The holiday shopping season is drawing in and three local businesses are giving residents an opportunity to start early. The second Backroads Boutique Crawl of the year will be happening tomorrow from 9AM – 6PM at 3 locations in Morgan, Menard, and Cass counties. Julie Rowe, owner of the Home Girls boutique on Jacksonville’s Central Park Plaza says the crawl has really taken off from its beginning. “I started the boutique crawl two years ago. This is actually the fifth one. We had one in the spring. The first one happened in the Fall. It was an idea that was given to me by Brittany Henry at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. I was just trying to find a way to drum up business for our small, local shops in the area. I thought this would be a good idea to tie in with other small boutiques in other small towns. I got in touch with the shops in Petersburg and Oakford and we all agreed to start doing [the crawl], and it’s been successful ever since.”
Rowe says that each location will have special items for sale. She says she will also have a list of other shops on the square in Jacksonville and their hours of operation during the crawl to promote local business. “We have a customer we present to customers if they make a purchase of a certain amount. They get points to use towards a purchase at a future date at any one of our three locations. If they make a purchase of $15 or more, they get a signature here at Home Girls and if they make a purchase at each of the other stops, they get an additional dollar amount off on top of what they just earned. The more you spend at each stop, the more your coupon grows. Each individual shop has special events. For instance, we are doing swag bags during the day tomorrow. We have all kinds of treats and things throughout the day, as well.”
Rowe hopes the weather holds up through the weekend. The crawl includes Proud Souls in Petersburg and The Yellow Door in Oakford from 9AM-6PM tomorrow. Rowe says its a nice time to view the fall colors while driving through the rural parts of West Central Illinois.
Rowe says events like this one have helped businesses like hers spread the word and support the trend of shopping local. “Since I opened up about 2 1/2 years ago, I have seen a lot of people returning to what people call the ‘mom & pop’ stores for their shopping, especially with the social media trends of shopping local and the hashtag ‘shoplocal’ trending.”
The event marks one of several upcoming local shopping events to highlight the opening of the local retail shopping season in the area.