Shops offering car repairs, computer assistance, dry cleaning, pet care, flowers, haircuts and a variety of food on the far East side of Aurora will be offering specials as part of the first Shop Local Weekend organized by three aldermen.
This weekend is a test run of an idea Alderman Rick Mervine developed to boost local businesses that have been struggling through years of recession and a slow economic recovery. More than 50 businesses in wards 8, 9 and 10 in the DuPage, Kendall and Will County areas of Aurora are participating, Mervine said.
Long-established businesses, such as Ogden Avenue shops Stew's Barbershop and Golden Sea Chop Suey, are participating, along with relative newcomers like OMango, an Indian restaurant on Route 59.
"We wanted to make sure our local residents were paying attention to the businesses that were right around the corner from them," Mervine said. "All too often, when you live in a particular area, you have the stores that you patronize and you really don't give a look at some of the others."
Stores partnering with the aldermen for Shop Local Weekend are advertising on Facebook and with banners at their locations. Mervine, along with aldermen Al Lewandowski and Lynda Elmore, sent letters to the 26,000 total homes in their wards encouraging residents to shop somewhere different in town this weekend, he said.
Shop owners told Mervine on Friday they were hearing from customers about the promotion, which runs until Sunday. If conversations with business owners and customers after the weekend determine the event was a success, the aldermen may host another one in November.
"We're suggesting this weekend, if not every weekend, residents should take a look at those businesses and shop local," Mervine said.