Featured Business Volume 18: Halo Cupcake

Halo Cupcake
Address: 7969 Forest Hills Rd, Loves Park
Business Phone: 815-282-1225
Hours of Operation: Monday 10-4, Tuesday through Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-2
Business Email: Halocupcake@outlook.com
Year Established: 2012

Brief Description of your Business: Bakery specializing in cupcakes, cakes, wedding cakes

How do you collaborate with other local businesses? I took over the business in June, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to do just that! We work with Meg’s Daily Grind with a signature bar every week, Vito’s Ristorante with cakes and desserts, and cakes for Red Elephant Chocolate shop in Madison, WI, and would LOVE to come up with signature cupcakes or desserts for more local coffee shops or restaurants.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? Go for it!

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: We just remodeled the customer area of the shop and it really looks incredible. You just have to see it!

Featured Business Volume 17: Alpine Body Shop

Address: 4804 HYDRAULIC ROAD, ROCKFORD, IL. 61109
Business Phone: 815-874-4424
Hours of Operation: 7:30 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M. MONDAY THRU FRIDAY
Business Email: tina@alpinebodyshopinc.com
Year Established: 1977

Brief Description of your Business:

Established in 1977, Alpine Body Shop is one of the largest body shops in the Rockford area, consisting of a 16,492 square foot state of-the-art facility.  We pride ourselves on providing extraordinary service before, during and after your auto is repaired.  In addition, we are dedicated to using that care for both your car and the environment.

1. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? Stay true to yourself and your customers.  Treat people as you would want to be treated.

2. As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community? Buying Local keeps more money in our community.  If you can please support your Local Business especially this Holiday Season.

3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: We were just awarded #1 Auto Repair Shop in What Rocks by the Rock River Valley. 

Featured Business Volume 16: The Event Boutique

event boutique logoThe Event Boutique
Address: 1422 20th St., Rockford
Business Phone: 779-770-0852
Hours of Operation: By appointment
Business Email: Eventboutiquemanager@gmail.com
Year Established: 2015

Brief Description of your Business: A private event space designed exclusively  for intimate engagements.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? Go for it!!

What do you love about Winnebago County OR why did you choose Winnebago County to start your business? My family owned a business downtown Rockford for 40 years. I have always wanted to add my personal stamp to this great city, what better way than to open my own business.

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: The hardest part about holding a private event in our space is picking out your guest list.. Some will not make it on, but the ones who do will experience great quality in a chic, unique environment ♡

Featured Business Volume 15: Pampered Pet Grooming

pampered-pet-logoPampered Pet Grooming
Address: 3702B N. Main St. Rockford, IL. 61103
Business Phone: 815-282-9663
Hours of Operation: Monday through Saturday 9-4
Business Email: denapamperedpet@comcast.net
Year Established:1984




We are a full service grooming salon and carry pet food,treats and boutique items for your pets, we also have a Pet Supply Resale Shop and the proceeds go to Kibble Korner, the local pet food pantry.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business?

Our father always told us to keep our business name out there no matter how long you are in business, that’s why we like to be involved in events that are local.

As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community?

We have to support each other to help local businesses stay in operation so the big box stores don’t take over. Most people like having owners at the business that they can talk to about their business.

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:

We are the only grooming shop in Rockford that has a Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash where you can use our space to bathe, brush and dry your dogs and someone is always there to help if needed.

Featured Business Volume 14: Eickman’s Processing

22147_316693971616_8304532_nYour Business Name: Eickman’s Processing
Address: 3226 S Pecatonica Rd., Seward, IL 61077
Business Phone: 815-247-8451
Hours of Operation: M – F 7:00am – 5:30pm, Sat 7:00am – noon
Business Email: eickmansproc@aol.com
Year Established: 1953

Brief Description of your Business: Our family-owned business specializes in custom meat processing of local beef, hogs and lambs, catering, wholesale processing for local restaurants and we also have a retail grocery store you can browse.

1. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business?

It may sound simple, but probably, “You can’t please everyone.” The reason for that is that no matter how hard you try or how excellent of a job you do, some people are just going to be unhappy. And sometimes there are things that customers request that we just cannot accommodate, though we sure do try.


