Sunbeam Building in Peoria brings new business where it's needed

By Joe Bennett

April 5, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM CDT

A grassroots effort at word-of-mouth advertising and cross-promotion is helping new businesses thrive in Peoria, all under one roof.

The Sunbeam Building at 929 North Sheridan Road has been the home to Excel Recycled Office Furniture for just over a year.

Since then, the old building that once made bread has made a success story out of small business.

"I've seen, personally, a huge difference in the neighborhood itself," says the manager at Excel, Beth Rosencrans. "You know, the whole area is starting to pick up. We've seen down towards Campustown, they've had more stores opening. The neighborhood is picking up."

The owners of Excel, Urban Artifacts, Hey Lola, and Restoration say the neighborhood is coming together with the help of working together.

While the shops exist independently in the Sunbeam Building, customers can stay connected to each store by internal hallways.

"They might want to go to Restorations, but then they're going to wander over here, and they might find something else," says owner of Hey Lola Jessica Banassi. "So all of the businesses kind of support each other just by their existence."

It does help that each store has a similar theme of recycled, vintage goods.

Yet, each store has its own niche.

"What we do is just a little bit different than what the other shops do," according to co-owner of Urban Artifacts Angie Walker. "And it's just enough of an interesting mix, I think, that there's something for everybody."

At the center of the building is it's own attraction, Gallery On Sheridan.

That's where the store owners get together the first friday of each month, inviting members of the community to an art gallery and an evening of shopping.

Benassi says, "The amount of traffic that I've gotten just because people have heard that I'm here, it hasn't even been here that long and we've been embraced by Peoria. It's great."

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