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Downtown Development Bringing More Business to the Forest City

Customers make their way to Loves Park to check out the specialty shop, The Olive Oil Experience.
ROCKFORD, IL--Customers have made their way to Loves Park to check out the specialty shop, The Olive Oil Experience, which also sells their specialty products at Rockford's City Market on Friday Nights.

Soon, gourmet olive oil lovers will be able to shop in downtown Rockford all week.

Co-owner of The Olive Oil Experience, Charles Ducharme, says, "We know there's a lot of good things going on in the downtown area, so we wanted to be apart of it."

The company is opening a new store location on East State Street.

Ducharme says being downtown will allow them to participate in evening and weekend events.

"I think the biggest benefit is, is that the events that they hold down there, they're becoming more frequent, and a lot of people are drawn down there for those events,” said Ducharme.

Mark Podemski, from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), says special events are bringing more foot traffic, which is attracting new businesses downtown. Podemski expects these numbers to continue to climb.

"I think we're definitely increasing, I’d love to see the numbers continue to grow, there's more spaces we can still fill up, but it's exciting and it's very positive,” said Podemski.

Downtown development, like the proposed Amerock hotel project, is also increasing business interest in the area.

Podemski says the hotel would be attractive to business owners and help stimulate the downtown economy. He says, "It’s moving in the right direction, can continue to improve would be wonderful for our downtown."

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