Rockford’s 815 Day focuses on community

Each year, small businesses increase their footprint with help from this “holiday.”
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford’s famous 815 Day is back for it’s eighth year, and businesses opened their doors Monday to loyal fans and a new fan base.

“I’ve actually connected with a few people that were like here’s my business card I would love to connect with you in the future,” said Lesly Martinez, who runs the non-profit, Love Your Mental.

Martinez started it with the goal to spread the message to love yourself and others. She opened a pop-up shop outside the store “Gem” on E State St. to highlight her 815 deals. Those deals consisted of shirts for $18.

Rockford Art Deli is the mind behind the holiday, first creating the 815 shirt in 2014 to celebrate Rockford’s area code and the bubbling city itself. The tradition carried on through out the years and helped businesses get more recognition.

“Say just keep supporting your local businesses. Keep supporting your small businesses and keep trying to spend locally today as much as you can,” said Jarrod Hennis, Rockford Art Deli owner.

“We’ve had a lot of great energy come through early, and it’s great to just say happy Rockford Day to everyone,” he said.

Other stores like Gem and Rockford Art Deli also participated in the fun from scavenger hunts to making your own 815 shirt.

“We’ve had a lot of new customers today. A lot of people who come out on 815 day and it’s nice to just be open with all of our neighbors today too,” said Sarah Reed-McNamara, owner of Gem.

“So if you bring in a blank t-shirt and print it for $8.15 and we have a bunch of sales shirts in the shop for $8.15,” said Hennis.

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