The ACT government has refused to provide detail on which businesses have claimed the most ChooseCBR discount vouchers, as more than $1 million was redeemed over a 12-hour period on Friday and the scheme ended on Saturday morning.
A warning to shoppers that funds were being spent quickly was posted to the ChooseCBR website just after 9pm on Friday.
"When the $2 million funding limit is reached further vouchers will not be able to be redeemed," the warning read.
"Businesses will not be able to record your voucher to redeem later."
About 8.10am on Saturday morning, all of the vouchers had been redeemed.
The ACT government thanked participants for using the program on Saturday morning.
The ChooseCBR program has now closed after all $2 million was spent across local businesses!— ACT Government (@actgovernment) June 18, 2021
Thank you to the thousands of Canberrans who got out and supported the many businesses across Canberra through the ChooseCBR program. pic.twitter.com/Xv9HBnFW0I
The trouble-plagued scheme was brought back online to unprecedented demand, with more than 18,000 vouchers redeemed within a matter of hours.
It came after the ACT government was forced to pull the site last week following a series of technical difficulties related to demand.
Those issues were nowhere to be seen on Friday, as the system was able to handle traffic even greater than last week.
When the scheme went live on June 9, close to $389,000 was spent over two days before the site was pulled. But that number ballooned on Friday, with about $1.2 million having been spent by 7pm.
The ACT government has allocated $2 million to the scheme, which offers government-subsidised discounts of up to 50 per cent at participating Canberra businesses.
The scheme was designed to provide Covid stimulus to Canberra's small businesses, however eyebrows have been raised as a number of multinational chains have signed up to the scheme.
There were substantial lines outside of Chemist Warehouse in Belconnen on Friday, which is signed up to the scheme.
The store is eligible as it is a franchise, and it has an annual turnover of less than $10 million.
The ACT government would not provide detail on what businesses had claimed the most vouchers, citing privacy reasons.
"While we cannot name the top 10 businesses, popular business types included food and fresh-food retailing, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services," a spokeswoman said.
"We are unable to provide information on individual businesses. However, it is important to note that many businesses have been busy."
The ACT government spokeswoman said the scheme showed a huge willingness on the part of Canberra residents to support and shop local.
"The great thing about ChooseCBR is that there are hundreds of local businesses participating across a range of sectors and regions, and you can choose where to spend your vouchers within the ACT," she said.
"All money spent as part of the program goes directly to participating businesses, further stimulating the ACT economy.
"ChooseCBR vouchers have also provided an avenue to introduce new customers to businesses and for them to broaden their customer base, reaching people they may not have had interaction with in the past."
More than 77,000 customers and 800 businesses had signed up to the scheme last week. The vouchers were first trialled in December, however, the three-week trial fell well short of expectations, with only about $30,000 spent on average each day.
ACT Business Minister Tara Cheyne worked to overhaul the scheme by increasing business eligibility and increasing the discount amounts.
Ms Cheyne also worked to make sure there was a greater marketing campaign behind the scheme, after businesses and customers reported a lack of awareness about the trial.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: