Candy Cane Cash

Lawton_It's Altus' 7th Annual Candy Cane Cash "Sweet"stakes.  Main street Altus, along with over eighty local businesses are encouraging residents to "Shop Altus First".  Each purchase earns customers a chance at the grand prize - $10,000.  This weekend is the big drawing and retailers and residents are getting excited.  But, is it really working - keeping shoppers local?  7News checked it out.

Shoppers in Altus have been busy this past six weeks shopping for the holiday and collecting their candy cash tickets.  Main Street Altus Program Director Amy Jo Cobb says they've dispersed the biggest amount of tickets to date.  "There will probably be over 680,000 tickets in the hopper.  That's what I have so far today," she says.

85 local merchants are sponsoring the annual event that's meant to keep shoppers at home - in Altus.  "It's all based on shopping Altus first, helping our retailers, and increasing our dollars spent here in our county," says Cobb.  H&H Furniture owner Charlene Firth seems to think its working.  She's been sponsoring the event since it began and says it does a lot more than simply keep money in Altus.  "It creates a kind of camaraderie among all the people when they come together like that because they know somebody is going to win," she says.

Business owner Doris Jouett says the prize is a big reason to shop Altus this year.  "It helps.  People come in and they want to know, 'Are you doing Candy Cane?'  And I'm kinda generous with them," she says.  "It's supposed to be one ticket for every five dollars, but I don't watch how many I hand out.

Sunday, thousands of people will show up to the courthouse on the town square to see if they won.  And, Altus merchants say the city is growing and agree that the "Sweet"stakes is a big part of it.  The event kicks off at 1pm with the drawing for the grand prize at 4pm.  Tickets will be available at participating retailers until Sunday - even right up until the drawing.