Explore NoDa Bingo aims to help reconnect neighborhood after COVID closures

Bingo! One lucky person and lots of local businesses will win big with Explore NoDa Bingo.

Charlotte Strength, a gym on Anderson Street, launched the game in July in collaboration with more than 20 NoDa businesses as a way to connect the community and support small business.

“We have a great microeconomy in the NoDa community,” said Tayler Harris, Charlotte Strength co-owner. “Our community really fosters small businesses, and we want to highlight these businesses so everyone can see what NoDa has to offer.”

Each participating business had 100 bingo cards to pass out, and one square on the card with a task for participants to do at that business, like grabbing a coffee at Smelly Cat or eating a slice of pizza at Benny’s. Once a task is completed, the business gives out a stamp. Participants had the month of July to get as many bingos as possible, with each bingo equaling one entry in the grand prize drawing. On Aug. 2, a winner will be chosen to receive one prize from each participating business.

The staff at Charlotte Strength came up with the idea as a way to help businesses rebound from the impact of COVID-19, reconnecting NoDa residents with old favorites and introducing them to new ones. 

“With COVID, we wanted to come up with a way to help get people back into the businesses that were forced to either shut down, adjust their hours, or any other shift that was no fault of their own,” said Chris Yandle, fitness director at the gym. “With the idea of tasks and prizes involved, we thought it would encourage people to try places they had never been to or places they haven’t been to in months. We envisioned it as people getting back into the community!”

The following businesses participated: Charlotte Strength, Free Will Craft and Vine, Renimart, NoDa Company Store, Birdsong Brewing, NoDa Brewing, Another Round Disc Golf, Benny Penello’s, Oh My Soul, The Sidekick, Rhino Market NoDa, Ebb & Flow Movement Studio, The Degenerate, Orto Italian Kitchen, Roy’s Kitchen and Patio, Spoons NoDa, Smelly Cat Coffee House, Divine Barrel Brewing, NoDa 101, Mac Tabby Cat Café, Free Range Brewing, The Exchange at 36th Street, The Hobbyist, Billy Jacks NoDa, and Eucalyptus Blooms.

Yandle said the game has garnered a great response from the NoDa community, so much so that they hope to make it an annual event.

“Every time someone mentions it, they love the idea. I’ve had people ask me to do one for Plaza Midwood or every month,” he said. “We have been very happy with the response and have enjoyed meeting new people as they drop in to our gym for a workout.”

If you missed it this year, don’t worry – while there’s no set date for the next one, Yandle said it would likely be next spring or summer.