Winnebago Buy Local Networking Event for LOCAL Grassroots Businesses

This event’s theme is Customer Service
Our Keynote Speaker Randa Noble, Trainer and Motivational speaker presenting, “Top 8 Exceptional Customer Service Practices”! There will also be a presentation and samples by EZ Dinners, our lovely host for this event. Below are the details.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 6:00PM at EZ Dinners, 5533 N. 2nd St, Loves Park, IL.

EZ Dinners is a family-owned “Take & Bake” business that loves to make dinner time enjoyable for you again! Thank you to this member of ours for hosting our event!

IMPORTANT PARKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Please utilize street parking as much as possible.
ONLY AFTER 6PM: you may park at the Tile Business parking lot which is the neighbor to the north of EZ Dinners.

Our list of member businesses is consistently growing. If you are a member and we haven’t seen you in awhile, or you want to check us out for the first time, we welcome you! There is a great variety of local business owners that you have a potential of making connections with, take advantage! Show other business owners your PASSION for your local business:)

***HERE IS A TIP: Bring Business Cards and Fliers, coupons, samples, or whatever it is that will help your business be memorable!

*Networking begins at 6:00pm, presentation 6:15pm
*Light Appetizers and Refreshments provided by our Host.
*FREE to Attend
*Must be a registered LOCAL, grass-roots, non-franchised business found in and unique-to-Winnebago County.

Featured Business Volume 5: PC Tech 2U

 pc tech 2UP.C. Tech 2 U

Address: 1611 N Alpine Rd. Rockford IL 61107
Business Phone: 815-871-2470
Hours of Operation: M-F 10AM to 6PM Saturday 10AM to 3PM
Business Email: Robert@pctech2u.com
Year Established: 2002

1. Brief Description of your Business:

Affordable on Site Repair for Business and Residential. Sales and service of all computers, Gaming Computers, Security Cameras, Tablets really anything Electronic.

 

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

Always hand out 3 Business Cards, 1 they will keep, 1 they will throw away and 1 they will give away. Take care of your customers everything else will take care of itself.

 

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

Most of the money then stay in the community also the local businesses donate and help local causes which in turn benefits everyone in the community.

“When you buy from a Mom and Pop Business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college. Our customers are our shareholders and they are the ones we strive to make happy.” THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESS!

Featured Business Volume 4: Rocktown Adventures

Address: 313 N. Madison Street  Rockford

Business Phone: 815-636-9066

Hours of Operation: Tues – Fri 10 – 8, Sat 10 – 6, Sun 11 – 5.

Business Email:  info@rocktownadventures.com

 

1. Brief Description of your Business:

Rocktown is a specialty outdoor outfitter and adventure club. We specialize in paddlesports, nordic sports, camping, and lifestyle apparel. We offer sales, rentals, lessons, and public and private trips for paddlesports and nordic sports. We want to help you embrace an active outdoor lifestyle.

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

It’s not advice so much as an example. My grandfather started a bicycle shop in the suburbs that is still in operation today. I have heard my share of stories on how he helped someone out. So it wasn’t always about the money, it was about helping people enjoy life.

3. How do you collaborate with other local businesses?

As a new business we are still working towards establishing ties with the local business community. One thing we want to do this summer is do a special for WBL businesses where on a certain day of the week we do a trip or rentals at 1/2 off. Would give them a MUCH NEEDED BREAK but also be something fun to do with staff.

NEWS: Winnebago Buy Local receives proclamation from the City of Rockford

Proclamation1 proclamation2

ROCKFORD IL, AUGUST 3RD, 2015– Tonight, Mayor Morrissey and the City Council for the City of Rockford proclaimed August, Winnebago Buy Local Month!

Winnebago Buy Local has been around for 5 years now, and has around 200 businesses as members. We are a non-profit grassroots organization for small locally owned businesses that provides networking and educational opportunities to business owners, and annual public events such as A Local Holiday Market, and the Totally Local Ice Cream Social, in efforts to draw people closer to their local businesses.

In this age of instant gratification and convenience, our simple mission is to teach the great people of Winnebago County the benefit and create an extraordinary awareness of how supporting local businesses can provide major opportunity, help keep jobs and revenue in our county, and improve the local economy right from the building blocks and framework!

proclamation3

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 enough. Winnebago Buy Local is grateful for the support of our local government this August, because, in giving us this proclamation, they are acknowledging how important locally owned, grassroots businesses are to our overall well-being.

Buying local is not only a feel-good thing to do, but it is an investment into our community, creating a prosperous area to live, work, and visit. It creates a hot-spot for tourism, and enriches the environment for more entrepreneurs, artists, creativity and business to survive and thrive, a recipe for success in America’s top communities.

