Despite the cancellation of most of the large-scale events to mark Solon’s bicentennial due to the coronavirus pandemic, one initiative centering on the city’s business community has gained momentum.

Earlier this month, the Passport to Solon, shop local campaign, got under way, following a three-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic that started at the beginning of the year.

The initiative, which will continue through Nov. 30, involves about 30 businesses that are “passport destinations” and offer a variety of incentives to shoppers.

“Most of our bicentennial celebrations had to be canceled because they involved gatherings of large crowds,” Mayor Edward H. Kraus explained. “The campaign around exploring our local businesses still works, and our business community could use the support now more than ever.”

As a result, this initiative is a way to work within health guidelines of the coronavirus while helping businesses, said Angee Shaker, economic development director.

“They support us, so let’s support them,” she said.

Mrs. Shaker said many of the local businesses lost money during the statewide closures to control the spread of the virus yet they remain integral to the fabric and character of the city.

The way the program works is that local shoppers can pick up a passport at any of the participating businesses, the list of which is available on the city website at, and begin taking advantage of offers such as discounts and giveaways.

“We just want to get our residents back into our Solon businesses,” Mrs. Shaker said.

Those participants who receive 10 or more stamps on their passport are being asked to mail them into the Solon Chamber of Commerce, at 6240 SOM Center Road #211, to be entered into a virtual prize drawing, which will take place at noon Dec. 12.

Some of the incentives include free products, as well as food coupons and discounts. For example, Yours Truly restaurant is offering a free milkshake with the purchase of an entree and Big Frog Custom T-Shirts is handing out free Solon bicentennial T-shirts or a reusable tote bag for passport participants.

“Solon is an innovative community and many of our businesses have adjusted their businesses in the pandemic to continue to provide jobs and services in the community to help us live with COVID,” Mrs. Shaker said. “These efforts include employees wearing masks, the installation of plexiglass between customers, curbside pickup and signs to encourage social distancing.”

Mrs. Shaker said this effort is done with support of the Solon Chamber of Commerce who is a “terrific partner” as well as the support of Mayor Kraus’ administration and City Council.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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