I live in Antioch, Illinois, a small town north of Chicago and a smidge south of the Wisconsin border. Our quaint Main Street strip is full of all the stores you love to shop on summer vacation, minus the junky tchotchke place. I enjoy strolling the streets year-round and there’s nothing like Christmastime when all the trees on the street light up for the holiday. Thanks to the constant stream of promotions on social media, I can’t keep away from making a quick trip to scoop up the trendy sweater I saw on Facebook from Copper and Lace or the yellow coffee mug Little Bean Coffee Company posted on Instagram. And I feel so good spending my dollars because these stores truly deserve the money.
It’s the highlight of my week when I start my Saturday with a yoga class at Trillium Yoga Studio, grab a beautiful bouquet of eucalyptus from Antioch Flower Shop, take-out breakfast from The Vegas Cafe (don’t forget the soup!) and swing by Rustic and Reclaimed to peruse what new home accents they’ve created before heading home. No joke, this is a typical Saturday morning and it’s my favorite self-care ritual.
If I have time to myself, I walk down to Family Heirloom Antiques and wander their beautiful house and garage looking for something old they’ve made new. If I’m really lucky, I head over to Massage on Main Street for a facial and a foot soak. When I went a little COVID crazy and dyed my hair pink and purple earlier this fall, I only trusted Sara at Living Well Studio. When my four-year-old is with me, he talks me into taking him to Something Sweet for “just one piece of candy” and we always walk out with a box of homemade cream and butter fudge.
Some of these stores are new entrepreneurial ventures. Others are a family passion passed on through generations. Each one has its own story and if I had more time, I’d write about every one of them. They all deserve a spot in the limelight. Local store owners are doing everything they can to keep their shops safe and remain in business during COVID. I want to see them still around after this pandemic is over. They are the reason why I love living here. I show my support as a sign of gratitude by doing things like regularly shopping at their stores and writing this blog post. I also snap photos and post them on social media to encourage other people to spend a few of their well-earned dollars at worthy shops and restaurants.
Heather, the owner of Family Heirloom Antiques, is the amazing momentum behind Shop Antioch. Her enthusiastic energy around supporting small businesses proves a rising tide lifts all boats. I admire her ability to balance promoting her own business and everyone else’s. Besides her amazing treasure hunting abilities, Heather is also a talented graphic designer and she’s created a Small Shop Supporter brand to further the message that small businesses are the heart of small towns, like Antioch. She’s also a fellow mom who’s trying to make a lot of things work at once. My heart shares her passion.
I encourage you to think before you conveniently shop online at cheap big box stores. I know you can’t always do it, but when you have the time, wander your local stores. If you’re looking for more, I highly recommend a road trip to Antioch’s Main Street. It’s true: when you shop at a small business, a real person actually does a happy dance.