9TEEN STRONG

Local businesses are uniting to host 9TEEN STRONG, a promotion similar to a game of Monopoly. Participants can win hundreds of dollars by shopping and collecting game pieces at 19 retailers in the 19th Ward. The promotion will begin on Jan. 15.

Local businesses are joining forces to offer shoppers cash prizes in a game based on the classic version of Monopoly.

“9TEEN STRONG,” in which 19 retail businesses from the 19th Ward will offer customers the opportunity to win hundreds of dollars by simply making a purchase, will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

David Burchett, owner of The Plug T-Shirt Store in Mt. Greenwood, said the promotion will also donate proceeds from the game to local youth organizations.

Shoppers will earn game pieces after shopping at participating businesses, and Burchett said the promotion is a way to boost the local economy during the winter doldrums.

“It’s creating foot traffic,” Burchett said. “In January, people just don’t leave their house. This gives them a reason to go out.”

The game will incorporate the classic aspects of Monopoly—such as collecting game pieces based on a certain color—and new-age interests, such as Facebook.

First, Burchett said, customers must register for the game on Facebook. Each day, that page will feature a business, and participants must “like” and “share” those posts.

Then, the rules of Monopoly come into play.

When participants make a purchase at one of the 19 businesses—which are located throughout Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood—they will receive a colored game piece featuring a business. Colored pieces will be placed into groups of three on the gameboard, just like properties on Monopoly.

When a player collects all the pieces associated with a color, they turn them in for $300 cash.

Bonuses are also available. When winners collect their cash, they can win $100 more if the businesses featured in their game pieces have each earned 1,000 or more followers on their Facebook pages.

They can also win another $100 if they provide receipts from all 19 businesses.

Each business contributed $300, Burchett said, for a total of $5,700.

The 19 businesses are all retailers, Burchett said, as organizers wanted to promote smaller shops and give customers something tangible to purchase while playing.

Winners will receive cash—not gift cards for specific businesses—so they can use their winnings at their discretion.

“We want to give people money to help pay bills or go out,” Burchett said. “It just gets people out the door.”

He said non-retail businesses also expressed interest, so from Jan. 25-26, players can visit those locations during a certain time and like and share those businesses’ respective Facebook page to receive a free game piece.

Those businesses will each make donations to designated local youth organizations.

“This is going to give them a huge boost as well,” Burchett said of the non-retail participants.

Game boards will be sold for $1 at each location and are available on Facebook.

The game will run until Feb. 5 or until all the prize money is awarded. Any money remaining in the pot, Burchett said, will go to a raffle for players who visited all 19 businesses.

Burchett, who opened The Plug, 3652 W. 111th St., in January 2018, coordinated the game with Brian Giaretta, who owns S&T Provisions in Mt. Greenwood and has hosted scavenger hunts in recent months to boost business, as well as Mt. Greenwood Community and Business Association Executive Director Mary Gill and Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association Executive Director Caroline Connors.

Gill praised Burchett for leading the promotion.

“I think it’s important for us to do something for businesses in the offseason,” Gill said. “The next couple months, a lot of the businesses are going to be on the slower side, so I think this is a great way to kind of help out our businesses in the winter.”

She’s also happy to see businesses collaborating on the effort.

“I just think Dave is doing a really great thing to support all the businesses,” Gill said, “not just his.”

In addition to The Plug and S&T Provisions, participating retailers in Mt. Greenwood include Bacon and Jam, Barraco’s, Cutrone, Face to Face Salon and Spa, Fat Tommy’s, Firewater Saloon, Hinky Dink’s, Diggity Dogs, Grant’s Wonderburger and Shrader’s Goods; in Beverly: Barraco’s, Cakewalk Chicago, Sweet Freaks, and The Quilter’s Trunk; and in Morgan Park: Americanos, County Fair, Nine One One BBQ Shack and Open Outcry Brewing Co.

The non-retail businesses include Lorenz and Sellis Realty Group, which will donate to Express Baseball; F45 (St. Christina Elementary School girls basketball); Southside Knockout (Bring it Home McComb); Athletico (Mt. Greenwood Mustang Wrestling Club); Allstate-Jack Hallberg (Chicago Rocks); Yahz Ink (Mt. Greenwood Soccer); Gyro Grill (Jacob Schmitz Scholarship Fund); the Bensman Group (Mt. Greenwood Elementary Parent Teachers Organization); City Fence Solutions (Mt. Greenwood Park Baseball); Memories by Rocio (Cub Scouts Pack 3617); and Endless 3dge (St. Christina Athletic Association).

For more information, visit Facebook.