Get your shopping bags ready, gals, the Vintage Shop Hop is just around the corner

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It’s Vintage Shop Hop time again! Every year for the last eight years, enthusiastic shoppers (mostly ladies) have gotten together for a unique, self-guided road trip featuring the best shopping experiences of the year.

From as far away as Green Bay to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, south to I-80, west to the Mississippi, and out to the Chicago suburbs, thousands of shoppers grab their maps and their gal friends and head out to spend the day or weekend enjoying unique shopping experiences, this year at 412 shops in 182 towns.

According to Ann Stiffler Campos, creator and owner of Vintage Shop Hop ™, some groups of women have even been known to get together throughout the year for pre-Vintage Shop Hop Wine Night parties to plan their routes. For GPS users, an interactive Google Map is frequently updated with all the participating shops - zoom in and out to see all the closest ones.

The event is always held the first Friday and Saturday in October and March. This year the fall date is Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2.

In Roscoe, Rockton, and South Beloit, shops have been getting ready for the busy weekend, including:

Campos said a lot of shops in the Beloit and Janesville area are also participating this year.

Small business owners pay an advertising fee, promoting their store and location. Registration fees were $45 early bird - before Aug. 10 -and $65 closer to the event date. Owners can co-op with other businesses, as well. The fall registration deadline was Sept. 22, but spring registration begins Jan. 1.

Many shops will be putting out the red carpet for shoppers, providing treats, discounts, raffles and door prizes. Food trucks and music will add to the festive atmosphere.

Campos said shopping is not limited to vintage ware. Home décor, upscale consignment and lady’s boutiques qualify for the sale. To qualify as a vintage shop, items must be at least 75% vintage.

“All have to be locally owned. No franchises. Our goal is to support small businesses,” she said. “Small businesses really need to recoup and get back on their feet.”

“The Vintage Shop Hop has really grown organically,” Campos said. Last year, 385 businesses participated in the fall sale, and 400 businesses in the spring sale. Over 400 stores are signed up to participate this year.

Campos has plenty of experience in promoting businesses. She was Marketing Director for the Illinois Bureau of Tourism in Rockford, and worked for the Rockford Convention and Visitors Bureau and United Way of Rockford.

Maps and additional information about the Vintage Shop Hop can be found at https://vintageshophop.blogspot.com
and https://www.facebook.com/VintageShopHopEvent/ .

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