The 30-Day Challenge: Shop Local

Only in Oswego, a new blog to promote shopping local in our hometown.

Let me introduce myself and this blog. My name is Tia and I am part of the new Tourism Bureau for the Village of Oswego.

I say “new” because the Village has recently taken on the task of promoting tourism and we are less than six weeks old! My job is to promote the businesses that make Oswego a great place to work and live and to also make it a sought after destination for culture and entertainment. I grew up 15 miles from Oswego and left after college to pursue work in New York City.

I lived there for over 5 years before I decided to go back to school to pursue my master’s degree. I’ve lived in a few major cities, Chicago, New York, London and always considered myself a city girl but found that there was something so impersonal to it all and I was always searching for “home."

After graduate school, I made the decision to return to the area and ended up discovering the lovely Village of Oswego which I have happily called home for over two years.

Previous to my employment with the Village of Oswego, I was the track photographer for Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course where I was responsible for promoting the tracks in print and web-based media. I used to travel 90 miles round trip to my job every day which led me to utilize the resources nearest to me while I was out and about and not the great resources in my own back yard.

There is so much that I have not been able to take advantage of in the past and now is the time to do it. This is why I have started this blog and is why I am creating a 30-day challenge for myself. This challenge is to shop local and only local with an emphasis on small businesses in Oswego. I plan on only spending locally for recreation and entertainment as well. 

The blog will highlight local businesses and include my experiences about my purchases. Every week I will explore new possibilities in shopping local and what the benefits can be.

Why shop locally you ask? According to bestlocalnews.com, it can create more jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide more jobs for residents. It provides better service: Local businesses often hire people who understand the best-selling products.

Investing in Community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are less likely to leave, and are invested for the future of our community. It can also mean contributing less to sprawl, congestion and loss of habitats and pollution.

With a few local businesses closing their doors recently, it’s more important than ever to shop local. Put the money back into the community and help Oswego thrive!

Apart from the two days I will be enjoying myself (as a spectator and not a photographer for once!) at the Breeder’s Cup at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, I am looking forward to the challenge!

By the way, my plan was to start the 30-day challenge today, but my first act of shopping local began last night as two students from Traughber Junior High came by selling magazines. Since it was to raise funds for extracurricular activities I made sure to purchase two magazines.

