s and t contest

S&T Provisions in Mt. Greenwood is one of 30 businesses participating in a Small Business Mega Lottery as a way to boost the local economy during the COVID-19 crisis. Prizes include thousands of dollars in gift cards from participating businesses. Tickets are $10 and will be available online. The contest will begin on Saturday, April 4. (Review photo)

S&T Provisions in Mt. Greenwood has hosted several promotions with other businesses in recent months to boost the local economy.

With all of society impacted by COVID-19, the deli’s owners felt it was the perfect time for another promotion.

From Saturday, April 4, through April 26, S&T Provisions, 3804 W. 111th St., will be among 30 businesses hosting the Small Business Mega Lottery, a raffle that will provide thousands of dollars in gift cards to two lucky winners while also bringing in revenue to the businesses.

Brian Giaretta, of S&T, said his shop, which sells pizza set-ups and homemade deli products and only offers carryout services, is doing well during a time that bars and restaurants can’t offer dine-in services. He hopes the raffle boosts neighboring businesses during what he called an “unprecedented” time.

“These are literally our friends, our peers in the area,” Giaretta said. “I know a few who are already closing and some who don’t know if they’re going to make it another quarter at the most. So, if we can just raise capital just to get their employees paid and get their rent paid, that’s going to be all we can do just to keep their door open.”

Each of the participating businesses is contributing a $300 gift certificate, creating a pot worth $9,000. Two winners will each receive $4,500 in gift cards to 15 businesses.

The gift cards are not valid until Jan. 1, 2021, giving the businesses time to raise funds.

Raffle tickets are $10 each, and the businesses will split that revenue.

With the public advised to limit in-person contact, the entire raffle is online, Giaretta said, and he is creating a website to host the event. Businesses will also promote the effort on their social media pages.

They are also getting creative to boost ticket sales.

The Plug T-shirt Store, also in Mt. Greenwood, is hosting a contest among the sports teams it makes jerseys for, with the team that sells the most tickets receiving free uniforms for an upcoming season.

Giaretta, whose store is contributing to the pot but not receiving any the revenue, expects that all participating businesses will amp up their marketing efforts.

“They’re fighting for their lives,” Giaretta said, “so they’re going to figure it out.”

In January 2018, Giaretta joined his father, Scott, in running S&T. Brian immediately went to work on improving the store’s marketing, hosting four scavenger hunts around the community in which winners received cash or pizza setups. S&T and The Plug were also part of a “9Teen Strong” promotion earlier this year in which local businesses took part in a Monopoly-like contest to boost revenue during the winter’s traditionally slow sales period.

Giaretta has high expectations for the newest contest, but he doesn’t just want businesses to have a little fun.

He wants to raise serious cash.

“I want everyone on the South Side of Chicago to buy 10 tickets,” Giaretta said. “We want to raise a large amount of capital because that’s what it’s going to take.

“We want this to be epic.”

For more information, including a full list of participating businesses, call S&T Provisions at (773) 238–5990, visit its Facebook page or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-mega-lottery-tickets-101657931610?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch.