Shop Southern Illinois

Fifteen area Chambers of Commerce along with a Main Street program and several regional businesses have teamed up this holiday season in an effort to encourage Southern Illinoisans to do a majority of their holiday shopping in the region, rather than traveling out of the area or shopping online.

The effort, called “Shop Southern Illinois,” features a strong social media presence where residents can learn some of the reasons it is important for Southern Illinoisans to shop locally and where they may pledge to do most of their own holiday shopping in the region by using the hashtag #IBuySI. By making a post or tweet with the #IBuySI hashtag, participants are entered in weekly drawings to win prizes.

A prize package, each with a minimum value of $100, will be given away weekly by the following Chambers of Commerce/Main Street program:

  • October 20 –Main Street Golconda
  • October 27 - Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce
  • November 3 - Metropolis Chamber of Commerce
  • November 10 - Union County Chamber of Commerce
  • November 17 - Saline County Chamber of Commerce
  • November 24 - Perry County Chambers: Pinckneyville and DuQuoin
  • December 1 - Williamson County Chambers: Carterville, Herrin and Marion
  • December 8 - Nashville Chamber of Commerce
  • December 15 - Franklin County Chambers: Benton/West City and West Frankfort
  • December 22 - Jackson County Chambers: Carbondale and Murphysboro
  • December 29 - Grand Prize

There is no cost for the program, and there will be no requirement that shoppers turn in receipts or punch-cards, etc. Individuals are limited to winning one weekly prize drawing, but there are no limits to the number of times participants can be entered into the drawing by using the #IBuySI hashtag.

Winners will have two weeks after the drawing to claim their prize or the prize will be returned to the Shop Southern Illinois program to draw another winner. Winners will be notified via the Shop Southern Illinois Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Shop Southern Illinois effort also features a special message from Southern Illinois University Men’s Basketball Coach Barry Hinson, who stresses the importance of shopping locally.

“Each Chamber and Main Street program has come to the table with amazing ideas and an open mind. We want to educate consumers to shop and buy locally, realizing that a small shift in shopping trends – say 2-3% - can result in millions of dollars in new revenue for area businesses,” said Dalus Ben Avi, Marion Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “To make this program a success, we need to do what Chambers and Main Street programs do best – support local businesses this holiday season and encourage others to do the same! Local business owners are our neighbors and friends, and they deserve our support and our business not only this holiday season, but all year-round. Local businesses hire locally, spend their money locally, contribute to their communities and regions and offer everything we need or want this holiday season and every day of the year.”

If you would like to donate a prize to the Shop Southern Illinois program, please contact your area’s participating Chamber of Commerce/Main Street program prior to their drawing date.

Shop Southern Illinois decals, provided by Wesley’s Custom Graphics and the Illinois Small Business Development Center, are available at participating Chambers of Commerce. Everyone is encouraged to contact their participating Chamber of Commerce/Main Street program to get a Shop Southern Illinois decal and proudly display it on their vehicle, at their business, or anywhere!

Southern Illinois Chambers/Main Street programs sponsoring the effort include:

  • Benton/West City
  • Carbondale
  • Carterville
  • Chester
  • DuQuoin
  • Hamilton County
  • Herrin
  • Marion     
  • Metropolis
  • Murphysboro
  • Nashville
  • Pinckneyville  
  • Saline County
  • Union County
  • West Frankfort    
  • and Main Street Golconda

Top 10 reasons to buy local

By Susan Odum
Extension Educator
Community & Economic Development
University of Illinois Extension

  1. Local businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy; therefore, the more money you spend locally, the more those dollars stay in our community.
  2. Local businesses employ individuals who live within the community and contribute to the growth of the local economy.
  3. Buy Local contributes to the growth of the local tax base and provides needed revenues to support essential services, like public safety and infrastructure improvements, such as roads and streets.
  4. Local business owners have a vested interest in our community’s future and are less likely to leave.
  5. When local businesses succeed, they stay and they thrive, which in turn attracts new businesses. 
  6. Local businesses are the major supporters of local charities, athletics programs, fundraisers and school activities.
  7. Local business owners attend our local churches, school programs and community events and their children and grandchildren attend our local schools.
  8. Local businesses traditionally offer superior customer service and take the time to build personal and lasting relationships with their customers.
  9. Local businesses are the lifeblood of the community, therefore, critical to the community’s survival. 
  10. Buy Local encourages and ensures local prosperity, by supporting existing jobs and creating an environment for new job growth. 

​For more information about Buy Local, click on these links: