It has been over two years since the Specialty Shops group had their first brainstorming session in May, 2013. Since that first meeting, a lot has happened. With the distribution of over 50,000 brochures across the state, Fairbury has become more widely known for its shops and farms. However, the actual impact of the group’s continued work will take more time.
Bobbi McKeon, owner of Heart’s Desire, was instrumental in getting the group together. “Charlie and I had visited Shipshewana, IN the prior year. With Heart’s Desire selling antiques, crafts, and home décor, we are interested in visiting that area,” Bobbi says.
“Also, since we sell Amish furniture, it was a natural place to go. We spoke to a local businessperson, and he said that 2.8 million people come every year. Shipshewana is a small town of only about 700 people. We thought… if Shipshewana can attract that many, why shouldn’t we get to work to try to attract a million at least!” continues Bobbi.
It will be a while before we can attract a million people per year. However, putting efforts toward attracting tourists is critical for a community our size. We are a farming community that offers an experience to those folks from the city who may never see a sunset or may not know that cows need to be milked twice a day. Folks enjoy touring the area and experiencing the small-town feel with its friendly shops.
It is now “tourist” season! Our specialty shops have many stories about folks who are visiting because of a brochure they found somewhere. “Recently, a couple of ladies from Morton Community bank visited my shop,” says Bobbi McKeon. “They said they have our brochures in their bank, and they really wanted to come visit!”
“I have people coming in with a brochure quite often,” comments Brittany Kuntz, owner of the Spotted Owl. “They are from Arthur, Tuscola, Bloomington, Normal, and all over.”
“There are several kind people from town who distribute our brochures to places when they are traveling or are visiting other areas of the state. Betty Lawrence, Krista Stork, and Laura McMinn have helped out,” says Bobbi. “We are looking for volunteers who love to travel who would be so kind as to help distribute brochures to other areas.”
Please call Bobbi at (815) 692-4500 or email fairbury@fairburyILattractions.com if you are traveling or vacationing this summer and are willing to help with the brochure distribution!