Rockford celebrates its small businesses

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Shoppers have been heading out all weekend to cross gifts off their wish lists, and small business owners welcomed them into their own stores to help support and celebrate “Small Business Saturday.”

“We are really proud of the stories that are coming out of Rockford with our dream cream,” said Jenny Ralston, owner of Bath and Body Fusion.

Ralston started her business of making handmade skin care products as a hobby in her grandmother’s kitchen 11 years ago. She has grown to create on of her bestsellers, Dream Cream, which is helping severe burn survivors and cancer patients.

Since then, her business has grown to a store front on State Street.

“We pour so much light and love into our community, and we do what we do for the love of our city,” Ralston said.

Many local businesses have had a rush of customers from Black Friday into Small Business Saturday. Midwest Rustic owner Brianna Zahn said she was not expecting it.

“I was actually blown away at how many people still want to support small, even through the fantastic deals that are going on with the big box stores,” Zahn said.

The Midwest Rustic is a collective of local artists and stateline businesses. Through the pandemic, some people were able to find their specialties and turn them into a business, according to Zahn.

Local business owners said it helps to shop locally because not only is it putting back into the community, but also of getting unique items.

The Indigo Shop on State Street in Downtown Rockford has 20 female owned businesses, each one different.

“I feel like this is a great place to find gift that’s really unique,” said Indigo Shop employee Larraine Mencilla. “There’s a lot of items here that you probably couldn’t find anywhere else.”

Business owners said there always seems to be something for everyone, and that nothing beats a gift made with love and passion.

“I know its easy to sit at home and shop online for Christmas, but it really makes a difference when you get out and shop local,” said Ralston.

The Better Business Bureau said shopping small helps money stay in the community, as well as eating small at locally owned restaurants or bakeries.

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