Local Leaders Urge Support For Small Businesses

Alpha Media Ryan Piers

The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce is lending it’s support to Small Business Saturday efforts.

The Chamber is partnering with multiple businesses with the hope of boosting sales locally.

It held a media conference on Monday morning at Adam’s Street Cafe and Catering to jump start the promotion.

Joe Slyman is the proprietor of the local cafe. He’s seen a decreasing amount of people shop and dine in downtown Peoria over his 30-plus years at the location.

“I hear it all the time hang in there,” Slyman said. “I got my blood and sweat stains on these floors. I got a lot of pride.”

He’s reduced the number of employees at the cafe from nine to three. Slyman believes online shopping has hampered local businesses, but for a place that specializes in food and drinks, chain restaurants are the major competition.

“The shop local branding that is going on I think is important, because there are many people that have gotten into the catering industry,” he explained.

Local leaders say sales dollars impact many parts of the community. Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell stated about 13 percent of his budget depends on local sales revenue.

“There is so much that depends on the public safety point of view that we need these local sales tax dollars coming back to us,” Asbell said.

But with more shopping online, Asbell worries decreased local tax dollars will lead to a smaller team.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said positive local sales could reverse that trend as part of a trickle-down effect in the community.

“The reality is that for every dollar spent there are six more dollars in sales revenue,” he said.

Slyman said his team is trying to rebrand to better compete with chain stores. But often thinks about the future of his small business, and those like it.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think on getting through the next month. How long is it gonna take to bring people back here?”

For more information on the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Saturday, click HERE.

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