By having August proclaimed as Winnebago Buy Local month we hope to spread the word and encourage the public to shop locally – helping to build our local and regional economy and continue to make this an even better place to live.

Several business owners who were present to show their support tonight and represent the local business owners of Winnebago County as a whole. Please support these business owners and thank them for being so invested in making a presence in our community for local businesses.

Skyler and Lauren Davis of Culture Shock Clothing & Records (Rockford)

Lauren Davis of Lauren Davis Creative (Rockford)

Robert Lockwood of PC Tech 2U (Rockford, Loves Park)

Jane and Tony Femminella of The Canine Crunchery (Rockford)

Kathy Copeland of Iro Beauty (Rockford)

Dana Stockton of Laynie Bug’s Bows (Rockton)

Lindsey Gregg of Peak Medical Home Care (Rockford)

Melody Laynge of Petals and Pickin’s (Rockford)

Kim Knutson of Lallygag Boutique (Rockford)

Jay Gesner of Stumpy’s, Take Outz, and Miss Jill$ (Rockford, Loves Park)

Barry Tope of Great Hang-Ups and Spotlight DJ Entertainment (Rockford)

Kevin Versino of Rocktown Adventures (Rockford)

and Jon Weber of Pa-Plinka (Rockford)

*Special thanks to the officer, and employees who took our photos!

 

NEWS: Winnebago Buy Local Receives Proclamation from the Village of Machesney Park

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JULY 20TH, 2015 MACHESNEY PARK– Tonight, the Village of Machesney Park kickstarted the Winnebago Buy Local Proclamation Parade! Village Mayor, Jerry Bolin gave Winnebago Buy Local a special proclamation making August “WINNEBAGO BUY LOCAL MONTH” county-wide! An array of local business representatives were there to stand with Winnebago Buy Local in receiving this proclamation who are truly invested in our community and believe that showing our local leaders that creating an enriching environment for opportunity, entrepreneurs, the arts and local businesses will be key to seeing our region succeed.

P.C. Tech 2U, Inc.

Pa-Plinka

Rockford Buzz

Culture Shock Clothing and Records

Lauren Davis Creative

Mary’s By Design

The Canine Crunchery

The Olive Oil Experience
Spice Galleria
Be A Casual Gourmet

Featured Business Volume 3: Willow’s Cleaning Service

10917077_934455096573703_2148482904057984079_nBusiness Phone:       815 – 520 – 4996
Hours of Operation: 8-4
Business Email:         willow1272@aol.com
Year Established:      2004

 

 

1. Brief Description of your Business:
Started in 2004 Willow’s Cleaning offers all natural non-toxic cleaning.. Saving our Planet, One client at a time.. Visit our web-site for full details at.. http://willowscleaning.com

2. What do you love about Winnebago County OR why did you choose Winnebago County to start your business?
We are growing as a community and bringing more cultural events.

3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:
Willow’s Cleaning is an all female local business.

Why Collaboration is Necessary Between Local Businesses

collaboration

In the world of the Entrepreneur and small business owner, collaboration is key. As with anything in life, a business will get more out of collaboration if they place themselves in a position to get involved. Here are a few reasons we believe collaborating with your fellow business owners is important in Winnebago County.

Collaboration brings new and fresh outlook. Not every business owners view point is the same, from a salon owner, to a flower shop, to a B2B firm, to a salesperson, to a restaurant owner. Each business has a unique perspective and has a different form of expertise in their industry.

Collaborations broadens your contacts and your network circle of helpful resources. As you embark on a journey of collaboration with other businesses, you’ll meet interesting people and helpful business owners along the way to create long lasting business relationships.

Collaboration levels the playing field. No matter what size business you are, large, small, or medium, collaboration will help the parties involved. Working together as local businesses to help concentrate on “Collaboration over Competition” will create an overall lasting impression on the community you serve.

Collaboration does NOT mean depending on others for the success of your business, however, it brings businesses together to become greater as they learn and grow eagerly from each other.

Click on the picture for a great article on Collaboration from Entrepreneur:

20150421181614-raise-employee-pay-group-coworkers-woman-architect-busines-presentation-talking-teamwork

Make contact with a fellow local business you love, and start brainstorming ways you can connect and share resources today in Winnebago County.

Simple ways to Collaborate:

  • Agree to help a friends business by cross sharing posts.
  • Join business-held events together and cross promote your events
  • Carry a local product within your own business
  • Utilize Business to Business opportunities available to you locally before shopping online
  • Sponsor events by donating a product you sell or create and cross promote

The opportunities are endless.. These are just a few ideas. Share this article with your own advice for collaborating between businesses.

