Keeping it local

Bristol Borough Business Association to host first Holiday Passport program Nov. 24-Dec. 20

By Samantha Bambino

The Times


Shea Cialella is a woman who wears many hats. Not only is she the administrative coordinator of the Bristol Borough Business Association, but she’s also the heart and soul behind First Fridays on the Delaware, a 3-year-old tradition that continues to grow. Now, as the holidays draw closer, Cialella has something special planned for her fellow BBBA members — the first-ever Holiday Passport, an initiative she hopes will benefit both the association and community.

Referring to it as a “keep it local” campaign, Cialella brainstormed the Holiday Passport as a unique way for the community to meet and support local businesses. According to her, the association has almost 60 members that range from individuals and small businesses to nonprofits and hospitals. Some are located right in the borough, while others are in its surrounding regions. Her hope is that the Holiday Passport will incorporate them all.

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 24, and ending on Wednesday, Dec. 20, BBBA members can either download a passport from or pick one up at various locations, including Bristol Riverside Theatre (120 Radcliffe St.), Collector’s Corner (401 Mill St.), Golden Eagle Diner (300 Bath Road and Route 13), Got Wine? (483 Pond St.), Hems Truck & Auto (2080 Farragut Ave.) or King George II Inn (102 Radcliffe St.).

Within the time frame of the campaign, the passport must be stamped a certain number of times in three specific categories. The first is “purchase,” which requires three stamps. These can be obtained by spending $20 or more at three participating BBBA businesses. The next is “service,” which only requires one stamp. Passport holders can get this by booking an appointment or receiving a quote or estimate from an applicable business. The final stamp must come from a “nonprofit” such as Pennsbury Manor by donating $20 or more or committing at least 1.5 hours of volunteer time to the organization. A full list of participating businesses will be available closer to the start of the campaign.

Once the passport contains five stamps, it must be submitted by 6 p.m. on Dec. 20 to one of several drop-off locations, which will be listed on it. Each member who turns in a completed passport will be entered to win a $250 gift certificate, which could certainly come in handy for last-minute Christmas shopping.

For Cialella, the Holiday Passport isn’t about raising money or making a profit. Rather, she wants the community to be aware of what local businesses are up to. Even if a few people take an interest in a business or nonprofit, they’ll continue to shop or volunteer after the campaign is over, allowing economic development to naturally unfold.

“We want to give concrete things to our members,” Cialella said.

Though this is the first year for the Holiday Passport, Cialella said the BBBA is excited, with a handful of new businesses becoming members in order to participate. As long as an organization, whether it’s a retail store or insurance company, is on board with the mission of supporting the borough, all are welcome.

For more information on the Holiday Passport program, visit ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at