Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert.
By Kay Quinn
KSDK -- A local city leader is making an appeal this Thanksgiving week. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert is heading up a door-to-door campaign, encouraging his residents to shop local this holiday season.
From downtown to the west end of town, Belleville is all decked out for the holidays. Now, merchants are dreaming of a lot of customers.
"We got to continue to fight for those dollars right now," said Eckert.
That's what led Mayor Eckert to write a letter that will be hand-delivered to Belleville residents this week. It reads, in part, "Shop Belleville first this holiday season."
"It worked last year we felt, because we have had a year where we haven't had to lose services," said Eckert.
"I try to shop all in downtown Belleville as much as I can," said Linda Joynt, who has run Eagle Collectibles, at 22 East Main Street, for years.
She said business is picking up and applauds any effort to grow small business.
"When you think about it, all the stuff, if you do it online you're really not helping out anyone locally," said Joynt.
Revenue from the local sales tax is down more than 6.3 percent this year. That follows an eight percent drop last year. So city officials say shopping local literally keeps police and firefighters on the streets.
"A lot of people didn't realize just how important their doing business in the town in which they live and work," said Eckert, "how that equates to public service."
"There's so much here in town and you really don't need to go far," said Julie Orlet Schoen, who runs The Vineyard, at 6500 West Main in Belleville.
The store is a fair trade shop, selling hand-made goods from vendors from around the world.
"I like to touch things and I think people should come and try things on and touch them and feel them," said Orlet Schoen.
Something Belleville leaders hope their more than 45,000 residents will do in their own back yard during the next four weeks leading to Christmas.
Anyone interested in helping Belleville city leaders hand-deliver the holiday letters, which also include information on the upcoming census, can call the mayor's office at 618-233-6810.