Inspired by Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets and a love for unique, local shops in Cincinnati, Alex Shebar, Cincinnati community manager at Yelp, created a
to highlight local businesses and stimulate the local economy.
Yelp is a web-based service that allows users to check-in, write reviews and share their opinions about any business in the area and already a main source for people searching out new businesses to explore.
The hunt includes more than 80 independent shops from Bellevue to Farfield to Milford and everywhere in between. Shebar’s hunt, which focuses on six golden tickets randomly placed in the businesses, does more than include discounts and coupons. Each participating business donated an item worth at least $25 worth of prizes; donated items were split into six gift baskets worth hundreds of dollars each.
Clues will be added on social media each day, getting more and more specific as Christmas draws nearer. Running from now until Dec. 26, the hunt gives patrons plenty of time to explore old and new favorite stores.
The idea came from last year’s Totally Bazaar event that Yelp’s Shebar planned. He updated the idea from a one-day shopping bonanza to a citywide hunt. “The idea is to support local shopping,” Shebar says. “The Bazaar last year was a good introduction to the products stores have, but it didn’t get people in the stores. It can be intimidating to go in somewhere for the first time, and I think this will help.”
Shebar looked for neighborhoods, like Bellvue, OTR and Milford, with multiple local stores to help hunters drive less. Each ticket was placed randomly, so there could be several in one neighborhood, or none in a particular neighborhood. All aspects of the hunt urge people to explore new stores.
“I have nothing against chain stores, but we wanted to get people away from those stores and check out more unique, interesting shops,” Shebar says. “You can find gifts you wouldn’t find anywhere else.”
Check out the photo: "A golden ticket is located behind this cabinet (know where it is?)"
By Evan Wallis