GALION — Advocates for local business in Crawford County have taken a fun approach to promoting the shop local ideal this year.
“Crawford-Opoly” is the brainchild of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce. The two agencies have joined forces with First Federal Community Bank to offer the promotion inspired by the popular board game Monopoly.
“It was a collaborative effort to really get people involved to shop local all month long,” said Miranda Jones, executive director of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce. “I think now with the pandemic we need to make shopping local a priority. When you’re making out your shopping list, you can easily identify everything you need here in Crawford County.”
Locally, Crawford-Opoly replaces the annual Small Business Saturday initiative that is usually conducted on the day after Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
Like its original counterpart, Crawford-Opoly utilizes a game board that features 50 chamber-member businesses, 25 from each chamber’s membership list, Jones said. The businesses were “randomly grouped in different color sections made up of five properties each,” according to a description of the concept.
Players visit businesses on the game board to collect property cards they will need to complete each color category and be entered into drawings for prizes. Each business donated two $10 gift cards to their location.
Jones said prizes for each color category on the game board include a $10 gift card to each of the five businesses within that category, a grand total of $50 worth of gift cards.
First Federal Community Bank has donated the $1,000 shopping spree, Jones said.
“Because they’re so focused on keeping money in the local area, the shopping spree will actually be comprised of 10 $100 gift cards to chamber-member businesses within Crawford County,” Jones noted.
The prize drawings will be conducted on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Jones said.
The Crawford-Opoly game board features four corner spaces that each promote a specific “local” initiative, including Shop Local, Visit Local, Support Local, and Give Local.
“The four corners on the board give people a cool way to be engaged without having to go into a lot of stores,” Jones said. “There’s chances to win on those, too. The one corner is Visit Local, so visit a Crawford Park District location, snap a selfie, put it on your own Facebook page with the hashtag #Crawfordopoly, email the picture to me or upload it to the Facebook event, and the you’re entered into the weekly Wednesday drawing.”
The weekly drawings are conducted via Facebook Live on the chamber pages. Winners receive a gift basket from First Federal Community Bank that includes a gift certificate to Upper Sandusky’s Fantasy of Lights and other holiday-themed items.
Crawford-Opoly game boards can be downloaded at the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce website (galion-crestlinechamber.org) and the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce website (bucryusohio.com).
“It’s a cool idea because we’re pushing people to go into stores,” Jones said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive responses from people who are playing. We got an email from a lady and she said, ‘I’m having so much fun checking out these places. Some I already know and some I have never been in before and they’re very new to me. It’s just great.’
“That’s the kind of feedback we want because a lot of people just drive through town and kind of have blinders on and you don’t really look and see that Beca House Coffee is now here in Uptowne Galion, or there’s cool places to shop for clothes over in Bucyrus, or Crestline got a new Mexican restaurant and they’ve got a jewelry store right across the street, so while you’re waiting for food you can stop in there.”
Jones noted that feedback from business owners and game participants indicates that Crawford-Opoly is fast becoming a popular concept and more effective than Small Business Saturday.
“I think making it a month-long event is going to make it more successful,” she said.
For information, contact Miranda Jones at the Galion-Crestline chamber by calling 419-468-7737 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bucyrus chamber executive director Jessie Furner can be reached by calling 419-562-4911 or emailing email@example.com.