The Business Recovery Task force has launched a summer marketing campaign to draw customers to Oak Park businesses. Titled, “Oak Park is OPen for Business,” the marketing campaign is the latest development from the Business Recovery Task force, established by the Oak Park village board May 4.

“We’re trying to communicate it’s good to be open,” said John Lynch, Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC) executive director.

The task force was created to preserve the business community in Oak Park and help curtail the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. Village Trustee Deno Andrews leads the task force, which is made up of local business owners, the OPEDC, senior village staff and the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.

“From very early on in our taskforce meetings, one idea that rose to the surface, particularly from business owners, was that it would be nice to get some support around promotion – promoting that businesses are operating, building goodwill in the community and reminding people that they rely on community support,” said Lynch.

Other task force initiatives include increasing the outdoor dining opportunities for restaurants and looking into forgivable small business loans. Another task force initiative is the health and safety pledge available on the chamber’s website. Business owners can take the pledge to show commitment to employing safe practices. The Business Recovery Task force has also started a rewards program for people who patronize local businesses.

The “OPen for Business” campaign was announced July 6 via press release from OPEDC and utilizes social media, public relations, window clings, advertising and email to encourage people to shop and support local businesses in Oak Park’s 11 business districts.

“The idea of simple window stickers or window clings, something of that nature, was something that the group rallied behind as a relatively low-cost way of promoting the businesses as well,” said Lynch.

According to Lynch, OPEDC is footing the bill for the campaign, which costs around $5,000. The majority of the cost comes from production of the window clings, which have been given to businesses in each district. The window clings all carry the slogan, “It’s good to be open.” The same slogan features in the campaign’s advertisements running in Wednesday Journal.

“For some businesses they were closed for a period of time, not all were, but for everybody, it’s good to be operating,” said Lynch.

The slogan was also chosen because the wording also signifies the Oak Park community’s dedication to being inclusive and equitable.

“There’s a lot of energy right now around equity and inclusion and we wanted to support that effort as well,” said Lynch. “Oak Park is an open community. It’s a community that, not only are we open for business, but we welcome all types of people and businessowners and customers.”

While it’s still new, the campaign has been well-received by the Oak Park business community, Lynch said. Many businesses, particularly retailers, have stuck the clings to their window.

“We’d love to see them in office windows as well, but we also know that some of those folks are still working remotely,” said Lynch. “We’re just hoping that over the next couple of weeks, if people do return to work, we’ll see these clings all around town.”

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