2. As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community?

More money staying within our community, not ending up in a corporation across the country, is always good and it directly impacts the families of those local business owners. With our business we are extra passionate about buying local foods – knowing where your food is coming from, how it’s produced, even visiting a local farm and getting to know the farmers.

3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:

We were fortunate to be recommended by some of our peers to be a part of an episode of The History Channel’s Modern Marvels – The Butcher. A few years later when The History Channel produced a new show called Food Tech, we were featured on the episode The Cheeseburger. It was definitely fun to be a part of, and an honor. (And sometimes hosts really do ask, “What’s my motivation?”)

Featured Business Volume 13: Ground Floor Skateboards

thumbnail_GF_Logo_RegularColorGround Floor Skateboards

333 E State Street, Rockford

Monday and Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 2:00 – 8:00 PM

Saturday: Noon – 8:00 PM

Sunday: Noon – 5:00 PM

Email: info@groundfloorskateboards.com

Established in 2016

Brief Description: We are a skateboard shop offering independent brands made by skateboarders for skateboarders.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business?: The best advice is simply follow your instincts at all times. I’ve used them for years and everything has worked out well. Don’t try and sell things you don’t support 100% because you’ll come of unauthentic, phony, and the customer will be able to tell instantly. 

What do you love about Winnebago County OR why did you choose Winnebago County to start your business? : There is an honesty here. People respect integrity. If you give them a quality product they will not only respect you but will be loyal to you. If you do the opposite they will not. I love that about this place. Wouldn’t want a business anywhere else. 

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: We are the only locally owned, independent skateboard shop in the area with over 27 years experience in skateboarding.

Local Biz Owner Social Celebrating “Winnebago Buy Local Month”

This networking night will be a little different!
All grassroots local business owners (or managers of grassroots local businesses) are invited to celebrate “Winnebago Buy Local Month” with us. In fact, CHALLENGE: Bring another local business owner with you that night. Lets see some new faces!

We will chat about upcoming events and opportunities, hear short presentations from EIGERlab and Rock Valley Credit Union and celebrate our strength as a community of LOCAL businesses as we share tips, collaborations, and clink glasses!

Light appetizers and a cash bar will be provided by our generous hosts (Rock Valley Credit Union)

We cant wait to celebrate with you!

August 2016 Proclaimed To Be “Winnebago Buy Local Month” by The City Of Rockford

August 2016 Proclaimed To Be “Winnebago Buy Local Month” by The City Of Rockford

The City of Rockford, Illinois has proclaimed August 2016 to be Winnebago Buy Local Month. “In addition to August being the second biggest yearly shopping season, Buying Local is essential to revitalizing our cities and towns, and its importance does not get addressed nearly enough.” says Lauren Davis, Winnebago Buy Local’s Director. “Winnebago Buy Local is grateful for the acknowledgement of our local government, as they understand how important locally-owned, grass roots types of businesses are to our overall well-being.”
With over 225 businesses as members, Winnebago Buy Local is a 6-year-old not-for-profit group who encourages the community to “Buy Local” to help our communities stay prosperous and sustainable. They dedicate themselves to bringing the community in touch with local, unique-to-Winnebago County-based businesses while helping local businesses succeed through educational opportunities and networking.

Winnebago Buy Local is responsible for the popular yearly events “A Local Holiday Market” every December, “Totally Local Ice Cream Social” every July, and the new “SocialROCK Conference” for 2016. All of these activities are open to the public and benefited various local charities. For its business members, Winnebago Buy Local offers regular meetings for education, networking, and business support throughout the calendar year.

Buying Local is an investment into our community, creating a prosperous area to live, work, and visit. Buying Local also creates a hot spot for tourism while it simultaneously enriches the environment for more entrepreneurs, artists, creativity, and business to survive and thrive—a recipe for success in America’s top communities.

