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Rockin Local

Eagle Mine rewards employees, supports local businesses

An Eagle Mine employee displays a “Rockin Local” gift card. Over 200 of the company’s employees were sent $500 gift cards to spend on local goods and services on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Eagle Mine)

CHAMPION — More than 200 Eagle Mine employees are in for a pleasant surprise in the next several days in the form of a $500 gift card.

The subsidiary of Lundin Mining announced its “Rockin Local” campaign. The effort is designed to encourage employees to patronize local businesses while the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

That’s where the gift cards come in, according to a Monday press release. Eagle Mine has invested $100,000 in order to issue the card furnished in conjunction with Lake Superior Community Partnership’s “Love on Local” campaign to spend on local goods and/or services to each of its 204 employees.

“During the early days of the pandemic, Eagle focused on the basic needs of the community like food, shelter and medical supplies,” Eagle Mine Social Responsibility Advisor Meagan Morrison said during a phone interview Monday. “Now that businesses are opening up again we are looking at helping with some other needs. ‘Rockin Local’ will encourage employees to shop locally and jump start our local economy.”

In addition to the $500 gift cards, Eagle Mine is offering its employees incentives to support the local economy, such as wellness giveaways from items purchased at local bike shops and farms, and encouraging the use of annual employer-issued boot vouchers at local businesses.

Mine administrative staff stuffs envelopes in preparation for mailing the gift cards to employees. The effort dovetails with the Lake Superior Community Partnership and Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce Love on Local initiative, to encourage residents to patronize area businesses. (Photo courtesy of Eagle Mine)

Morrison said there is no stipulation on how the “Rockin Local” cards should be used; all Eagle Mine is asking is that the money be spent at a local business.

“We want to emphasize that shopping local doesn’t end with spending money at a local storefront,” Morrison said. “There are opportunities everywhere to support our local economy, from using a local design company for your website needs to buying used items from your neighbor, or volunteering for a local nonprofit.”

The campaign will help small businesses in the area address one of their key concerns, which, according to a National Main Street Business Center Report survey on the impact of COVID-19 published on May 11, is renewed access to customers.

During the pandemic, nearly 27% of Upper Peninsula businesses that responded to the survey indicated that they were closed entirely, 23% of respondents said they were closed to the public, and about 28 percent reported a partially open status offering limited services.

Eagle Mine Managing Director Darby Stacey said the company has “a responsibility to our employees and local businesses to do all we can to get them going again.”

Mine administrative staff stuffs envelopes in preparation for mailing the gift cards to employees. The effort dovetails with the Lake Superior Community Partnership and Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce Love on Local initiative, to encourage residents to patronize area businesses. (Photo courtesy of Eagle Mine)

“We hope our ‘Rockin Local’ campaign will help energize our local economy and have asked our employees to spend their dollars at locally owned businesses over the next few weeks,” Stacey said.

“Rockin Local” is not the only effort Eagle Mine is making to support local businesses, he said.

“We are now looking closer than ever on how and where we spend our money as a business,” said Stacey. “These are things we are continually evaluating. It can be anything from where we purchase our coffee to where we order our equipment.”

The company hopes to “encourage other businesses to do the same and find a way to buy it locally to support our communities,” Morrison said.

She said the Fourth of July holiday would be a great time for Eagle Mine employees to spend the $500 gift card.

“I know that most people are not traveling outside of the area, and it’s a great opportunity to stay in town and spend money locally,” Morrison said. “It’s a surprise, and I am so excited to see … I wish I could be in everyone’s house when they open them up to see them. It all goes back to our employees; they have done such a great job working during the pandemic and keeping everyone safe. That has enabled us to sustain our business and give back to the community.”

She highly recommends that small business owners reach out to LSCP as the region maps out its economic recovery.

“We would encourage any business who is not sure what to do to contact LSCP,” Morrison said. “They are a great resource for everybody and they are awesome to work with.”

For more information on the LSCP Love on Local program visit https://marquette.org/loveonlocal/or reach out via email at loveonlocal@marquette.org. Details are also available by calling 906-226-6591.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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