East Peoria’s first Small Business Extravaganza encourages people to shop local

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of shoppers braved high temperatures to shop local at East Peoria’s first Small Business Extravaganza Saturday, June 12.

The event featured more than 22 shops and vendors from the area, setting up shop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the historic Four Corners on McKinley, Anne, and Washington Street.

The event organizer, Tammy Smith, who owns Picker’s Daughter on McKinley said she wanted to do something to help other small businesses get back on their feet after a challenging year.

“A year and a half it’s been a little rough for the smaller businesses, so it’s just trying to get the community to support all of us,” Smith said.

Smith said she hopes this event will help people discover new favorite shops at the event, giving businesses more recognition.

“Every day I have customers coming in that didn’t even know I existed,” Smith said. “It’s just nice to get that word out there, to not only East Peoria, but the surrounding towns.”

The owner of the Emerald Tea Shop, Monica Tripp, said it’s exciting to shop local.

“You can come and eat lunch here, you can go next door and shop at Vintique, or at Pickers Daughter or go over to the cupcake shop in the Levee District,” Tripp. “Just make it an event, a destination.”

Tripp said it’s important to shop small to support your community, and it’s also a more rewarding exprience than buying from big chain stores.

“It’s just a unique experience,” Tripp said. “You generally get to know the shop owners, you maybe become a regular which is fun. They know your name, they know what you like.”

Smith said she hopes to grow the event every summer, creating more opportunities for local businesses in the area.

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