 

Featured Business Volume 2: Hear More Music

Hear More Music LogoBusiness Phone: 815.877.6832
Hours of Operation: By Appointment
Business Email: hearmoremusic@gmail.com
Year Established: 2009

1. Brief Description of your Business:

We offer fine stereo, home theater and whole-house music systems. Installation available.

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

Be persistent and focus on doing a few things well. Be the expert.

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

Buying locally not only supports small business, it also indirectly supports local community events, churches, volunteer groups, etc.- everywhere our local citizens live and grow.

Focus on Collaboration; Winnebago Buy Local Networking Event for LOCAL Grassroots Businesses

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
—Helen Keller

Click “See More” for all of the event details for FOCUS on COLLABORATION! You do not want to miss this special event.

THURSDAY, June 18th, 6:00PM at Culture Shock Clothing and Records! Don’t miss this evening of collaboration, education, networking and even FORK & STEIN Food Truck!

At this networking event for LOCAL grassroots businesses, we will welcome Dan Dineen from Community Foundation of Northern IL to speak to our group about why Collaboration between businesses and organizations is a “must-do” in our community, as well as inform us about the benefit of CFNIL.

Then Skyler Davis will speak first-hand about how collaboration has helped Culture Shock succeed at being in business for 9 years with a very niche store in a chain-heavy community.

If the weather is lovely, this event will be outside! But no worries, if it rains, we will head inside!

**********HERE IS A TIP**********
Bring Business Cards and Fliers, coupons, samples, or whatever it is that will help your business be memorable to others and make connections at our networking event at Culture Shock Clothing and Records on June 18th.

We ask that attendees are owners or representative of a LOCAL, Homegrown Grassroots, Started-from-Scratch businesses in Winnebago County. This networking event is free!

*To attend, must be a registered local, grass-roots, non-franchised business found in and unique-to-Winnebago County
*Networking begins at 6:00pm, presentation 6:15pm
*Bring a few dollars to purchase delicious dinner from Fork & Stein Food Truck
*Drinks will be provided by the host
*FREE to Attend

Featured Business Volume 1: A-Sign Designs Graphics & Advertising

A-Sign Designs logoAddress: 125 Wallace Ave. Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone: 
815-877-5096
Hours:
9 to 5 or anytime you call, we’re your 24 hour sign shop.(Hubby Bill Johnson’s comment when the phone rings at 9pm on Saturday night and I answer it.)
Established in
2000
1. Brief Description of your Business:  
We are a sign company that makes business signs for buildings, tradeshow displays, vehicle lettering, banners, window graphics and more.  We also do personal signs for graduations, welcome home banners for military and weddings and baby showers.
2. As a business owner, why do you feel buying locally is important to our community? Keeping the money local helps all of us.  Local businesses are 90% of my business, so we shop and eat local whenever possible. 
3. Give us a fun or unique fact about your business:  
If you have your vehicle lettered, it makes you a better driver.  No more cutting people off or giving them the one finger salute!

Networking + Learning for LOCAL Businesses – Develop Your Fastpitch!

THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 6:00PM at Al’s Carpet Flooring & Design

This year Winnebago Buy Local is focusing on bringing more education to our events. This upcoming event is NOT TO BE MISSED!

Brian McIntyre from EigerLab will be speaking about how to develop your FAST PITCH! Also, the experts at Al’s Carpet and Design will be discussing how to make effective use of your brick and mortar layout and space. Jane from The Canine Crunchery will tell you the TOP 5 tips for setting up a booth space for your business!

Networking is proven to be beneficial. Other business owners are more likely to refer people to you if they have felt a connection with you. Show other business owners your PASSION for your local business. This night will be a GREAT night to make those connections.

***HERE IS A TIP: Bring Business Cards and Fliers, coupons, samples, or whatever it is that will help your business be memorable to others and make connections at our networking event at Al’s Carpet Flooring & Design Service on Thursday, April 23!!***

We ask that attendees are owners of a LOCAL, Homegrown Grassroots, Started-from-Scratch businesses in Winnebago County. This networking event is free!

*Networking begins at 6:00pm, presentation 6:15pm
*Light Appetizers and Refreshments provided
*FREE to Attend
*Must be a registered local, grass-roots, non-franchised business found in and unique-to-Winnebago County.

A Local Holiday Market 2014

A Local Holiday Market is Saturday December 6th, at Rockford University from 10am-4pm.

The first 100 families receive a commemorative tote bag filled with local goodies! Enjoy shopping 100% locally from dozens of local businesses, take photos in Special Moment’s Photo Booth, and dance along to music played by Hits DJ, Joe Locke.

