Shawnee creates Shawbucks contest to draw business downtown during construction

Nieman Now construction
Shawnee has launched a contest to incentive customers to shop and eat downtown during Nieman Now construction. Photo courtesy of city of Shawnee

Shawnee has launched “Shawbucks,” a contest that encourages customers to shop and eat at the businesses and restaurants downtown.

Lauren Grashoff, neighborhood planner, said the extensive construction with Nieman Now! has impacted many of the businesses along Nieman Road and Johnson Drive.

“We wanted to appreciate the patience that they’ve had with the city and the ongoing construction,” Grashoff said. “This is just kind of a way to support them and offer an incentive for people to visit the businesses downtown.”

Here’s how it works: Customers can visit any of the 29 participating businesses. While shopping or grabbing a bite to eat, they can fill out a free entry slip to have a chance at winning $25 worth of Shawbucks. City staff will draw four winners at a time, twice a month. Winners can spend their Shawbucks at any of the participating businesses. Shawbucks expire when the contest ends at the end of construction next year.

Look for boxes like this one in each of the participating businesses.

Participating businesses each have a Shawbucks box for their customers to submit their entries. Photo courtesy of city of Shawnee

Construction on streetwork through the corridor is expected to be substantially completed in August 2019. Grashoff said city staff will evaluate the program in a few months to see how it is impacting businesses, although staff plans to continue the Shawbucks contest until construction is complete.

The first drawing will take place Nov. 21.

The city’s economic development fund is covering costs for the Shawbucks program, which was an unbudgeted item created by staff mid-year 2018. Grashoff said the city has designated $2,000 for the program.

“Shopping local, shopping Shawnee, it always puts more money back into the community than shopping at your chain stores or national businesses, so this has a direct impact for people to support the businesses during construction,” Grashoff said. “Everyone is still open for business, even though we have lots of orange cones.”