What are Chamber Bucks? They are the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce's new gift certificates that went into circulation last September to replace the now defunct CertifiChecks program.

Since that time, the chamber has sold roughly $10,000 worth of these certificates, and the public's interest is back.

The chamber would like to thank the Fairfield education system for helping to re-launch and market the program through the schools via the "Backpack Program." It's the room mothers in charge of buying a gift for the coaches, teachers and bus drivers that have, once again, put the program on the path to success.

What's important about this program is that it keeps the money in Fairfield. If shoppers are shopping here and not somewhere else, it helps make the Fairfield economy strong. So thanks to all who continue to support the program by buying the gift certificates, thanks to the merchants who are either new or returning to the program, and thanks to the school system for partnering with us on a program that supports local business.

Continuing the `green' trend

It generally takes about two days for office staff to collect, collate and stuff all the advertising and newsworthy information that we send to VIPs and members. But, beginning July 1, those who requested it will be receiving the newsletter and advertising electronically. With only a handful of members remaining on the "snail mail" list, this is a step forward for the chamber. We expect to save time, money and a few trees by changing the way we disseminate information. If you are a member interested in joining this effort, contact us at 203-255-1011.

Vacation 2010

My vacations generate a lot of interest because they are usually in some god-forsaken place, and people like to live vicariously. For those of you who wait for me to announce my vacation plans, in 2010, things will be different.

Although I really want to go to Antarctica, I will be joining friends in Vermont. I've researched all the adventure travel companies and discovered that most of the trips that interest me are of the been-there, done-that variety, or require a high altitude mountain climb, a ride on a camel, kayaking down some swift-running, crocodile-ridden river, double occupancy, or an awful lot of money.

The gorillas in Rwanda were a possibility, but then a bone spur attached itself to my left heel, thus making the jungle climb to their habitat questionable. That left Antarctica ... or Vermont. Since I didn't win the Publisher's Clearing House millions (or even thousands), Vermont, here I come. I'm sure you will all be anxious to hear how many books I've read while lying in a chaise lounge on the boat dock. (I'm beginning to feel bored just talking about it.) Don't get me wrong, I will be with good friends, and I know the conversation will be interesting, and the game of Scrabble exciting, but my friends are not gorillas or penguins, unfortunately. I may have to revisit this plan now that I think about it. Is it possible to do both? I can only dream.

Patricia Ritchie, the president and CEO of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, can be reached at Patricia@FairfieldCTChamber.com