one of the local businesses or the chamber office, 105 S. Chestnut St., Seymour.

Then they were entered into a drawing for $25 items or services from the participating merchants or had a chance to win the grand prize, an overnight stay at West Baden Springs Hotel.

Given the success of the program, Robison, president of the chamber, decided it was time to try something new: Spring Fling Passport Program.

That’s a spring version of the Holiday Passport Program and will work the same way but with a different grand prize, dinner for two, an overnight cottage stay and a breakfast basket at Story Inn.

Spring Fling starts March 13 and runs through April 30.

“Definitely it was the positive response we saw from merchants and customers alike,” Robison said. “Then just the fact that the effects of the (COVID-19) pandemic, they are continuing into 2021, and so we thought this would be a great opportunity just to do it again in the spring, in a different season to highlight the importance of shopping locally.”

Look for the passport in Wednesday’s edition of The Tribune or The Jackson County Banner or pick one up at the participating businesses, listed online at

The grand prize once again is sponsored by Steve Silver RE/MAX Professionals. The winner will be announced May 7.

“We’re very grateful to Steve Silver. For several years now at least, he has sponsored the grand prize,” Robison said. “He does that just out of his commitment to small business in Seymour. Shopping local, that helps his business and what he does. It’s just part of that cycle. It just multiplies the efforts with everyone.”

With the most recent Holiday Passport Program, 44 businesses participated, and there was an increase of $60,000 in local sales compared to 2019.

Robison said that’s impressive given it was during a pandemic.

“It’s just a realization that the people that own and operate these local businesses, they are our neighbors, they are the people that we go to church with, our kids go to school with their kids,” he said.

“I think when we saw the struggle in our community with a lot of these small businesses, it awakened that community spirit in everyone, and I think it drove people to step away from the computer a little bit and find opportunities to shop local,” he said.

He recalled finding an old button in the chamber office with the message “Try Seymour first.”

“I think that’s great advice for today is if we’re looking for something, a gift item or something specific, try to find it locally first,” Robison said. “If you can’t, of course, there are all of the online options. But I think that ‘Try Seymour first’ is a great mentality, and I think that’s what we saw during the holidays this year.”

He hopes to see the momentum continue with Spring Fling.

“The holidays, everyone is kind of in that Christmas spirit, that spirit of thinking of others, and that’s just something we should replicate as citizens throughout the year, honestly,” he said. “It’s a continuation of that local spirit. I believe that local spirit lives outside of the Christmas holiday season, so that’s what this is about. It’s just an opportunity to highlight these local businesses.”

Shawn Busby, owner of Greemann’s Furniture and Mattress Gallery in downtown Seymour, hopes to see people bring their passports in this spring.

He said his store tries to be involved in as many programs promoted by the chamber and Seymour Main Street as possible, and the passport program has been well-received by many in the public.

“They are out and they are going to be shopping anyway, and they are being rewarded with a chance to win a prize, so I think that’s a fantastic thing and gives an incentive to stay right here in town,” he said.

“I think anything that encourages local shopping and downtown shopping is important for us, obviously. We’ve been here for a long time and plan to continue being here for a long time,” he said. “We support local organizations and teams, and we can only do that if people are supporting our store, so it’s great that (the chamber is) encouraging local shopping and making it fun and exciting at the same time.”

Robison said people have fun with the passport program and enjoy seeing their card filled up.

“It’s a fun way to promote local business,” he said. “The tide is rising in not just downtown Seymour, but you see there’s new shopping and dining options popping up all over our community. I think that demonstrates the tide is rising, so I think it’s a positive thing.”

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For information about the Spring Fling Passport Program, call 812-522-3681 or visit

Look for the passport in Wednesday’s edition of The Tribune or The Jackson County Banner or pick one up at the participating businesses.