Rockford University is located at 5050 E. State Street. Drive down the main drive, and park in Main Lot A. Follow the Candy Cane Path to the NEW entrance!

Find our Facebook Event Page HERE and Spread the Word!

https://www.facebook.com/events/169923819844923/

“Meeting of the Media Minds” – Jax Pub

Networking + Education for Grassroots, Locally Owned, Homegrown, Started-from-Scratch businesses in Winnebago County. 
THURSDAY, October 23rd, 6:00PM at Jax Pub

[RSVP Here]


This educational event will feature a panel of local media celebrities from TV, Newspaper, Radio, and Alt. News who will be answering questions on “How to get your local business news in the limelight,” and “the importance of a good press release!”

Local Celebrities include: 
Whitney Martin from Channel 23 WIFR
Melissa Westphal formerly from Rockford Register Star
Steve Shannon from 97 ZOK
Jacob Bradt from Rockford Buzz
and More TBA.

Networking is proven to be beneficial. Other business owners are more likely to refer people to you if they have felt a connection with you. Show other business owners your PASSION for your local business. This night will be a GREAT night to make those connections.

This year Winnebago Buy Local has focused on educating local businesses more than ever! With more education and learning opportunities, we fill our local businesses with more resources to share and encouragement for all.

HERE IS A TIP: Bring Business Cards and Fliers, coupons, samples, or whatever it is that will help your business be memorable to others and make connections at our networking event at Jax Pub!

We ask that attendees are owners of a LOCAL, Homegrown Grassroots, Started-from-Scratch businesses in Winnebago County. This networking event is free!

*Networking begins at 6:00pm, presentation 6:15pm
*Light Appetizers provided by Jax Pub.
*FREE to Attend
*Must be a registered local, grass-roots, non-franchised business found in and unique-to-Winnebago County.

Winnebago Buy Local Event for Grassroots Businesses – Getting your message across by Aaron Wilson

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28th, 6:00PM at Al Grace Appliance and TV! 811 West Riverside, Rockford Illinois.


This year Winnebago Buy Local is focusing on bringing more education to our events. This upcoming event is NOT TO BE MISSED! 

This event will feature Aaron Wilson from 23 WIFR, teaching you to overcome your fear of networking and public speaking. As an Entrepreneur your ability to connect with your audience is essential to your business!

Networking is proven to be beneficial. Other business owners are more likely to refer people to you if they have felt a connection with you. Show other business owners your PASSION for your local business. This night will be a GREAT night to make those connections.

***HERE IS A TIP: Bring Business Cards and Fliers, coupons, samples, or whatever it is that will help your business be memorable to others and make connections at our networking event at A Grace Appliance and TV on Thursday, August 28th!!***

We ask that attendees are owners of a LOCAL, Homegrown Grassroots, Started-from-Scratch businesses in Winnebago County. This networking event is free!

*Networking begins at 6:00pm, presentation 6:15pm
*Light Appetizers and Refreshments provided by Al Grace and NEW WBL members, Tasty Tidbits
*FREE to Attend
*Must be a registered local, grass-roots, non-franchised business found in and unique-to-Winnebago County.

A Totally Local Ice Cream Social ROCKED in 2014!

Here are some ||| FUN FACTS ||| about the 2nd Annual Totally Local Ice Cream Social 2014!

 

  • We doubled last years attendance! (which means more people getting to know their local business owners, more exposure for Local Businesses in the community, and MORE FUN for the community!)
  • We collected TONS of school supplies for Rock House Kids, for children who do not have the opportunity to buy school supplies as much as others.

 

Below is a list of the school supplies collected at A Totally Local Ice Cream Social from our community members… WOW! Huge thanks to our giving community and to the local business owners who participated in this! The Rock House Kids organization sends their thanks as well.

Binders 37

Loose Leaf Paper Packages 26

Notebooks 187
Folders 81
Markers 20 packs
Crayons 67 packs
#2 Pencils 37 packs
Elmers Glue 35
Glue Sticks 28
Pencil Bags 7
Pencil Boxes 7
Kleenex Singles 14
Erasers 12 pink/3 packs pencil erasers
book covers 13
10 pack ball point pens 21
12 pack colored pencils 4
Rulers 2 packs/ 10 singles
Protractors 6
Scissors 9
Compasses 2
Calculators 4
Staplers 2
Dry Erase Markers 2 packs
Index Cards 3 packs
Hand Sanitizer 3
Highlighters 6 packs

  • Monetary Donation to Rock House Kids
    Thanks to your donations at A Totally Local Ice Cream Social 2014, we are excited to announce that we will be able to donate $350.00 to Rock House Kids from this event as well! We will be writing the check to them this week! Special thanks to those who donated to our event to make this possible!
  • JELLY BEAN CONTEST WINNERS
    Winners are listed below with their guesses! Thanks for participating. The winners have already been contacted and can pick up their wonderful gift baskets full of LOCAL goodies this week!