The purchase felt good as it was right in line with my blogging agenda. If you have any great local tips let me know I would be happy to explore them. I know there’s a lot I have yet to discover in my own backyard and these blogs will be the chance to discover all that’s waiting. Stay tuned! Let’s grow together - shop local!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Zidlicky October 24, 2011 at 11:30 PM
I for one am glad you gave yourself this challenge. My actual hope is that local residents not only follow your blog, but follow in your footsteps as well and give themselves a challenge for shopping local. Good luck with your blog, I for one will be following. John Zidlicky The garden Faire
Krista October 24, 2011 at 11:43 PM
I was born and raised in MI and recently moved into town. I am creating "Locally Made in Oswego" gift baskets for my family back home so they can experience some of the great products produced by local artisans. Along with my products, I am buying hand made chocolates, wine, and soaps for the ladies, pop can jewelry, popcorn on the cob from for the kids & coffee & mugs for the grandparents. Useful, unique & supporting our local businesses! Can't wait to read more! Krista Maier, Intended Naturals, Oswego
Katra Knoernschild October 24, 2011 at 11:50 PM
I for one am looking forward to this blog. I love shopping in our local stores, especially those DT. With the holidays right around the corner, maybe we can get some gift giving ideas (and pictures) of your finds along the way. I know I have my favorite stores, but I'm always willing to explore a few more that maybe I didn't even know existed. Good Luck!
Jim Lausier October 25, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Congratulations on the new job Tia. This is an idea that I can certainly support. And it's not just a matter of shopping locally (although that alone keeps sales tax revenues in the village.) It's also about seeking out locally owned, independent businesses to patronize. According to Michael Shuman, author of the book Going Local, $73% of the money spent at locally owned shops stays here in the community. Only 43% of those same dollars stay in the local economy when spent at one of the "big boxes." http://greenupgrader.com/8539/10-reasons-to-shop-local/ Good luck with the blog too.
Hildred Klungel October 25, 2011 at 12:56 AM
Tia, are you talking about REAL local businesses ... as in non-chain, home grown businesses (like grocers - do we have local ones? barbers? restaurants? butchers? etc.?) If so, I would welcome a listening of the businesses that really ARE local. Where might I find access to such a thing?
Hildred Klungel October 25, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Krista, I would LOVE to know the names of the local artisans you are accessing for your gift products. Would you be willing to part with their names?
MET October 25, 2011 at 04:00 AM
LOVE IT!! I look forward to also taking this "challenge" (although with all that there is to offer in Oswego...I think it will be less of a challenge, and more of a privilege)!
Jeannie LaMarre October 25, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Welcome Tia! Come and visit us at Fox Valley Trophy!
Krista October 25, 2011 at 02:08 PM
@ Hildred Klungel - I didn't want to sound like I was advertising for myself or my friends who have their own businesses. I would be happy to give you the list of names of people that I know in the area that have their own businesses - honey, candles, chocolate, jewelry - all hand made, not purchased and resold. Lots of the local biz downtown carry these items in their shops. I am sure they would be able to point you in the right direction too. You can contact me at: krista@intendednaturals.com **Just a thought for Tia, maybe the local biz's could list the local artisan's that they carry in their shop - what they make & their name. You could post it on your blog**
Tia Brooks October 25, 2011 at 02:09 PM
I agree MET, it is a privilege. My challenge lies with online shopping, as I get inundated with discounts in my inbox and can't seem to resist!
Krista October 25, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I love the idea of posting a picture of what you bought, where you bought it, and who made it locally (if applicable.) and/ or which shop is truly a locally owned company. Most of these biz also donate their time & products to many local events (Pumpkin Races) which I think is commendable in such an economy.
Jeannie LaMarre October 25, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I was totally advertising for myself! LOL :-) Shameless self promotion...Krista, go for it!
Tia Brooks October 25, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Yes, REAL local businesses! Start with our Main Street Merchants and I will try to compile a list of the rest in the near future! Everyone is welcome to share their shop local experiences here as well!
Jane Enviere October 25, 2011 at 03:56 PM
This is exactly my issue. I'm not at all opposed to frequenting locally owned businesses, but we buy basics --- groceries, household cleaning supplies, clothes, children's clothing, shoes, etc. We aren't in the market for specialty items or gifts, so we don't have much of an opportunity to hit up the downtown area. We would probably do all of our shopping at the (gasp!) local Oswego big box stores if we had Super Target. lol I'm afraid Yorkville gets our dollars there! ; )
Katra Knoernschild October 26, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Jane, I have started buying some of my clothes in DT Oswego - and have been very happy with not only the value but the quality. There is a nice men's store also located next door. Doesn't address the kid's needs - but it might tick a couple checks off of your list.
Tina Conley October 26, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Welcome to Oswego Tia. Here is the list of Oswego Businesses that supported our recent Optimist Club Pumpkn Race, most of them right downtown in the heart of Oswego. Wonderful people, wonderful stores and truly care about the community! Castle Bank Carson Chiropractic TapHouse Grill Oswego Patch Idea Web Design Salon Messon Prom Shoppe One on One Fitness Prairie Stitches Floral Expressions Oswego Cyclery Go Dog Go Ismael ReKindle Second Born Consignment Tripp Insurance The Village Grind Fox Valley Trophy The Marmalade Tree The Garden Faire The Locker Room Oswego Travel Agency Collision Connection Auto Body Allied First Bank Coldwell Banker Honig Bell The Club Group Sue Mersch - Shaklee Employ Source Pooper Scoopers Skullys Family Fun
Tia Brooks October 26, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Thank you for the great list Tina!
Krista October 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Okay, here's my shameless self promotion. I moved here about a year ago and brought my business with me....I make Lip Butters, Lotion Bars, Natural Insect Repellent in summer, salt scrubs & natural foaming hand soaps. I will be at several local shows during the season. Also, I have the privledge of having my products available at: The Village Grind (Lip Butters) & Emerson Creek Pottery (Lip Butters, Lotion Bars, Salt Scrubs & Foaming Hand Soaps in Fall/Christmas scents). I met Chris the owner of Emerson Creek Pottery about 1 month after I moved here. I was driving on Grove Rd. and saw the sign. We met and talked and she has been so supportive and flexible. She also carries several other local artisans in her shop. Emerson Creek candles are actually made by one of her employees Dee. She carries jewelry from a local person (can't remember her name). Popcan Jewelry by Jazzy, local honey from Belfry's Bee's and some knitted gloves/scarves (again, can't remember the name.) I have made friends myself through doing shows - Country Candles by Dena Marie 630.374.3827 , I have not met Sally Jean of Chocolates by Sally Jean, but I've had her chocolate - delicious. 630.636.6787 - I will meet her when we are both at Christmas Fest @ Emerson Creek Nov 11 & 12th. Also you can visit Fox Valley Winery, I believe they carry not only their great wine, but other local artisans as well. I was in The Village Grind yesturday and saw some new woolen mittens made in Oswego!
Pat Gavros October 29, 2011 at 01:44 PM
Tia, welcome to Oswego and thank you, thank you for encouraging people to spend their dollars locally. It's so important for us to support our businesses and so much of that money stays in our community. I too, for the most part, shop for very basic items and am forced to shop at the larger stores. However, I do shop 95% of the time at Oswego stores. If the stores here don't have what I need, then, and only then, will I head away from Oswego. We have a wonderful town and really great people who run/own these downtown businesses. Hopefully, many people will follow your blog! I know I will. I'll even incorporate your "Challenge" into my own "52 Week Challenge to Patriotism". What better way to show our patriotism than to first begin in our own communites!
Rick Jacobsen November 10, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Welcome Tia! I find your 30 day challege to be a great tribute to locally owned businesses. I hope you are aware and I know this was the goal, but a story like this can have such an impact on small business in town. If just one person were to walk into every store you mention and becomes a loyal customer because of it, is a huge deal to us and trust me we all thank you for it. I feel once you get through this challenge, it wont be a challenge at all to stay local. It will become a habit. There are so many wonderful local businesses in Oswego to choose from. I make it a point to shop locally unless there is no other option. I love having a business in my community. My kids go to school with your kids, they play at the same parks, play on the same sports teams, we eat at the same resturaunts, and pass each other on the bike paths, thats part of the reason I always shop Oswego first. I live in town, I earn my money in town and I spend it in town. Tia, I hope to meet your aquaintance someday. I will follow Ms. Jeannie LaMarre's lead of shameless self promotion lol. Thank you! Rick Jacobsen Jacobsen Lawn Service http://oswego.patch.com/articles/indies-only-for-lifelong-resident-business-is-about-more-than-cutting-grass
Jeannie LaMarre November 10, 2011 at 10:00 PM
You GO Rick! Be Shameless!!!
Rebecca Kalule November 10, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Hi! Just a question - where can we go in Oswego to buy groceries - and not at a big name store?


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