Holiday shopping offers slight rebound for Rockton shops followi - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Holiday shopping offers slight rebound for Rockton shops following construction

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ROCKTON (WREX) -

The orange barrels are gone and the stop lights are in.

"It's nice to have it over with," says Rachel Niehaus with the Naturally Organic Grocery. "I just wish it had been over sooner." 

Niehaus says her store in downtown Rockton says her shop took a hit during the I-75 and Blackhawk Boulevard construction project. 

"We sold half the number of thanksgiving turkeys we should have," she says.  

Some shops lost as much as 40 percent in sales during that construction -- making the Christmas shopping season crucial. 

"A bad holiday season can make a good year or a bad year," Niehaus says.  

For Niehaus the season was steady, but didn't make up for her losses. Brain Capezio the owner of Village Loft says he noticed a slow start with the holiday rush. To help with that, he decided to make sure his customers knew traffic outside his shop was moving a bit more smoothly. 

"I actually had to pay for Facebook advertising to let people know that it was open, which helped," Capezio says.   

It was a steady holiday shopping season for Capezio as well. But, he's optimistic the new year along with the new roads will bring in shoppers. 

"The village wants a strong downtown because that's part of having an overall healthy community. your downtown is kinda the living room window into your community." 

Village leaders say the final phase of that project is set to begin later this year. They say shops shouldn't be impacted as much with that portion of the project. 

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