The Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce continues to hold its first ever pre-holiday game, “Support Local-Opoly,” which began on Oct. 1 and will run through Dec. 4, in an effort to encourage the community to shop locally and explore small businesses in the area.

With restrictions and obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a critical time to support small businesses. Kate Teel, president of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, said “Support Local-Opoly” was created in order to give the community a fun, engaging way to dine and shop locally.

“Support Local-Opoly” is a game inspired by Monopoly. According to the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce website, participating customers will find various businesses at each property on the game board. Cash prizes are given away through raffle drawings for those who complete each property block on the card. The game is easy to navigate and meant to be fun for the whole family, as described on the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce Website.

“It’s much like a regular Monopoly game. Customers can go on our website and print out a copy of their board. As they visit businesses on the board, customers should keep a proof of purchase. This can be through a receipt or even by giving the business a like on Facebook. As they complete each property block, customers should submit their receipts directly to the Chamber and their name is put directly into the drawing for that specific property,” Teel said.

This is the first year that “Support Local-Opoly” has taken place, Teel said. She said now is as important a time as ever for the community to take advantage of this game and its many cash incentives.

Support Local-Opoly stretches throughout the holiday season in order to allow participating customers to spread out their expenditures and give them ample time to support and explore the businesses on the board, Teel said.

“The Chamber of Commerce staff came up with this idea. Typically, each year we host an event at the beginning of October to allow our local businesses to set up a table and to showcase their products and services. Unfortunately this year, we’re unable to hold that. It’s important that we still found a way to encourage shopping local,” Teel said.

By showcasing a sample of Greenville’s local businesses, ranging from restaurants to pottery studios, the Chamber of Commerce attempts to encourage not only the Greenville community, but surrounding eastern North Carolina towns as well to shop and enjoy what this town has to offer, Teel said.

One business expected to participate in “Support Local-Opoly” is FreshVibes, a local smoothie and juice bar. FreshVibes Owner Jessica Albea said the process to participate was simple and she is excited to see the new audiences her business may reach as a result of it.

“Maybe we can reach a new audience base that hasn't tried FreshVibes yet, they will come in for the Local-Opoly and walk out as a repeat, happy customer. Once people try the product, it is instant love. Who doesn't enjoy something that is both nutritious and delicious- it's a win-win,” Albea said in an email statement.

There has been some increased traction for Fresh Vibes recently, according to Albea. Fresh Vibes, along with Sam’s Club and the Postal Annex are featured together in a shared property block.

Shelley Swann is a participating customer in Support Local-Opoly and said she enjoys taking advantage of the incentives that this program has to offer. She said she learned about Support Local-Opoly through an instagram post from the Chamber of Commerce and became interested.

“My husband is a huge Monopoly fan. We love our local businesses and shops and we figured this was a fun way to go out and find new places to eat and shop. We’ve lived here a while, so it’s easy to think that you might have seen it all, but there’s always new stores to explore,” Swann said.

There are stores that Swann has driven by every day that she’d never taken the time to look into. She said her participation in the Local-Opoly has driven her and her husband to visit new places and find out more about what Greenville has to offer.

“The variety of businesses that are featured on the board is amazing. I recently visited a boutique that I’d never been to before called Funky Junk. We’ve been going to some old favorites, and finding new stuff too. It’s a good mix,” Swann said.

To find more about the participating businesses and cash prizes that are rewarded by the Support Local-Opoly event, visit the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce website.

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