Above / Kreger’s (rhymes with beggars), located at 605 N Ellsworth Street, welcomes IndieBound Naperville members to meetings at 6PM on the first Monday of most months. Note the red sign in the door that reminds patrons to shop locally.
IndieBound Naperville meets monthly at 6PM on the first Monday at Kreger’s Brat and Sausage House.
As a heads up, because Independence Day falls on Monday, July 4, 2016, the group of independent business owners and managers will meet on the second Monday, July 11, eleven days into their month-long “Find Waldo” promotion.
Members of IndieBound Naperville (IBN) are owners of local independently-owned enterprises that help support the community. A few of its member businesses are franchises, but local and independent in every other way, and well known for their giving spirit in the community.
Local residents likely have seen the bright red IndieBound Naperville signs prominently placed in store windows to promote, “Shop Locally.”
“IndieBound Naperville is a group of ‘indie’ business owners that share best practices, news and community,” said Becky Anderson, who used her experience with the American Booksellers Association to help launch IndieBound Naperville in 2008. “Anyone who’d like to come and check us out and then join is welcome to future meetings.”
Educational, fun meetings
Not considered a business-to-business group, educational meetings are dedicated to sharing the energy, innovation, challenges, trials and tribulations that come with small business ownership that also must include self-reliance and a sense of humor.
In June, Greg Gordon, owner of Dog Patch Pet & Feed, shared his story and how he became involved with Naperville’s original pet store 22 years ago.
Gordon recounted his joyful partnership with Dog Patch founder Craig Allen who died suddenly in 2010. Gordon told of other close calls, amusing marketing campaigns, ups and downs as well as all the fortuitous locations where Dog Patch has operated during its 44-year history.
Today Gordon not only owns Dog Patch Pet & Feed, he owns the property where the landmark yellow brick building stands next to a spacious fenced-in yard. During his interactive presentation, he also described his decision in 2011 to stop selling breeder puppies and kittens at Dog Patch in order to create a new model for pet stores. These days, Dog Patch “fosters and finds forever homes for rescued dogs and cats” from all over the Midwest.
To keep up with the changing times, the company motto “From Puppies to Guppies… We Have It All” was changed to “Find Your Rescue At Dog Patch.”
In the past, IBN members Kris Hartner of Naperville Running Company, Dan Casey of Casey’s Foods, Scott Flak of Second City Web Design, Pete Ellman of Ellman’s Music Center and Rich Massat of The Growing Place have told their personal business stories.
In addition, attorney Chuck Corrigan has addressed the group a number of times, providing basic overviews on what to look for when signing a lease or putting together an employee manual and when to seek legal advice for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. Another time John Koranda, a commercial banking associate at Naperville Bank & Trust, enlightened the entrepreneurs about SCORE mentors who help build small business success with free business advice.
To kick off the first IndieBound Naperville meeting of this year, Mayor Steve Chirico provided the history of his family-owned independent business, Great Western Flooring, that he started in 1981 to serve the western suburbs. In 1984, he incorporated Great Western Tile into what is now Great Western Flooring Company, still independent and family-owned; yet, now managed by his two oldest daughters, Lauren and Dana. He described the impact of the downturn in the economy on new home sales in 2007 that negatively affected his carpet, tile and wood flooring business.
“As a small business owner,” Chirico said, addressing challenges, the advantages of being nimble, adjusting to competition, staying innovative and making your own decisions, “it’s hard to put a value on independence.”
‘Shop local’ movements make cities work
IndieBound Naperville businesses contribute to make Naperville’s shopping and dining destinations more interesting; attracting neighbors, visitors and guests to a thriving community balanced with an inviting mix of local and national brands that help make this city work.
Across the nation, cities large and small benefit when residents embrace the movement to shop, dine, entertain and use services in their hometowns whenever possible.
Internet sales may provide convenience, but indie businesses are mindful that a company in a another state or way out West does not ensure that sales tax revenues are reinvested where they belong—right here in your community. Plus, shopping locally at a brick and mortar location is better for the environment, creating less wear and tear on local roads, conserving energy by way of less fuel for transportation and requiring less packaging. In general, local businesses contribute less to congestion, pollution, recycling needs and loss of natural beauty. Think about it.
“Support your local businesses,” Dan Casey is known to say, “…and you’ll always live in a nice community.”
For more info about IndieBound Naperville or the 2016 Find Waldo promotion, visit www.indieboundnaperville.org.