FORT WALTON BEACH — The gift card has become a Christmas season staple. Crestview News Bulletin readers have a chance to buy nearly $150,000 worth of gift certificates from more than 90 local businesses.


FORT WALTON BEACH — The gift card has become a Christmas season staple. Crestview News Bulletin readers have a chance to buy nearly $150,000 worth of gift certificates from more than 90 local businesses.



The News Bulletin and its sister area newspapers with Halifax Media Group will launch their first online Emerald Coast Holiday Auction on Nov. 25, featuring gift certificates from 91 local businesses. It’s billed as the Emerald Coast’s largest-ever gift certificate auction.



You can view the selections online now before bidding begins.



Steve Krammes, the News Bulletin’s advertising director, came up with the idea and organized similar auctions while working at the Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, N.H.



“People love gift certificates for Christmas presents, and we worked the timing so the bidding will start on Sunday, Nov. 25, just a couple of days after Black Friday and the day before Cyber Monday,” he said.



Local businesses have pledged a combined $148,453 in gift certificates for the auction, which will launch online at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 25. Bidding will end at 8 p.m. Dec. 2. The minimum bid for each gift certificate will start at 50 percent of its actual value.



Go to www.crestviewbulletin.com and click on the auction banner to register and begin bidding.



Krammes said the program is designed to promote local businesses while minimizing the cost to them.



The News Bulletin already has started promoting the businesses participating in the auction, and will publish a special section on the program in its Nov. 24 edition.



Regardless of how much the gift certificate sells for in the auction — as long as it does sell — the News Bulletin will provide the business the gift certificate’s full retail value in advertising credit while keeping the revenue from the actual auction.



“I’ve always thought of it as a win-win-win for the retailers, the customers and our company,” Krammes said.