#ShopYK local shopping challenge returns as a bingo game

The #ShopYK program, which enters shoppers in a draw to win $5,000 worth of shopping spree prizes in exchange for supporting local businesses, is returning to Yellowknife from November 14 until December 9.

This year, the program will take the form of a bingo game (in past years, shoppers received stamps in a passport for spending money in the city).

Shoppers can pick up a bingo card at any one of the 39 participating businesses or find the bingo card in their mailbox, and can then start collecting stamps when they spend money at different stores.


Bingo categories are broad, and include food, clothing, art, retail, and service.

When you spend under $50 at a participating store, you get one stamp in the matching category. Spend over $50, and you get two stamps.

For example, if you go out to dinner at a restaurant, you’ll get one or two “food” stamps. Or if you buy a new shirt, you’ll get a “clothing” stamp.

“To get a bingo you complete any two lines – vertically, diagonally, or horizontally – for a chance to win a $400 shopping spree. Or if you stamp the whole card, you get a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree,” explained Richard McIntosh, a spokesperson for the city.

“The point of this … is to encourage everybody to go shop local and have a little bit of fun while vying for a chance to win a shopping spree,” he said.


Completed bingo cards must be dropped off at a participating businesses or at City Hall by the end of the day on December 9. The prize draw will be held on December 16.

There are eight prizes up for grabs this year: five $400 shopping sprees and three $1,000 shopping sprees.

Winners will select which local store they’d like to spend their prize money at, and then that store will receive the money directly from the program and will hold it as store credit for the winner.

The city is also giving away two $100 gift certificates randomly to people who incorporate the hashtag #ShopYK into an Instagram or Twitter post.


“Businesses really value the program”

“We like to run [#ShopYK] closer to Christmas, as we want people to do their shopping locally,” said Melissa Syer, the executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, which is co-hosting the program alongside the city.

“There’s the two parts to it – getting people out into different business and partaking in the bingo.”

Syer said as soon as registration opened this year for businesses to sign up to participate, the response was immediate.

“Anecdotally businesses really value the program and see an uptake in customers,” she said.

Yousry Abdelmegid, who runs Mainstreet Donair & Falafel and Mainstreet Pizza, has participated in #ShopYK programs since the beginning.

He said the program helps bring in his regular customers more often.

“I’d love to see all of the businesses participate,” he said.

“I wish good luck to everyone as we move on from these last few years.”