Help your community by shopping locally


Senior Jillian Hoffstadt and Freshman Tress Dorfler pose with the owner of Tony Cannoli, a pastry shop in Downtown Mundelein.

MacKenzie Stewart, News and Opinion editor

The Mundelein downtown area is home to around twenty local businesses ranging from shops to cafes, restaurants and more. Especially along Route 45, any student can find a place to enjoy a fun lunch with the wide variety of food choices from vegetarian meals at Fresh Cafe to burgers and fries at Luke’s.

The values of shopping locally can’t be understated. Not only does shopping locally provide for the individuals who took the initiative to start a small business or open a new restaurant, but it supports the ideal of the American dream and the principles of capitalism that are the foundation of our economy and society.

“Visiting small businesses here in Mundelein showed me how unique and vibrant the community really is,” Ilya Vynnyk, sophomore and member of FBLA, said via text. “Businesses of all types aren’t just here to make a profit. They want to build a bigger and brighter community.”

When people go into Tina G’s or La Luz Bakery, they are helping these business owners succeed at achieving the ideal they set forth for themselves when they opened their establishment. An amazing aspect of our economy is that individuals are provided with the chance to follow their version of the American dream by opening their own business and becoming their own boss. When people shop at these places, they are supporting this aspect.

“I believe you should really [better] your planet, and we live here, and I wanted to serve this community even though this was really a far out concept for the community I thought at first, but the community’s been fantastic showing up for us,” said Kelly Paulsen, owner of Fresh Cafe, a vegan restaurant.

Starting a local business, building one up and establishing its name and presence is a long and hard process, and not many people are willing to take on this challenge. The hours are long and hard, and owners of local businesses across the country are often putting in their own money to make their dream happen.

“[The hardest part] is the hours it takes to get it off the ground, the hours of work and wearing all the hats because, for me, I clean the toilets, but I make the cheese, but I also am the marketer and the chef,” Paulsen said.

Despite the hardships in forming a small business, there are also many benefits that come from being an active participant in the community and the economy.

“[The best part are the] people…it’s folks coming in…the legacy of families that have been using the same shop for years and the legacy that has happened here,” Nell Rice, owner of Debbie’s Floral Shoppe, said about one of the main benefits of owning a small business, especially in Mundelein.

While spending money at places like Debbie’s Floral Shoppe or Tina G’s might not seem like much of a difference, when people choose to support a local business, they are choosing to help and contribute to their community.

The Mundelein FBLA chapter’s American Enterprise Project, of which I am a part of, also took the initiative to show appreciation to owners and managers of businesses in downtown Mundelein along Route 45.

We recently visited businesses downtown to give them signed thank you letters and MHS flags, and we were able to meet the people who have sacrificed a great deal of time to making Mundelein a more diverse and vibrant area.

“I learned that there are many types of niche businesses, and each one serves the community in a different way, but they all made the same sacrifices to make their business grow,” Jillian Hoffstadt, senior, said.

As one of the leaders of the project (with Hoffstadt), I found it a fun and engaging experience to be able to visit and talk to small business owners. Not only was I able to meet the owners, I was able to discover new restaurants and businesses that I didn’t know were in downtown Mundelein. Hearing some of the owners’ backstories personally showed me how important it is to support these small business owners.

“The best part of going to local businesses was seeing their faces when we gave them the thank you note,” Xavier Greene, sophomore, said. “You could see their faces light up when we gave them the notes, and it was one of the best feelings in the world.”

Therefore, appreciating local businesses is important, and shopping locally is beneficial, so next time you are hungry or are looking for a gift for a family member or friend, head over to a local Mundelein business and make the choice to support local owners. Help them see their dreams succeed.