If you have holiday shopping, local stores offer one-of-a-kind - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

If you have holiday shopping, local stores offer one-of-a-kind gifts

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There's a big push to ditch big box stores and instead shop smaller, local shops. Supporter say money spent at local stores can actually come back to help everyone.

Local shop owner Lauren Davis knows first hand what it's like to build a store up from nothing. Two years ago she helped create Winnebago Buy Local, a group that advocates for small businesses like her own.

"As a community we felt like there was a need for people to support local businesses and really just be inspired and encourage local businesses because many people didn't know that they existed." -says Davis, who owns funky clothing and vinyl record store Culture Shock in Rockford.

Her colleagues, Winnebago Buy Local Board members Dana Stockton and Rhiannon Stanuch are also local entrepreneurs. Stockton makes toddler to teenager clothing and hair accessories for her business Laynie Bug's Bows. She says shopping local benefits more than just the store-owner.

"It helps our schools and parks and everything in our community."

That's all done through tax dollars that stay in the area. All three ladies support the 3/50 Project. It's mission is to strengthen independent brick and mortar businesses. Stanuch, going on two years as Bookworm Bakery & Cafe owner, shares some statistics about dollars spent at local stores.

"$68 of every $100 for a local store will stay here, only $43 for a big box store and almost nothing for an online sale." -she says.

Stockton says logging on to get your holiday shopping done hurts the local economy.

"I know that's a big thing now and sometimes easiest to do but if you want to keep the money here it's best to shop here." -she adds.

More than 100 stores are a part of Winnebago Buy Local, some of them will come together for this year's Holiday Market. The one-day event is at Rockford College on December 8th.

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