Campaign encourages residents to ‘Shop Elburn First’

By on August 1, 2014

ELBURN—The Elburn Economic Development Commission is working on a “Shop Elburn First” campaign to encourage residents to spend their money in town and “break the habit” of heading to Randall Road to shop.

Commission members, made up of business owners and representatives, said they want to appeal to citizens’ civic pride to support the existing businesses in town.

“If you want all these things in your town, you’ve got to use them,” said Patrick Leach, president of Control Plus, Inc., at the commission’s meeting on Monday.

The commission would use banners, window decals, newspaper ads, shopping bags and more to create public awareness of the goods and services offered in Elburn.

“When they’re pulling out of their driveway, we want them to think about going to Elburn instead of driving east,” Leach said.

Elburn Chamber of Commerce member Ben Westfall, who attended the meeting at the commission’s request, pointed out some problems he saw with the Shop Elburn First campaign.

He shared with the group lists he had come up with of items people could find in Elburn, as well as those they would not.

The list of things they could not find in Elburn was longer than the list of what they could.

“People are already shopping in Elburn,” he said. “There’s just not that much available.”

The commission, created by the village in November 2013, has the mission to “assist in the attraction, retention, maintenance and revitalization of economic and community growth within the village.”

The group’s short-term goals, in addition to the Shop Elburn First idea, are to attract businesses to the empty spaces in town, such as a florist, specialty food stores and others; form a group of volunteers to help with clean-up, landscaping, painting and basic repair of the downtown area; and bring back a farmers market.

Longer-term goals include downtown beautification and pushing for better parking in the downtown area.

In order to accomplish these and other goals, members said they would need a budget, something the group currently does not have.

“If you don’t have a budget, you’re not going to go anywhere,” said Joe Kryszak, president of JDW Institutional Paper and an active member of the Elburn Lions Club.

The group discussed ways of raising money, including asking the village for a small budget, as well as approaching the chamber, the Lions Club and local businesses for assistance.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said that because the village has a limited budget, the board must “pick and choose” what it is able to do.

“I can’t tell you we have money to spend; we don’t,” Willrett said.

One of the ways the group discussed saving money on the Shop Elburn First campaign, as well as to generate interest, is to hold a contest to create a logo for the campaign.
The group plans to attend the Aug. 4 Village Board meeting to ask for the village’s financial support.