If you want to buy unique holiday gifts and support local small businesses, head to the shops on the Batavia boardwalk as soon as possible. The last day to browse these specialty shops is December 19. With the date getting closer and closer, Batavia Boardwalk store manager Jamie Saam is encouraging people to hit the stores for their holiday shopping earlier.
This small village located at 114 E. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia is home to retail-focused business incubators and is open Friday through Sunday from May through December each year.
Volunteers build 12×12 store spaces for each of the businesses and give budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to test out their brick-and-mortar concept before committing to a full retail space. Boardwalk’s shops offer deals ranging from food to fashion. In 2021, stores include New Moon Vegan, Farmdog Flowers, Bumblebee Cottage Apothecary, CatTalpa Manor, Fox Valley Gallery of Wood, Black Angel Designs, EV Creative, MoJo Handbags Et Cetera, Wanderin’ Barefoot Farm and Pretty Pages.
In addition to browsing these storefronts, shoppers can enjoy all that historic downtown Batavia has to offer. This beautiful riverside town center is packed with shops, restaurants, cafes and tavernas, as well as a wealth of entertainment options including a comedy club, art studio and gallery housing more than 20 artists. Visitors and locals alike enjoy walking or cycling along the miles of bike paths that intersect with the city center.
“Downtown Batavia is truly a gem along the Fox River,” Saam said.
At its core, the Batavia Boardwalk Shop program is a partnership between Batavia MainStreet as the host organization and the City of Batavia as the owner and supporter. Businesses selected to participate receive retail space for the duration of the program and the opportunity to be part of the Batavia community; they also attend monthly meetings with business experts to learn how to manage, grow and market their business successfully and receive support from community organizations such as Batavia MainStreet, Batavia Chamber of Commerce and the City of Batavia, and even more. The success of the program is evident in downtown Batavia. Many of the businesses featured last year are currently renting space in Batavia or surrounding communities, and more are expected to sign leases soon.
Batavia Boardwalk Shops is made possible by contributions from generous sponsors such as Gerald Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and Ford of North Aurora. Their support helps start-ups featured on the Boardwalk grow.
“Just as Gerald was once a much smaller company, our Boardwalk Shops need the partnership of those who came before them to grow beyond their current market. Gerald is helping us do just that,” Saam said. “By supporting this project, Gerald is showing that they care not only about the Batavia community, but also the small business community. Batavia and all of downtown Batavia the heart of the community.”
Although there are still several weeks left of the Batavia Boardwalk 2021, Saam and Batavia MainStreet are already looking ahead. Applications for the 2022 season open December 1 on downtownbatavia.com, and there’s sure to be another group of small business owners ready to make a big impact on the local community.
“Gerald Auto Group is delighted to support entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to strengthen their local communities. We love seeing these businesses grow and their owners achieve their lifelong dreams of starting their own business,” said Donna Lawler, Vice President of Gerald Auto Group.
To learn more about Batavia Boardwalk Shops, visit https://downtownbatavia.com/batavia-boardwalk-shops.
To learn more about Gerald Auto Group, visit https://www.geraldauto.com.