The importance of small shops in small towns

Grayce Lillpop, Staff Writer

Maggie Henry York, Julie Rowe (store owner) & Madeline Henry Sorrill all stand in front of the front window on opening day.

In the quaint town of Jacksonville, Illinois, small business owners played a significant role in the recent downtown growth. Not too long ago the downtown atmosphere was as dead as one could be and not many even knew that the now thriving community even existed. Julie Rowe started Home Girls, a retail boutique on September 1, 2017 with the wholehearted intention of bringing her dreams to life in the community she calls home. “I decided to open my shop because it had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. It is so personally fulfilling that I hope to be able to continue to do it indefinitely!” One main difference between a corporate job and a small local shop is that small business owners see the people in their business rather than numbers, and they create relationships with their customers. However, it’s not always fun and games; after all, you are in charge of every detail under the sun. But Rowe has a somewhat different approach to taking the responsibility. “My favorite part of owning a small business is the sense of knowing I am solely responsible for the success of my business and in turn providing for my family.” Julie is an example of how working hard and having fun while doing it can lead to a tremendous outcome. For someone interested in taking on the task of opening a small shop, she would advise you to do your research; there is nothing easy about owning a shop and going blindly will only lead to failure.

Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs and help people who may not be employable by larger companies, get jobs. I myself own a small online shop and find great reward in doing so. Unlike Julie, I never could have imagined being a business owner let alone at age 18. I see the love that Julie has towards her shop, and I see the inspiration she is to other shop owners. She inspires me to follow my passion of bringing a sense of community to the online retail world and to persevere even when the going gets tough.