ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO) — For many, helping out local businesses and wanting to save money is a constant struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic. One Stateline city has come up with a way to help people do both. Our team spent the day learning about the unique program and discovered one tip–make sure to save those reciepts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on small business owners’ sales and on residents’ wallets. That’s what inspired the City of Rochelle to come up with a win-win solution for the community.

“When all the COVID started, we looked at all the ways we could help small businesses, and just made a list and we’re trying to work through that list and just see how we can facilitate programs like this,” said Michelle Pease, the community development director for the City of Rochelle.

For most of 2020, small businesses have faced big problems. The COVID-19 pandemic shutting down non-essential businesses for weeks in the spring–leaving shop owners playing catch-up ever since.

“As local people, we need to support our local businesses,” Pease explained.

The Rochelle Community Development Director Michelle Pease put together a plan to generate business for local stores while helping residents also impacted by the pandemic.

“You spend $300 and then we credit your RMU $60,” she added.

Residents that spend $300 at area small businesses and restaurants will receive $60 off their next utility bill.

“I can definitely rack up $300 in takeout food and small businesses and I will definitely appreciate that off my next utility bill,” said one Rochelle resident Jen Finnegan.

Shoppers can fill out a form on the Rochelle City website, attach their receipts and enjoy the discount–all while shopping small.

“Any major purchases that I’ve bought since I’ve been back in town, I have tried to shop small and not the big brand stores,” Finnegan added.

The RMU credit program is going on now through the end of December, so hold onto those receipts and turn them in.

“You know they’re our neighbors they’re our friends, we’re helping support their kid for music lessons or little league and all those things,” Pease concluded.


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