Sherlock Holmes' keen observation skills have been lifted by the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce.
For newcomers and long-time residents alike, the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce has adapted a few forensic methods to assist the community in seeking out and finding businesses and services within the village's borders. It's called "I Spy New Lenox," and it's slated to begin Oct. 27 at the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Halloween Costume Party at Oster-Oakview School.
Chamber Executive Director Debbie Hypke referred to the program as a scavenger hunt. Participating businesses—so far there are 34—will display an I Spy New Lenox poster in their windows. Each poster will have a specific clue. With enough clues gathered, game players can decode the secret message. Game players with the correct message are eligible to win $250 worth of goods at the participating New Lenox business of their choice.
A game form with directions complete with business locations will be made available to assist players with decoding the secret message.
Completed forms must be turned in at the Chamber office no later than Nov. 19. At that time, all entries with the message correctly decoded will go into bucket. On Nov. 20, only one ticket will be pulled and the winner announced at the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce meeting. The meeting begins at 7:30 a.m. at LincolnWay Community Bank, 1000 E. Lincoln Highway.
The motivation on the part of the Chamber is acquainting people with what exists in their own community. Not long ago, "I was talking to a woman who has lived in town for 15 years. …I mentioned a (certain) business and she had no idea such a shop was in town," said Hypke.
That got the Chamber executive director digging for clues on ways to draw the community out of their familiar surroundings. The Chamber is hoping that once introduced to the variety of businesses and services in town that people will dare to leave the road less traveled.
People are generally supportive of shopping locally, but they're just unaware of what's around, she said. "They can stay in New Lenox" rather than driving to the mall in Orland Park or Joliet.
Putting herself in someone else's shoes to unravel the mystery that keeps potential customers away from businesses in their own community, she decided to try stepping into their shoes. And she figured it out!
"If it's not on their regular route, they're not going to see it."
If someone lives on the north side of town and travels mostly along Route 30, veering off only to get into neighborhoods within the perimeter, they're not going to bother to check out what's south. Those businesses along Layaway Road remain totally off their radar, she said.
This first installment of I Spy New Lenox is great for all businesses and services. However, the Chamber created yet another level that works best for retail establishments. Along with the I Spy posters on the storefronts, the managers at those stores say the retail outlets are perfect for adding another display inside. Another clue for decoding is slated to appear in displays within the business. The idea here is to get people to actually walk through the doorway and take a look around, said Hypke.
This second tier of I Spy New Lenox conjures an image of a magnifying glass, said Hypke. It's a chance for a closer examination of the goods and services offered at each particular store. Now with the additional inside display aspect added, store owners are getting enthusiastic and creative, she said.
This gives participants an extra chance to win prizes. Those who participate in magnifying game are eligible for an additional $100 prize. Again, this money is to be spent at participating stores, said Hypke.
"We want to keep the money in this community."
The winner of the magnifying glass game will also be announced at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Chamber of Commerce at Lincoln Way Community Bank.