GALION — The Galion-Crestline Area and Bucyrus Area chambers of commerce are teaming up once again to promote small business in Crawford County during the holiday shopping season.
The annual Crawford-Opoly promotion begins Monday, Nov. 1 and runs through Tuesday, Nov. 30. Area residents are encouraged to support local businesses as the holiday shopping season opens.
Miranda Jones, executive director of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce, said Crawford-Opoly grew out of the annual Small Business Saturday campaign originated by American Express. Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday.
However, due to a certain college football game (Ohio State versus Michigan), Jones said, local participation in Small Business Saturday was hit and miss.
“So we decided, in collaboration with the Bucyrus chamber, to make a month-long small business event in November,” Jones said.
Jones said the 2020 edition of Crawford-Opoly was popular with local shoppers and organizers learned some valuable lessons.
“The response was great,” Jones said. “We got some good feedback, both positive and negative, so we tweaked it a little bit this from last year. I think at the end we ended up with almost 1,200 property pieces turned in, which was amazing. Most people who played said they didn’t know where a lot of these businesses were located prior to participating in the game.
“And that’s always our mission with the chamber — to increase visibility and awareness of our businesses. We want our businesses to grow and succeed and by doing events or month-long activities that bring people in, it’s going to grow these businesses. Word of mouth is so important in small communities.”
Similar the Monopoly board game which was the inspiration for the shop-local promotion, Crawford-Opoly features a game board with 50 Crawford County businesses on it (25 from the Galion-Crestline area, 25 from the Bucyrus area), Jones noted. Participating businesses have property pieces that shoppers must collect in order to complete a specific color section and be entered into a drawing to win gift cards from the businesses in that particular section.
The game boards feature four corner squares, each with a different theme and instructions to follow. The themes are Visit Local, Shop Local, Give Local, and Get Out of Jail.
The game boards this year are manila envelopes with the playing area on one side and game instructions on the flip side. Each business’s address is listed on the game board. Jones said organizers chose to use envelopes as game boards so shoppers can keep their property pieces together in one place. Envelopes can be picked up at each chamber office. Participating businesses also have envelopes.
Shoppers must fill up at least half of the Crawford-Opoly game board (collect property pieces from 25 businesses) in order to be eligible for the grand prize drawing at the end of November. The grand prize is a $1,000 shopping spree sponsored by First Federal Community Bank.
“When you go into a participating business, you need to ask them what their requirements are to obtain a game piece,” Jones said, noting that some businesses may require a purchase in exchange for a property piece while others may only require a visit to their store.
When shoppers have collected the necessary number of property pieces during the month, they can return the envelopes to either the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce, 138 Harding Way West, Galion, or to the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce, 117 E. Mansfield Street, Bucyrus. All game envelopes must be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 30 to be eligible for the prize drawings. The grand prize drawing is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3.
For information, contact the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber at 419-468-7377 or the Bucyrus Area Chamber at 419-562-4811. Information is also available on the respective chamber websites, galion-crestlinechamber.org and bucyrusohio.com.