CRAWFORD COUNTY—The Galion-Crestline Area and Bucyrus Area Chambers of Commerce are teaming up once again to promote small businesses in Crawford County during the holiday shopping season. The now annual Crawford-Opoly promotion begins Monday, November 1st, and runs through Tuesday, November 30th. Area residents are encouraged to support local businesses as the holiday shopping season opens.
The Crawford-Opoly idea grew out of the annual Small Business Saturday campaign that was originated by American Express, which is held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Due to the Ohio State versus Michigan game that is always held on that Saturday, the participation had been hit or miss in this area in the past. It was decided in collaboration with the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce that it would be more influential to local small business owners to have a month-long small business event in November. The 2020 Crawford-Opoly event was so popular with local shoppers and businesses that it was decided to make it an annual event with some changes from suggestions that were received.
“The response was great,” Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Miranda Jones said. “We got some good feedback, both positive and negative, so we tweaked it a little bit from last year. I think at the end we ended up with almost 1,200 property pieces turned in last year, 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.”
Inspired by the popular board game, Monopoly, the two chambers collaborated once again with First Federal Community Bank to continue this project to drive more foot traffic to local businesses. Fifty area businesses signed up for a space – called a “property” – on a monopoly-like game board. Those businesses provided gift cards to their locations and were then randomly grouped in different color sections made up of five properties each.
“You play by collecting property cards, which you earn by visiting the location of that business,” explained Jessie Furner, Executive Director of the Bucyrus Area Chamber. “Some businesses will hand out their cards to any visitor, while some businesses have cards that can only be earned with a purchase. Once a player has collected all five cards in a color category, they should enter their information on the back and return them to either the Bucyrus or Galion-Crestline Chamber’s offices for a chance to win several different prizes.”
Prizes for each color category will include a $10 gift card to each business in that color category, for a total value of $50. There will be two winners per category, for a total of 20 – $50 winners. Also, First Federal Community Bank donated $1,000.00 for the grand prize drawing, which players are entered into if they collect 25 property cards by November 30th. This “$1,000 Community Shopping Spree” will include 10 – $100 gift cards to chamber members’ businesses.
“We appreciate the opportunity to support this project again and are hopeful the Crawford-Opoly game will drive traffic and revenue to local business in Bucyrus, Galion, and Crestline. This project supports our brand and Community is our middle name,” states Brad Murtiff, President of First Federal Community Bank.
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. The 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.
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 “Get Out of Jail” property card is available at AA American Bail Bonds. To receive this card, you need to drop off a pair of gloves or a winter hat to their business at 125 North Columbus Street, Galion. These hats and gloves will be distributed through BrightView to people in need in Crawford County.
The “Visit Local” property card can be earned by donating something to the Humane Society Serving Crawford County, located at 3590 State Route 98, Bucyrus.
Symphonic Hearing Aid Center is the “Give Local” property square, earn this property card by dropping off a non-perishable food item there, which will be given to those in need. Symphonic Hearing Aid Center is located at 1008 S. Sandusky Avenue, Bucyrus.
To receive the fourth corner property card, “Shop Local”, visit your favorite Crawford County Business and take a picture of your receipt. Share to the Facebook event page or use the hashtag #crawfordopoly.
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, November 30th to be eligible for the prize drawings. The grand prize drawing is scheduled for Friday, December 3rd.
The sponsors for the 2021 Crawford-Opoly game are First Federal Community Bank, Apex Clean Energy, Avita Health System, Cleaning By Carrie, Crossroads Original Designs, Dzugan Real Estate Services and J&F Construction.
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, www.galion-crestlinechamber.org and www.bucyrusohio.com.