Andew Parravano, Owner of Andrew’s Garden at 131 West Wesley, proudly displays the Shop Local So Local Lasts signs with his staff members Briana Neal and Brenda Nicolls.


The Story Behind:  “Shop Local So Local Lasts”

Downtown Wheaton business owner, Andrew Parravano, is always on the lookout for new and inspiring ideas for his European style floral shop;  especially when on vacation.  On a recent trip to Petoskey, Michigan, he noticed a special sign in all the storefronts within the downtown commercial district that boldly stated “Shop Local First So Local Lasts”.  Being an independent business owner, he immediately responded to the message and felt that this could be adopted by his fellow business owners in  Downtown Wheaton.

The “Shop Local First So Local Lasts” initiative all started with  Marie Law, who is the Advancement and Marketing Director at St. Michael Academy in Petoskey.  She also serves as a mentor to the students of the school.  She recognized the importance of supporting the local businesses, which have been supporting the school’s special fundraising efforts and projects for years.

Law stated that “The local businesses in Petoskey are a big part of what attracts people to our community (which is a resort community), whether that’s as a resident, vacationer or park-time resident…If everybody thought about it before they shopped elsewhere, there’s a chance that what you’re looking for can be found in town. It’s always nice to give your neighbor a chance first.”

Working with the students, the phrase “Shop Local First So Lasts” was crafted.  Posters were professionally made and students took the lead in distributing them to the local businesses.

The Downtown Wheaton Association, on behalf of the businesses in the downtown business district, reached out to St. Michael Academy and requested permission to use the “Shop Local First So Local Lasts”.  Permission was granted and now the students’ creativity and community spirit is being carried forward by the businesses of Downtown Wheaton.

Starting Wednesday, September 27th, blue and white signs proclaiming the Shop Local First message are being distributed along with table top tent cards which can be displayed throughout a store.

“We greatly appreciate Andrew’s enthusiasm for this message and sharing his ‘find’ with his fellow merchants,” stated Executive Director Paula Barrington of the Downtown Wheaton Association, “We are especially thankful for the generous spirit demonstrated by the students of St. Michael Academy in Petoskey, Michigan for allowing us to adopt their original idea and help spread this important message.”

“Our local businesses provide personal, customized service and thoughtfully selected merchandise that reflects their customers’ taste and desires”, stated Barrington, “Our local businesses provide jobs, contribute to the tax base of the community and support local charities, schools and other community organizations.   That personal commitment to the customer and engagement in the community can only be provided by your local brick and mortar businesses; not the internet.”