Have you ever traveled to other small towns to see what their businesses are doing in the way of attracting folks to their area?
Recently, a couple from the Specialty Shops group traveled to Lacon, Illinois. As the county seat of Marshall County, this small town sits on the east shoreline of the Illinois River about 35 minutes north of Peoria. Its population is approximately 1,900 people.
There are a lot of similarities between Lacon and Fairbury. Both are small “farm” towns that are about a half hour drive from any “larger city.”
First blush, as you enter Lacon on Route 17, it appears to be like many small towns in Central Illinois. There is a golf course on the edge of town with a welcoming restaurant/club. A few businesses are scattered here and there before you actually arrive at the “main street” of town.
As you enter the “business district” something will catch your eye. Only a couple blocks long, the business district is decked out in nicely done banners saying – “Pizza,” “Antiques,” “Fudge,” ”Bakery,” “Coffee Shop,” “Resale,” etc.
These banners are very attractive and well-mounted high on the buildings, perfectly positioned to grab the attention of a traveler.
“The members of our group were very impressed with the Main Street. The first impression was that Lacon has a thriving business district, and that is the impression we want to give folks traveling through Fairbury,” says Bobbi McKeon owner of Heart’s Desire.
After stopping by a few businesses and talking to someone at the Hometown Bank in Lacon, it became obvious that the banners and the “good feeling” upon entering the town were largely the work of a couple people. More communication is forthcoming with those business people in Lacon who are instrumental in giving the town such an up-and-coming appearance.
“It would certainly be worthwhile to look into doing something similar in Fairbury,” says Bobbi McKeon. If you have any stories about your visits to small towns, please call Bobbi at (815) 692-4500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org