GALION -- 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, Nov. 1 and runs through Tuesday, Nov. 30. 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.”

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