Stella Owner Launches “Shop Small Stores” Campaign

For many small, independent retailers around Chicagoland, 2009 has not been a great year. So with the make-or-break holiday season right around the corner, Rachel Hershinow, owner of the boutique called Stella on Central Street in Evanston, believed it was time to take action by attracting business to her store instead of waiting for business to come to her.

After attending the International Gift Show in New York this past August, Rachel came across a grassroots organization called “Shop Small Stores” and decided to bring it back to the Central Street Merchants Association in Evanston. The idea is to remind consumers to shop small, locally owned stores in the community instead of national big box stores. As you can imagine, the idea was met with great enthusiasm and now Rachel has spearheaded a campaign to bring greater awareness—and foot traffic—to the charming and one of a kind Central Street in Evanston for the upcoming holiday season.

Rachel believes that once the community finds out about the campaign, and the importance of shopping local, the movement will catch on. And she has numbers to support her cause. For example, according to the 3/50 Project, if half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $4.2 billion in revenue.

And for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If the same money is spent in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

Rachel is hoping to empower her fellow store owners on Central Street to take control and keep local dollars local. In addition, The Central Street Merchants Association is excited to give their customers the opportunity for thoughtful purchasing. The first step of their plans involves the creation of a poster entitled “Faces of Central Street” and will include pictures of all participating merchants. They also plan to create pins, bumper sticker and door signs to further promote the Shop Small Stores concept.