Are you eager to shop local but don’t know what businesses are nearby? Are you frustrated when you google local business, only to find the top-ranked “local” businesses are really eight-hundred numbers for companies purporting to serve our community?
We hear you.
For the past six months, the Chamber has been building an online directory to list all Oak Park area businesses. We are proud of what we created. While this will always be a work in progress, you will find the live directory at oprfchamber.org/list.
Why are we so excited? First, the directory is designed for all local business, not just Chamber members. Any business in our local area (Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and the border commercial areas like Roosevelt Road and North Avenue) can have a free listing. Second, you can search by business name, category, key word or even business district. We’ve also responded to the community’s request for lists of women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, diversely-owned businesses and locally-owned businesses.
What are our challenges? The current directory is a great start, but by no means complete. With a generous grant and data from the Village of Oak Park, we populated this first version of the database and directory will all companies in the Village of Oak Park’s 2016 business license database. That means we might be missing some of the newer businesses and businesses outside Oak Park. We are missing businesses not required to file for local municipal licenses. Trades, certain state-licensed professions and home-based businesses still need to be added. Finally, we know that some of the information may have changed – a new phone number, for example.
With current technology, these challenges are easily overcome. All businesses are encouraged to visit oprfchamber.org to view their listing. If something is incorrect, let us know. If the business is not listed at all, there is a simple web-based form to fill out under “Get a Listing.”
The Chamber is excited to provide this free service to the businesses and consumers. Shop Local just got that much easier.