By Bob Uphues
Members of the Riverside Economic Development Commission are hoping a new Riverside-focused ad campaign will help spur local residents to do as much of their holiday shopping as possible in Riverside — and perhaps send the message to any merchant or investor looking at the village that Riverside means business.
The campaign, titled "I Got It in Riverside" will feature dozens of posters featuring a solitary local resident, business person or official along with a product sold or produced in Riverside.
"It's a great idea," said Don Pogany, a local advertising creative who is directing the campaign. "I think it shows everyone evidence of the community coming together. They can see tactile evidence of a thing that's got shoppers involved."
Pogany, who is also a member of the Economic Development Commission, will wrap up the photography for the campaign on Oct. 30 after a marathon session on Oct. 28, where models streamed in and out of Pogany's advertising studio, Sticky Worldwide, on Longcommon Road.
Some of the portraits for the posters are humorous, juxtaposing the subject of the photo with a product you normally wouldn't associate with that person. For example, Dr. Frank Orland, a local orthodontist, will be featured with a caramel apple from Aunt Diana's Candy.
Others will attempt a little cross-pollination, such as The Chew Chew's Scott Zimmer with an arrangement of flowers from Shamrock Garden. Others are simply fun — like Donna Liimatainen, a client of the Doggy-A-Go-Go pet spa in downtown Riverside, lounging on a pink chair with her fluffy dog, Bebe, who is sporting a pink bow and crystal necklace.
Posters will begin appearing in windows of strategic locations a couple of weeks before the annual Holiday Stroll, which is scheduled for Dec. 6. A website, www.igotitinriverside.com, will also roll out in advance of the Holiday Stroll with more information and perhaps promotions from local businesses.
"We timed it so that we can get these up a few weeks prior to the Holiday Stroll," said Pogany. "Ideally, it will say you can get as much of your shopping list as you can done here."
And that kind of response could have additional repercussions, Pogany said.
"If business owners and investors see cohesion, maybe it will be an incentive to fill a couple of these storefronts," Pogany said.
Inside Sticky's offices on Monday, Pogany talked on the phone, trying to convince a local Realtor to take part in a photo shoot with competitors, showing that even though they were opponents in business, they were all in it for Riverside.
Meanwhile, photographer Chris Neumer clicked away in an office turned into a makeshift photo studio. He was hired by Pogany to do the photography shortly after walking into the business one day to introduce himself.
"It was kismet," Neumer said.
Neumer called out to makeup artist Val Kozlovitser, who was in an adjacent room, touching up makeup on Susan Lisle, a Riverside resident serving as one of the models. In another room nearby sat Liimatainen and Melissa Porter, another Riverside resident, who had just modeled some jewelry from Higgins Glass Studio.
"I was excited to be asked and definitely want to support our local businesses," Porter said.
Pogany is donating his services and his offices for the shop local campaign, which has long been on the radar of the Economic Development Commission and was pushed to the forefront with the publication of the master plan by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning earlier this year.
"The village board gave the Economic Development Commission five or six directives, and we thought the quickest, easiest and most visible was a shop local campaign," said Tom Lupfer, chairman of the Riverside EDC. "Don came up with doing it this way instead of having a name on a bag kind of thing. We're really excited with it."
The Riverside Chamber of Commerce also supports the effort, according to chamber President David Moravecek, who called it "a very innovative way to connect with other businesses, the community and customers on a personal level."
"We want residents to be more a part of the business community," Moravecek said.