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Are you up for the CHALLENGE?

Glenda Smith, tourism, owatonna, shop and dine
Glenda Smith, director of conventions and tourism for Owatonna, displays prizes that will be awarded as part of the Shop & Dine Challenge: pint glass, sling bag and pizza board. All items will feature Owatonna’s new logo. Staff photo by Rick Bussler
Owatonna rolls out Shop & Dine Challenge
Rick Bussler, Publisher

It only seems appropriate that a community touting itself as “where the extra mile takes you” begins with a challenge.

Owatonna is rolling out the Shop & Dine Challenge this week. It’s a fun activity that requires no purchase and is free to participate in, according to Glenda Smith, director of conventions and tourism for the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce. The challenge will run through May 5.

“This challenge is the first of what we hope to be many more of Owatonna’s extra mile experiences and adventures,” says Smith. “The goal of our challenge is to encourage both visitors and residents to visit our local retail stores and restaurants.”

Participants, Smith said, will need to download an app in order to take part in the challenge. They will then check in via their phone when going into participating businesses. Locations will be verified by GPS.

With one location being allowed every 10 minutes, Smith said it encourages participants to be in shops and restaurants long enough to at least get a good look at what they have to offer. As of Monday morning, 32 business had committed to the challenge. All are located in Owatonna with the exception of the Hubbell House in Mantorville.

“The point is to get people to go places they haven’t been before,” Smith said. “It’s the power of suggestion. We want people to support local businesses.”

She said participants cannot go to the same place repeatedly to earn their points. Drive-bys are not allowed, and people must go inside in the venue for at least 10 minutes, Smith said.  

While no purchase is required, Smith encourages people to consider spending some money at the venues. “This time of the year restaurants and bars can use a boost,” she said.

The Chamber is always looking for innovative ways to market the community, Smith said. The idea for this particular challenge came from Bandwango, which is a destination experience engine available to cities across the country. Bandwango’s aim is to connect communities to local businesses.

Similar challenges have been done in Rochester and Bloomington.

Prizes for the challenge will be awarded: Owatonna pint glass, 5 points; sling bag, 15 points and pizza board, 20 points. The prizes can be picked up at the Chamber office at 120 S. Oak Ave.

Everyone who takes part will be entered into a drawing for an “Owatonna Experience,” which includes a one-night stay at a local hotel, $100 to a local restaurant and entertainment/attraction passes.

Smith said information gathered during the challenge will be used for marketing Owatonna. One of her goals is to use email addresses provided for a newsletter about Owatonna.

For more information about the challenge, go to


Shop & Dine Challenge

Participating Businesses


Central Park Coffee Co.

Central Park Framing & Finds

Costas Candies

Court Sports & More


Curly Girlz Candy, Inc.

Farmers Feed & Pet Supply

Foremost Brewing Cooperative

Fresh Cafe Owatonna

Godfather's Pizza

Graif Clothing

Hidden Rose Boutique

Kernel Restaurant

Kleckers Kreations

Let's Ride Boots And Apparel

Lilly and Rose Boutique

Little Professor Book Center


Mineral Springs Brewery

Olivia's Family Restaurant

Owatonna Eagles

Owatonna Shoe

Paffrath Jewelers

Pizza Ranch

Reggie's Brewhouse

Souba Greenhouse

Spare Time Entertainment

The Hubbell House

The Rustic Mama's Market

Tone Music

Urban Loft

Wings Tavern & Grille


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