ANNA, IL (KFVS) - Keeping the downtown alive and shoppers on main street is a struggle for Anna city leaders.
"We've got some people interested. It's just hard for small towns to generate interest in being downtown," said Anna's Mayor Jim Cross. "But we've got a strong Chamber of Commerce. And some of our businesses downtown have formed a group to work together."
And Mayor Cross they are working on trying to let people in town know what's available downtown. So they'll shop there first.
"We've got about anything you want right here. Some things you can't get here and I understand that. But if you check here first, before you go a lot of times you find out that the prices are competitive here."
And some business owners like Joseph Trexler at Joe's Barber & Styling says providing local goods and services is key to keeping the town alive.
"The local business owners try to look out for each other and scratch each other's backs," said Trexler. "Rather then using some of the bigger corporate chain stores. I don't think the town would survive without main street. It's very important to keep money local."
Mayor Cross points out that there are some real advantages to shopping local over going to the malls.
"These are mom and pop type places, people know you when you walk in the door which makes a difference. And they know what you like. And that's important for the community."
One of the longest standing businesses on main street is Rhonda's Consignment. They've been downtown for the past 18 years. And Brenda Verble says it's important that business owners keep their doors open.
"I think it's very important that they do and keep our towns to where they just don't shutdown. And we don't have anything," said Verble. "The more businesses we have, the more people we have in town."
Mayor Cross says they are working on some more community events to draw people into the downtown area. And he says it's key to get businesses to set up shop along main street.
"People like to see some of the older buildings. And getting someone in there doing business helps to maintain some of these historic places in our town."