Who started this thing?

Hi, we are Michael and Blagica Bottigliero, the founders of 68 Cents. So why are we doing this?

It all started in 2016 when Michael and son were running errands around town. A text to Blagica asking why it appeared that so many small businesses either couldn’t stay open and/or foot traffic was low. The wheels started to turn. Over a lunch hour, Blagica created a 'shop local' website, hashtag and passed it around town. 

Then the Chicago Tribune covered the idea.

We knew there had to be more we can do to help small businesses thrive in Oak Park. So we buried our heads in figuring things out, coming up with various ways an idea can help BOTH the small business owner and the local citizen. What a year it's been. 

We've been talking to various local organizations, small business owners, shoppers, government officials, neighboring towns, non-profits, would-be investors, banks and toddlers on the playground (kidding, well not really).  We analyzed real estate data, tax rates, towns across the United States and the overall impact of shopping local.

Which brings us to the inspiration for our name, 68 Cents. 

What's with the name?

68 Cents comes from a study conducted in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. In partnership with Civic Economics, it was determined that, over time, for every $1 spent in the neighborhood, 68 cents came back to the versus 42 cents from a Big Box store. A more recent study shows a 70 cent contribution to the same neighborhood.

The number '68' is an inspiration, a place to start. The number may be higher or lower in Oak Park. The moral of the story is this: we want to remind people that the money they spend in their town translates to real money used for their town.

Thanks for being part of our idea. Now go out there and shop local!

Michael & Blagica