By supporting grass roots businesses such as these, studies have shown that up to two thirds of every dollar spent at these businesses stays in the local economy, versus less when buying from other types of businesses. Buying Local also moves Winnebago County toward self-sustainability and helps reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the packaging and fuel required to ship products from afar while allowing for job creation.
Winnebago Buy Local encourages everyone help us celebrate Winnebago Buy Local Month in August, and to remember to Buy Local all year long!

Author: Jon Weber

Special thank you to over 20 local businesses who represented Winnebago Buy Local at the Rockford City Council Meeting on August 1st, 2016 to receive this special proclamation. Their participation shows dedication and strength as local business owners in Winnebago County.


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Lauren Davis – Lauren Davis Creative

Skyler Davis – Culture Shock Clothing and Records

Diane Tope – Great Hang-Ups

Barry Tope – Flipside DJ Service and Spotlight Photobooth

Jacob Bradt – Rockford Buzz

Kate Sullivan and Stu Patterson – Kates Pie Shop and Record Store

Diana Kramer – Tasty Tidbits

Robb and Teresa Sinks – Kegel’s Bicycle Shop on Charles

Jon Weber – Pa-Plinka

Alicia Neubauer – Ground Floor Skateboards

Marion Momaly – Marion Momaly CPA

Sue Michaelsen – Sue Michaelsen Tai Chi and Therapy

Joel Collinsworth – Computer Repair IT Services and Learning

Robert Lockwood – PC Tech 2U

Sarah Thistle – Scavenged Parts Antiques and Oddities

Keith and Amy Watson – Bygone Brand

Melody Layng – Petals and Pickin’s

Kim Knutson – Lallygag Boutique

Lucretia Ristin – The Rockford Roasting Company

Karen Elyea – Minglewood

Kevin Frost – CJZF Law

Featured Business Volume 12: Computer Repair IT Services & Learning

Your Business Name: Computer Repair IT Services & Learning327

Name of owner: Joel Collinsworth

Business Phone:815-395-0820

Hours: M-F 9:00 am to 8:00 pm 


Website: www.911foryourpc.com

Year Established: 2007

Brief Description of the business:  I created “Computer Repair” by merging my education and hobby. My degree is in economics, and I learned IT both as a hobby and experience working in aerospace machining. My business continues as a repair service but has also opened a second location and expanded into workshops, web-design, marketing and multimedia, and social network coaching. On top of all of that I must keep up with emerging technology and trends related to computing such as the smart phone escalation from gadget to “must have” technology.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? “Don’t buy things unless you know how they’ll be paid for.”

As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community? Buying local is the best way for businesses to ensure economic revitalization. I want local customers, so I buy locally when I can. Unfortunately a lot of things I need for my business are not local or are too costly. I advertise with TV 23.2 on Antenna TV. The station deserves a lot of local praise for that ad program.

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: Occasionally I work at all hours of the day or night so sometimes I write my best ad copy while still in my pajamas.

Featured Business Volume 11: Rockford Roasting Company

RRC LogoBusiness Name: Rockford Roasting Company
Address: 206 N. Main Street
Business Phone: 815 290 9591
Hours of Operation: 7:00 am -6:00 pm, Mon.  – Fri. |  8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday | Closed, Sunday
Business Email: info@rockfordroastingcompany.com
Year Established: 2014

Description: We roast fresh, seasonal coffees and serve amazing espresso drinks.

1. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business?   Surround yourself with the best team and follow your instincts.
2. As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community?   This is the only way to help grow and sustain the revitalization process of our community.
3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:   The coffee roasting process started on an old converted Weber grill in Ben’s garage!

#SocialROCK 2016

Get your tickets to our inaugural SOCIAL MEDIA CONFERENCE: #SOCIALROCK happening Monday, May 23 at Midway Village Museum from 9am-4pm. Tickets are $40 for WBL Members, and $55 for non-members and includes lots of amazing add-ons. Read about the speakers traveling in from all over the USA to speak with our local businesses in Winnebago County and all that the ticket includes here: www.socialrock.eventbrite.com


HUGE THANK YOU to our local business sponsors: Rockford Buzz, Alpine Body Shop, and PC Tech 2U! Please check out their websites and support them. They are dedicated to supporting BUY LOCAL EFFORTS and their fellow community business owners.