The FINAL COUNT of the Jelly Beans–>939!
Gift It Rockford Gift Basket | Charlotte L. | Guess: 1000
WBL “Night In” Basket | Greg K. | Guess: 893
WBL “Night Out” Basket | Annette C. | Guess: 953

Congratulations Winners!Thanks again to all of the businesses and volunteers involved:
Meyer’s Canine Colony, Spice Galleria, Knit One Purl Two, Pampered Pet Grooming, Rockford Buzz, Canine Crunchery, Olive Oil Experience, Yolo’s Sweets, Alpine Body Shop, Peak Medical Home Care, EZ Dinnerz, Culture Shock Clothing & Records, Nichols Barber Shop, Socks-That-Rock, Bookworm Alt Bake & Catering, Parma Tax and Accounting, Rock Valley Compounding Pharmacy, Rockford Art Deli, Lallygag Boutique, Vintage @ 501, Rockton Sanctuary Spa, CC Rainz, Alpine View, Pa-Plinka, Special Moments Photo Booth, Home Environment Center, Hits DJ, Pickles the Clown, Commercial Printing, RBG Supply, A-Sign Design, Dairy Haus, Rockford Brewing Company, Ruthann Bates, Jeff Doubek, Mr. and Mrs. Acaley, the awesome girls from the RPS 205 Women in Leadership High School Volunteers, Victoria Benson, The Lombardi Club, Laura Sunderhaus, Toon Singmouangthong and more. Our event wouldn’t be what it was without all of you.

Once again, thank you to everyone who worked hard to make this event possible and successful, and thank you to our kind, and giving community, who is ready to learn about Buying Local and teach our youth about it as well. We couldn’t have asked for a better turn out, and kinder guests! We can’t wait for next year!

National Small Business Week, How will you celebrate?

sbw_wbl

May 12-16th is National Small Business Week. What is National Small Business Week? National Small Business Week is a national recognition event to honor United States entrepreneurs each year.

We want to encourage you on the LOCAL LEVEL to support your local businesses this week, and every week. Show them you care by patronizing their businesses and telling others about their businesses as well.

This week, the White House published a statistic on their blog that said, “This country’s 28 million small businesses create nearly two out of three jobs in our economy, so we can’t have a conversation about creating jobs and economic growth in America without talking about ways to support our entrepreneurs.” They make a valid point.

Our goal with Winnebago Buy Local is to help create resources and opportunities for our small LOCAL businesses, and create more public awareness of why buying local is so important and vital in transforming our community.

Buying local can better our local economy by maintaining our distinctive local culture and community spirit. If you think about it, Winnebago County is different than anywhere else in the world BECAUSE of our LOCAL businesses. Buying local creates better/more jobs, and returns more money into our community for parks, playgrounds, school, police and fire. Buying local helps build morale of a community. It overall benefits our entire county as a whole. Buying local is about the bigger picture.

Lets all work to celebrate our small LOCAL businesses this week, and continue it throughout the month, and the year, and the next 100 years. We can do this together; we need your help and participation!

Which small LOCAL businesses will you be supporting in honor of National Small Business Week?

A Local Holiday market 2013!

WBL - Holiday Market

 

Join the one-of-a-kind LOCAL Businesses of Winnebago County on this UNIQUE shopping day focused on inspiring and encouraging the public to shop local! FREE Admission – FREE Parking

At Rockford University Regents Hall (In the Burpee Center, 2nd Floor)

5050 E. State St. Rockford Illinois
*This is the main building at Rockford University. Drive down the Rockford University entrance road and look for signs. Parking is in “Main Lot A” which comes first on the right side, before the Burpee Center if traveling in from State Street.

Just imagine, holiday music, smiling faces, and shoppers TRULY impacting the local economy as they get great gifts from LOCAL businesses. A list of businesses will be added below shortly. Check the Facebook PAGE for more details!
http://www.facebook.com/alocalholidaymarket

NEW THIS YEAR:
The first 100 Families will receive a TOTE BAG full of LOCAL goodies from area Local Businesses. This will further encourage you to BUY LOCAL during the holidays and all year long!

Local Non-For-Profit, Rosies Birthday Club will be wrapping the gifts you purchase for a donation. Your donation benefits Rosie’s Birthday Club 100%.

BUY LOCAL THIS HOLIDAY! At A Local Holiday Market!