Freeport, Brunswick business groups monopolize fundraisers

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FREEPORT — This holiday season, the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce and Brunswick Downtown Association are taking a playful approach to fundraising.

Late last month, the towns released locally themed board games based on Monopoly, called  Freeportopoly and Brunswickopoly. Both games feature establishments residents will recognize from around town in lieu of the avenues and railroads in the Hasbro version. 

Debora King, executive director of the Brunswick Downtown Association, said the idea for Brunswick’s game came after she heard about Main Street Skowhegan creating its own Monopoly game, Skowopoly, last year.

“I thought if Skowhegan can do it, Brunswick can sure as heck do it, so that’s how we got into it,” King said. 

The Brunswick Downtown Association began the process in June, and from there, King said she told Sande Updegraph, former executive director of the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce, that creating a game might be a viable fundraising option for Freeport, too.

Freeportopoly took about four months to complete and was already in progress when Executive Director Shawna Chigro-Rogers joined the chamber in August.

“It was a real cooperation between the two towns,” Updegraph said. 

King said competition between the Brunswick and Freeport games was also not a concern of hers.

“People from Brunswick and people who used to live in Brunswick are the ones who are going to purchase this,” King said of Brunswickopoly. “And so that wasn’t even an issue in terms of being territorial at all.”

Both Brunswickopoly and Freeportopoly are available for $35 at local retailers. For a full list, visit the Brunswick Downtown Association and Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce websites. 

For both games, members of the Brunswick Downtown Association and the Freeport Chamber paid to be featured in varying degrees throughout. Buying a space on the board, for example, was more expensive than being featured on what are referred to as Chance cards in traditional Monopoly.

Because Hasbro owns the rights to the terms used in the original game, both the Freeport and Brunswick versions use substitutes. For instance, the Go space on the boards is listed as Start, and the plastic house and hotel pieces are called homes and inns. 

In the Brunswick version, instead of being sent to jail, players go to Mid Coast Hospital.

The money in the local versions is different as well. Norway Savings Bank sponsored all of the money for Brunswickopoly, but George Denney, an entrepreneur Updegraph calls one of the “founding fathers of modern Freeport,” is the face of Freeportopoly’s cash.

Denney, who grew up in Freeport, is credited with the success of the Cole Haan brand, which he sold to Nike in 1988. He is also the founder of the Freeport Community Improvement Association.

“Freeport was kind of a dusty town with tumbleweeds, that’s metaphorical of course,” Updegraph said. “But (Denney) along with a couple of other leading lights really pushed for a retail center here, and he made it happen.”

King, Updegraph and Chigro-Rogers said sales of the game have been good so far. 

“(Our game) features schools, medical establishments, restaurants, and inns. We’re talking about things that are here for residents year-round and not just visitors that come,” Chigro-Rogers said. “It’s really something that people can relate to throughout the community.”

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

The Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce released Freeportopoly, a Freeport-themed board game based on Monopoly, in late November. 

George Denney, a longtime Freeport resident credited with the success of the Cole Haan footwear company, is featured as the face of Freeportopoly money. 

Debora King, executive director of the Brunswick Downtown Association, began work on Brunswickopoly this summer. She then helped the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce create its game. 

Brunswickopoly features locally themed tokens, such as Bowdoin College’s mascot, the polar bear.