Featured Business Volume 10: AnJan’s Eats

AnJan’s EatsAnJans Eats
Rockford,  Il.
Email: shutdmun21@sbcglobal.net
Established 2011

Description: We are a mobile food stand that grills our food on site on charcoal and apple wood. We cook chops, chicken, burgers, and pulled pork with a delicious bourbon glaze, We offer many other choices and styles of cooking in addition to doing smaller catering jobs.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? The best advice we got was from another small business owner to apply to do Rockford City Market,  We are now in our third year.

Why did you choose Winnebago County to start your business? We moved back to Rockford from the Naperville area to exclusively start our food business, hoping that we would get hometown support, and knowledge to help us grow. We were right! The people of Winnebago County have been nothing but supportive, and have recommended us for many events. I love my hometown!

As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community? We find it important to keep our dollars in our community, so we try to support local businesses and encourage others to do so also.

FIRST NETWORKING EVENT of 2016 for locally owned, grassroots businesses!

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since our kick-off meeting last month! The announcement of WBL’s first networking event of the year! We’re kicking off 2016 with a speed networking event like you’ve never seen before!

It’s Co-Hosted by the Boutiques of 20th Street! The Event Boutique, Candle Crest Soy Candles, and The Canine Crunchery have all donated their space for the event. The speed networking will be MC’d by none other than Mary Anna Johnson of A-Sign Designs! If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mary Anna, she’s basically a networking master. If you know Mary Anna, then you’ll know this event will be amazing.

For those not familiar with speed networking, speed networking is a meeting format designed to accelerate business contacts in a short time. Information will be exchanged by businesses within a certain time limit to maximize the amount of contacts you’ll make. Kind of like speed-dating, but less awkward and way more fun!

Here’s some handy tips to help your get prepared!

•Never been to a speed networking event? No worries. It is painless, pressure-free and we will give clear instructions!
•Think of a 30 Second “Elevator Pitch” or short concise description of your business.
•It is IMPERATIVE you either bring business cards, or another form of marketing material so your contacts will remember you and can contact/refer you later.
•Bring a pen and a small pad of paper to take notes.

In addition to speed networking, from 6-6:45 pm you’ll be able to enjoy tours and special fun from all three of the co-hosting businesses, located in the same strip.

This is a free event with drinks and light snacks provided. So don’t miss out on what’s sure to be an amazing evening of fun, friends, and connections!

Featured Business Volume 9: Ads or Tails

ads or tails logoAds or Tails

Phone: 800-248-0118

Website: http://adsortails.com

Email: sales@adsortails.com

Description: AdsOrTails allows Rockford-area consumers the chance to win gift cards and earn unique coupons in exchange for learning about and providing feedback to Rockford-owned businesses.

What do you love about Winnebago County OR why did you choose Winnebago County to start your business? Winnebago County is the home my business partner and myself and we have quite a few friends that own their own business so it was an ideal location to start ours. What we love most of all about Winnebago County is the people. Residents here care about each other, care about their community, and have a desire to make their community better with more family-friendly events, increase in cultural activities, and beautify the downtown area.

As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community? Buying local is vital to the development and progress of our community and local economy because the dollars spent buying local vs. at a nationwide corporation/franchise have an exponential impact as they remain local.

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: Mid-June we placed 3rd (highest placement of a Rockford-based company) in a regional startup “Shark Tank” competition organized by EIGERlab.

Featured Business Volume 8: Peak Medical Home Care

peak-logoPeak Medical Home Care

Phone: (815) 398-1333

Website: http://peakmedicalhomecare.com/

Description: PEAK Medical Home Care provides a full range of healthcare services for any age right in the comfort of home: Companionship/homemaker, certified nursing assistant, nurses and physician. Our services are available from a single hour to 24 hours a day anywhere in 14 Northern IL counties.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business?

Many times it is “you” rather than your product or service that determines the sale. You are selling yourself, your integrity and reputation.

As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community?

