The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is ready to use the “Holly Jolly Trolley” to bring visitors to local stores for small businesses on Saturday morning, a vintage wooden interior trolley parked on Montrose Avenue Saturday morning.
The Trolley’s fourth annual run made eight stops, connecting participants to several locations in the Northside community and stimulating holiday season shopping.
The “welcome station” – including warm cider, a free tote bag and treats from local bakery Hilary’s Cookies – is in Hazel, a business that has operated in Ravenswood for a full 20 years despite expansions, a change of location and the creation of a second storefront.
Allison Tuley, Hazel’s marketing manager, said the business appreciated the work the chamber was doing to help bring customers to local stores, emphasizing the role of the community in keeping jewelry, clothing and holiday card sellers strong, even in “times” that are a little tougher . “
“It means a lot to us,” Tully said. “They do a lot of the heavy lifting for us. They bring people here. We just have to do what we do and show them what we’ve got.”
But it’s not just stores that are thankful for the event.
Logan Square resident Carina Bauers and her 4-year-old daughter, Greta Bryant, boarded the second trolley of the day. Taking the tram was enough to get Greta on board, she said, though she was personally excited to explore shops she hadn’t visited before.
“[We want to] See if there are other places we haven’t discovered yet, and maybe some new ones,” Powers said, noting that she’s been looking forward to visiting the Learstreet Arts Center along the way.
“I love it,” Greta said of the cart.
In addition to the starter treats, several other businesses in the area planned special events for the day.Lillstreet Art Center is hosting workshops for kids alongside the holiday sale, while Gnome Brew, a brewery supply store on Montrose Avenue, is offering free beer samples until 5 p.m.
As it turns out, the artsy objects appeal to some tram riders, attracting residents from other neighborhoods and even out of town.
Northwestern University junior Charles Wilk, using the pronoun they/their, said they enjoy patronizing local artists for their own creative endeavors.
“As a creative artist, I always like to see local stuff and local artists,” said the 22-year-old theater student.
Wilke said the festivities and associated trolley rides are the “perfect foil” for Black Friday, when shoppers tend to flock to chains owned by major corporations.
“It’s bringing more local voices, it’s coming back into the community, it’s not going to some corporations,” Wilke said. “It’s making sure that we can still have an arts and creative scene in Chicago, and it’s not going to be overwhelmed by the money that’s already there. corporate monopoly.”
Chamber of Commerce deputy director Gene Wagendorf agrees, saying the Ravenswood community is strongly connected to its local businesses because they bring a lot to the area.
“They give our community character,” Wagendorf said. “It makes the difference between here and there.”
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