Twice was the charm for Paul and Polly Grimes at Trattoria 225.
At the Italian restaurant in the arts district, the Oak Park couple earned the first of their 33 Shop the Village tickets and one of their last.
“We went out to one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants and had a lovely dinner and ended up getting this little beauty,” Polly Grimes said, referring to a ticket they scored at Trattoria 225 when she and her husband celebrated her 48th birthday there in late January.
The number on that ticket – 595068 – was the first one that Village President David Pope pulled recently for the batch that would determine the local shopping campaign’s grand prize winner. That ticket, which on Sunday afternoon the Grimeses realized they had, is worth more than $4,000 in gift certificates and goods from the more than 100 businesses that took part in the local shopping campaign.
Having spent time and money between their two Trattoria 225 outings with other Shop the Village participants – Careful Peach, Competitive Foot, Pumpkin Moon, Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, Shirtworks, Ten Thousand Villages – the Grimeses were conscientious and organized about their part in the campaign. Polly’s role was to ask at every local business they visited whether it was taking part in the campaign. Paul’s role was to keep track of the tickets.
Sunday afternoon, when they get home from church, Paul again reached for the envelope of tickets he stored near their bills. He had been checking all along to see if they won any of the weekly drawings. No matches. The biggest prize they recall ever winning is $25 in a church raffle.
“Polly said we should look one more time before we put the envelope away, maybe we won something,” Paul recalled Monday morning at village hall.
“I went on and we were the first number,” Paul said, referring to the campaign’s Web site, www.ShopTheVillage.biz.
Polly said she was in the kitchen when Paul shouted out. “I’m like, ‘What?’ He says, ‘Look at this. Look at this number.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, we won. We’re No. 1!’ “
In all, 28 numbers were drawn for the grand prize, to guard against the possibility that shoppers had lost their tickets over the course of the program that began in late November. Shoppers with tickets matching the numbers drawn for the grand prize had until Saturday, Feb. 28, to notify campaign coordinator Matt Baron. The highest ranking ticket reported would be the winner.
Baron, who hadn’t expected to hear from the holder of the very first ticket, said he was encouraged to have heard from the holders of the 14th and 23rd tickets drawn.
Shoppers in the campaign earned a ticket for every $25 spent with a participating business. The Grimeses earned their first ticket at Trattoria 225 at the beginning of the campaign, when they celebrated their daughter Meghan’s 24th birthday party there in late November.
Craig Charlton, owner and chef at Trattoria 225, happened to be at village hall Monday morning when the Grimeses arrived to present their winning ticket and collect the loot. He and other local business owners were there brainstorming new versions of a Shop the Village campaign.
Charlton was thrilled to see two of his patrons rewarded for their loyalty to shopping locally. “We had a lot of people that participated in the program,” Charlton said. “We were very, very excited to be a part of it.”
Polly Grimes, a Franklin Park native, is a bookkeeper and assistant manager at The Tennis and Fitness Centre on Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park, another business that took part in the Shop the Village campaign.
Paul Grimes, a computer software project manager and third-generation Oak Parker, said his family has always made a conscious effort to support local businesses. “We try to stay within the village for a lot of stuff,” he said.