Buying locally keeps dollars in our community: Earned here, spent here. Nothing goes to a corporate headquarters in another state to bolster their economy.

Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:

We’re often asked if a health club membership is included in their healthcare service. We have to remind them that the health club is not part of this PEAK, though our name was the first!

Featured Business Volume 7: Laynie Bug’s Bows

Your Business Name: Laynie Bug’s Bows12195845_1058070484249787_2387419580793021383_n
Business Phone: 815-222-4828
Hours of Operation: All Hours
Business Email: layniebugsbows@gmail.com
Year Established: 2010

Brief Description of your Business: Laynie Bug’s Bows (named after my daughter) originally started with hair accessories, head bands, bows and some clothing. Over the past 5 years it has grown into much more! I now do adult accessories, custom clothing for all ages, tutus, Birthday sets, photo props, endless varieties of hair accessories and wedding attire!

1. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you about business? Marketing is key. You need to put something into your business if you want to get something out of it. You want to stand out, be unique and have an original look for your business to be recognized.

2. How do you collaborate with other local businesses? I have my product located in a few stores in the area. They promote me by offering my product to their customers, I promote them back by sharing their page and telling others about them. I also do events on occasion and try to involve other local businesses so we can cross promote.

3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business: When our daughter was born we called her “Laynie Bug”. When she started growing hair I thought I’d try out some fun things in her hair. So needless to say these things were called “Laynie Bug’s Bows”. Because they’re hers:)

Is Your Business Ready for a Disaster?

– Jon Weber, Pa-Plinka.com

Although it is not a pleasant thought, recent area weather events made me think about how to prepare for the event of a disaster or weather event when owning a business. On the day I am typing this, my city got a non-typical foot of snow in roughly twelve hours. Although this might seem to be a normal snowfall in some areas, it is a “Snow Emergency” for Rockford, IL when something like it happens during the typical November. My, and some of my customers’, mobility is a bit constrained right now as the area government and utility crews plow snow from the streets, return electricity to some neighborhoods, and work to make things more manageable under the circumstances.

Right now, I am gratefully safe in a warm room with electricity, running clean drinking water, food, cooking gas, and the internet, but have my own work to do and errands to run, regardless of the weather. This is also a busy time of the year due to it being the weekend before Thanksgiving: groceries, travel and party planning, and getting ready for the all-important holiday shopping season all are in my mind as things happening in addition to the normal daily life and business duties.

Thankfully, the U.S. Small Business Association also has thought a bit about some of the same things. They have a website dedicated to encouraging all small businesses to have a disaster recovery plan in place. With the theme “Business as usual. No matter what,” preparemybusiness.org is a website with resources for small businesses to plan for and recover from a disaster.

Instead of being one of the forty to sixty percent of small businesses that never reopen after a disaster, the website aims to help make your business be one of the survivors of any interruption and beyond. Now that I have your attention, what are you waiting for? Go to the website now and start making your business’ disaster plan so you are as ready for the next natural disaster as you can be.

Featured Business Volume 6: The Canine Crunchery

canine cruncheryThe Canine Crunchery

Address: 1422 20th Street, Rockford, IL  61104

Business Phone: 815.520.4752

Hours of Operation: Tues 10:30-6:00, W-F 10:00-6:00, Sat 10:00-4:00. Closed Sun, Mon

Business Email: Thecaninecrunchery@gmail.com

Year Established: 2012

The Canine Crunchery, Inc. is Rockford’s very own wholesome, all-natural dog bakery and pet boutique. We specialize in baking from scratch treats for almost every dietary need.

The best advice we have every been given is set goals and don’t be afraid to try new things.

We love collaborating with other businesses whether it is having our merchandise in their store, having their merchandise in our store, using other local businesses ingredients in our recipes, or passing out fliers of area business events.

We feel Winnebago County is a large county with a hometown feel.  The local economy is strong within Winnebago County and the local business owners have a strong connection with each other.

As a business owner, I most definitely feel buying locally is very important to the community.  Every local sale helps pour more money back into helping make Rockford and the surrounding Winnebago County a more beautiful, safer, and healthier community with more to offer.