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Support a Dream- Why We Owe it to Downtown Businesses

Imagine Downtown Kenosha in your mind. What do you see?

Perhaps a streetcar is passing by as the sun begins to set in hues of orange and pink, or maybe a woman clutches her to-go cup of coffee as she walks her dog down by the harbor. Maybe you imagine a family walking down 6th Avenue on a crisp November day.

Now imagine it all once more…

Except this time, the charming storefronts, the gleaming window sills filled with curated merchandise, and the historical signs and lights- are gone.

Is Downtown Kenosha, Downtown, without our local businesses?

What a gift it is to have a community that has a central heartbeat of creativity, culinary excellence, stunning architecture, and incredible entrepreneurs. It’s such a gift, in fact, that many see Downtown as the main attraction (next to Lake Michigan!)  when it comes to our city. Let’s break down some of the reasons why we shop small here in Kenosha.

It’s the Little things

From locals to visitors, a favorite pastime is to drive through Downtown Kenosha, looking at the storefronts, lights, and architecture. Another favorite activity is to browse in the shops, and markets, and smile at the one-of-a-kind wares.  Whether we walk down 6th Ave and smell the handmade pizza at Villa De Carlo, glimpse into the new seasonal decor inside of Lulu Birds, or smell the espresso in the air by Blak Coffee, we enjoy it. It’s the little things, right? Well, to you and I, maybe it is the little things. But to the businesses working day and night on their dream, not only is it a big thing… it’s everything. This is the perfect time of year to shop local and give back for all of the free joys that Downtown businesses bring year-round.

A Dream

We shine a big light when we shop small.

 You’re not just purchasing an item, you’re also funding someone’s dream. Our local businesses are filled with wonderful hardworking people who have amazing customer service, and create a sense of community. Often the people behind the businesses we know and love at the local level do not have time off- they are constantly working on continuing to keep their dream alive, and in turn, continue to support their families and their employees. Going out of your way to support these dreams is not only a “good” thing to do- but it encourages others in your life to do the same. Many would be shocked by the impact it makes when you shop small and spread the word. Word of mouth can be more valuable than a marketing budget when it comes to our brick-and-mortar local shops.

Local Economy

Did you know that when your dollars are going toward a local location rather than a big box store, those funds are being recirculated to benefit our local economy? According to an economic impact analysis by the American Independent Business Alliance, 48% of each purchase at a local business circulates back into other local independent businesses, in contrast to less than 14% for purchases at chain stores. This indicates that small retailers contribute over three times as much money per dollar of sales to the local economy. More jobs are created when you support local businesses,  those employees are paid by the local business, and they spend those dollars at other local businesses.

Every time a new business opens they bring new job opportunities, new products, revenue, services, and more. Additionally, when local businesses pay business taxes, portions of that money are placed into local city funds that can revive and improve our neighborhoods and curate job growth. In simpler terms, the money you invest in your local community stays in your community and creates new growth. This helps the local economy in terms of public services, our public school system, libraries, and more! Lastly, we are constantly seeing local businesses give back to our community. With volunteering in our community, participating in fundraisers, hosting events, and giving to charitable causes, we are constantly seeing local businesses give back to Downtown, which is truly invaluable. 

Sense of Community

 Being a supporter of a small local business makes you a part of it all! I think one of the easiest ways to be in the “know” of what is going on in Downtown Kenosha is to enter our local businesses and connect. Be a regular. Skip the Starbucks line. Feel the sense of community that comes from consistently supporting a locally owned small business. For me, the friendships, volunteer opportunities, networking, mentorship, and so much more I’ve gained in Downtown Kenosha wouldn’t have been possible without the people I’ve met by supporting local businesses.

The meaning

In an era of same-day shipping, where nearly anything you can imagine is available for purchase online, it’s easy for our gifts to lose their meaning. Make it special with a gif they can’t find anywhere else. A handmade creation from one of our local art galleries, a gift card to a new dining option Downtown, a night out trying a new activity like axe throwing at Hold My Beer or splatter painting at Hot Mess Studios. Finding the right gift for the people in your life can also be a fun family activity! Walking around our Downtown area browsing the items and making your own holiday list can be a great way to plan out your gift-giving ideas. You can also read up on our holiday gift-giving guide for Downtown!

The next time you GO Downtown, I ask you to imagine what it would look like without our local businesses. We are truly nothing without the businesses that make Downtown Kenosha a beautiful place to live, work, and play.

Article written by Jenna Zeihen with the Visit Kenosha team
For everything Kenosha see visitkenosha.com

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