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Niche Markets Draw Customers, Boost Forest City Business

During a time when businesses are boarding up and heading out of the Forest City two local companies have moved to bigger locations. How niche markets are keeping dollars local.

ROCKFORD- As the vinyl hits the turntable and music fills the air at Culture Shock, 2239 Charles Street, owners Lauren and Skyler Davis help customers at the grand opening of their new location.

"We appreciate everyone that walks in the door. And I think that that really helps drive customers to our store time and time again,” said Davis.

Non-profit group The Element fosters arts and entertainment growth Downtown Rockford and in surrounding neighborhoods. Director Ed McCullough says to build a better local economy it starts with where customers spend their dollar.

"This is a great example of the kinds of retail activities that we need in Rockford because the dollars will stay here, all the dollars the profits everything. We’re not sending any money back to Chicago or New York or L.A. or some franchise someplace else," explained McCullough.

Culture Shock sells hyper-local products and an array of records both new and old.

"For every national franchise that comes in or big box store you lose these small retailers, so when you have a niche market like Culture Shock is fulfilling you have something that will bring people into Rockford," said McCullough.

Owner Skyler Davis says expanding in Rockford was a no-brainer.

"People need it here maybe more than in big cities where you have more options and more places already," explained Davis.

Proof of that, across town Sugarjones opened their second location today at 6336 East Riverside Blvd. Managers were excited as cupcake lovers poured in.
   
"It’s been great we've had a steady flow of customers all day long and we've been selling a lot so it's been awesome," said Sugarjones Manager Laura Smith.

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