Spoon River Drive bringing attention to Elmwood

By Chad Weber

October 6, 2013 Updated Oct 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM CDT

ELMWOOD, Ill. -- It may be the only stop not located in Fulton County, but since its inclusion in the drive last year, Elmwood has found itself to be another must see town along the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive.

"It's quaint, it's unique," said Adam Price of Elmwood Pharmacy. "Not a lot of small towns have the same type of atmosphere any more."

"A lot of unique businesses here that you don't find in smaller communities," said area supervisor Jason Centers.

The Spoon River Drive brings in over 100,000 people to towns along the scenic route.

That's something Elmwood businesses were excited about.

"it's nice to have people come and see what we've done and how we've improved," said Price.

After a tornado devastated the downtown area three years ago, businesses say they're eager to show off the new look.

"We get a lot of people coming by that say they haven't been to our new location yet even though we've been open three years," said Price. "A lot of people don't come to Elmwood as often as we'd like."

Sandy Cantu opened up her own small business, Elmwood Emporium, to fill an empty storefront in the rebuilt downtown area.

Now she's finding new customers thanks to the drive.

"People will come in and say last year I bought and remember what they brought," said Cantu. "It's in their memories. People are able to find things that they couldn't find somewhere else, that unique item. Plus you have the hometown, getting to hear their stories, talk to them. That makes it a lot of fun."

Area supervisor Jason Centers said vendor participation has tripled, and hoped to break the record profits experienced by businesses in last year's trial run.

The festival continues through next weekend, but businesses hope the interest doesn't stop after that.

"We're hoping people will think of us and stop back by here," said Price.

"People finding out about Elmwood and what a cute little town it is," said Cantu.

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