ST. CHARLES – The Downtown St. Charles Partnership understands residents might drive through downtown more than they stop and look at the local shops.
In an effort to bring awareness to the city’s independently owned stores, the partnership is promoting Spend Local Awareness Week, set for Sunday to Nov. 17.
“We wanted to get people familiar with downtown St. Charles businesses before the holidays so they can see what they have to offer before the holidays start up,” marketing coordinator Jamie Blair said.
She said the Spend Local Awareness Week stemmed from Cinda Baxter’s visit in June. Baxter is president and founder of The 3/50 Project, which encourages consumers to spend $50 a month among three local businesses they wouldn’t want to close.
According to The 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenses. For national chains, the project reports, that amount is $43, and for online purchases it is $0.
According to the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, there are more than 40 independently owned stores from Century Corners to First Street.
They sell clothing, jewelry, refurbished home decor and, among other merchandise, knitting and crochet products.
The partnership hopes shoppers take time next week to stop and see what the stores have to offer, because they might offer more unique items than big box stores, Blair said.
The goal, she said, is to get residents “to realize there’s a lot downtown.”
Some of the businesses are offering special deals for Spend Local Awareness Week. A list is available on the Downtown St. Charles Partnership’s website and includes Donna’s Jewelry Box, Eliza Jane, Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, JP Jewelers, Tranquility Wellness and Circa Vintage Gallery.
Circa Vintage Gallery, which is offering 15 percent off the total purchase, sells a little bit of everything – vintage artwork, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, furniture, hats and other items, owner Nancy Knapp said.
She opened Circa Vintage Gallery, 17 N. Second Ave., about three months ago. She hopes Spend Local Awareness Week will bring exposure to her store and attract repeat business.
“I think it’s a good idea,” she said, “and I hope people will take advantage of the specials.”