Mike ~ Chamber of Commerce

“Everybody over here is a Cardinal fan. We drive to the games and spend about $300 to $400, with hotels and all. People are not doing that now, so they have extra money in their pockets."

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“Prior to March, our community was running on all cylinders. People were coming to Jefferson County because they saw opportunity here. Opportunity -- that is the amazing thing about rural America. We were having five, six events a week: ribbon cuttings, business after hours, and other networking events. Then March 16th came along and everything just completely shut down.

I am not crazy about all the restrictions that came with COVID. However, I believe that there's probably justifiable reasons for some of them. But it is absolutely devastating our economy. For our small businesses, the restrictions are absolutely overwhelming them. Yet at the same time a lot of businesses have thrived, like the restaurants with drive-ins. I have seen the local Dairy Queen backed up two blocks just to get an ice cream cone! Some of the restaurants in the community tried to make it but did not have the drive-up. They tried and spent money to get some sort of outside seating so they could get within these guidelines and still yet be able to make a living. It has literally ruined some people’s livelihoods. And then there are others who have been able to have a very successful year despite everything.


I have noticed people appear to have more disposable income now, more than before, and I have a thought on why. I was in St. Louis at the Missouri Valley basketball tournament the day before C19 shut everything down. The place was packed. 15,000, 20,000 people, 90 percent of them from all around the Midwest, not even living in St. Louis. They had the hotels full. It is a big gig over there each March. Anyway, it got shut down, so instead of everybody going back for the next day, they went home. Also, the Cardinals have not been playing. Everybody over here is a Cardinal fan. I mean, not EVERYBODY, but we drive to the games and spend about $300 to $400, with hotels and all. People are not doing that now, so they have extra money in their pockets. Then the stimulus check came along. That is why Lowe’s and Menard’s are getting more business from couples doing home renovations, restaurants are busy, and stores have clothes flying off the racks. It is surprising that people have this extra money -- but the good news is they are spending it.” -- Mike #Illinois