ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — “The Midwest Rustic” in Downtown Rockford recently reached its one year anniversary this past April, and the store’s owner announced at the time that a second year might not be in the cards.
Fellow business owners unexpectedly stepped up to try and help keep the shop open. It is now the final two days before the decision is made on if “The Midwest Rustic” will stay open or be forced to close.
“You think that you have to close the door and you have to put a end to your dream, and that was it,” said Brianna Zahn, owner of “The Midwest Rustic.”
Zahn was a massage therapist before she became the owner of the “The Midwest Rustic,” and many of her clients encouraged her to pursue her dream of owning a store. Many were proud to see the store grow from an idea to the real thing.
“You know, you feel like you are living the dream, but then stuff happens and the economy just went south,” Zahn said.
Zahn said that she knew being a business owner would be hard, but with the long winter season, slow foot traffic, inflation and rent being raise, she was not expecting anything like this. After making a video announcing the closure, another unexpected thing happened.
“And then these people come together and they believe in you more than you believed in you… so…. it’s been awesome,” Zahn said.
“Shows me as a small business owner that, okay, if I’m having a hard day or whatever and I can’t figure out what I need to do, I can ask for help, and there’s no shame in that,” added Chelsea Demos, owner of Flower Girls, LLC.
Demos said that she wants to help as much as she can because it is impacting businesses even smaller than hers. One way she is helping is by selling pocket bouquets, and all the proceeds will go to help the “The Midwest Rustic.”
“We need our community to come together in order for our dreams, and other dreams that people want to be in this type of business, to keep growing and established,” Demos said.
If all goes well upon reaching their goal, the “The Midwest Rustic” will go under some big changes, a total revamp and three new business partners, according to Zahn. She said that they are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I am proud and happy to say that, you know, the community did it,” Zahn said. “The community saved us, so that’s pretty wild, to like, say, to actually see that we’re going to be okay.”
The “The Midwest Rustic” is on the borderline of reaching their $10,000 GoFundMe goal. They have Wednesday and Thursday to reach their goal.