ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Business owners in Downtown Rockford say that Stroll On State brings in customers who might not have otherwise come into the store.
With Downtown Rockford packed with people during Stroll On State, local shop owners take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their business.
Jen Ralston is the owner of Bath and Body Fusion on State Street.
She said she looks forward to the event each year.
“We really love that they put on Stroll On State every year. It takes us months to prepare for it,” Ralston said. “We always try to make our store windows look magical for everybody coming down for the event. We put a lot of love into making our products and preparing our windows.”
Jason Rager is the owner of Thrive Cafe downtown.
He just opened a State Street location last week, where he expanded from Loves Park.
For him Stroll On State was the perfect way to introduce the people of Rockford to his business.
“Even with the weather, we had a great turnout. We had a lot of customers come by. We sampled a lot of our juice,” Rager said. “A lot of customers knew about us, but then we had a lot of people walking in that had never heard of us before. So it was just great to kind of get the Thrive brand out there and what we offer.”
For Magpie’s Restaurant and owner Stephanie Caltagerone, it was her first Stroll On State in a new location after a fire in 2017 forced her to relocate.
She said supporting small business is part of what makes Stroll On State special.
“That’s kind of what it’s all about,” said Caltagerone. “Sure, we want you to go do Stroll On State, but we also want you to come in, get warm, get something to eat, have a drink, and it worked out really well for us.”
“It gets new faces that have never seen our store in,” said Ralston. “A lot of them buy that night, but many of them come back and return and say that they never knew we were here and they discovered us during Stroll On State, so we get a lot of repeat business after the event as well.”
Last year, Stroll On State organizers estimated over 87,000 people were in attendance.
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