Over the holidays, I made a very conscious effort to do a lot of my shopping at locally owned establishments. Specifically stores in Downtown Kenosha. From bags of popcorn and bombers of beer for stocking stuffers to hand bags and wall décor, I found so many wonderful things for my friends and family – and maybe one or two things for myself, too. (Hey, don’t judge. I was pretty good and Santa agreed!)
It got me to thinking about how many wonderful businesses have come and gone in my lifetime growing up in Kenosha. As a kid, I remember going to The Accent Shop with my mom to find candles and decorations for our home. I remember going to Barden’s Department Store, which to newcomers in Kenosha has never been anything but the vacant Alford Building. Even in the past handful of years, we’ve seen businesses open and close! I thought about some of the awesome shops that were here when I got married a few years ago. I so enjoyed every minute of creating my gorgeous wedding invitations at Paperazzi, or shopping for teacups for my sister’s bridal shower at Forever Grateful. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been asked about Linnea Bakery closing at the end of 2016 – as I write this I am missing the Cheddar and Apple sandwiches on their homemade bread.
So why is it that these great businesses couldn’t survive? They can’t do it on their own! We, as a community, have to make an effort to use these wonderful, locally owned and operated businesses more often. Even for little things, making Downtown Kenosha part of my routine is something that is important to me. When I need chapstick, I try to go to a place like Modern Apothecary or Peacetree Orignals. When I want an afternoon treat, I like to go to Sandy’s Popper instead of a drive-thru fast food joint. When I need a special gift for a friend, I scope out places like Lulu Birds or Pollard Gallery. Our family pups get treats from K9 Kibble, of course. You can make a point get get your Saturday or Sunday morning donuts at Mike's Donuts & Chicken. Heck, even when I want to feed my Polish Pottery addiction, I browse the gift shop at the Kenosha Public Museum! It’s not as easy at shopping online and having something delivered to my door, but it does make me feel good and knowing that I am getting great customer service makes all the difference.
I am proud to say that I have been doing good with this part of my “New Year’s Resolution” - deliberate shopping Downtown like I did during the holidays. I challenge you to try it, too! What I am saying is… USE IT OR LOSE IT! Tell your friends and family about your favorite shops and restaurants. Share their Facebook posts for others to see. If we don’t support them, they’ll be gone.
4924 7th Avenue
4721 7th Avenue
5503 6th Avenue
711 57th Street
514 56th Street
5535 6th Avenue
Kenosha Public Museum
5500 1st Avenue