Need is greater than ever by BETH ALTENA For the third year in a row one of Rockford’s oldest businesses is asking shoppers to give a little and get something great back—a discount on their total order but more importantly knowing they are making a difference to a child and family struggling this year. Starting Saturday, October 29 through November 6, folks who donate five dollars or drop off a non-perishable food item or new clothing for children, especially pajamas, sleep pants, t-shirts, socks and underwear, will receive 20-percent off their entire purchase at Great Northern, located at ? in downtown Rockford. “People with jobs probably don’t realize how bad it is,” said Stein of the growing number of residents right here in our community who are having a hard time making ends meet. “Help us help North Kent Community Services and their clients.” For years in a row the NKCS has reported record growth in the number of families who are experiencing financial hardship. The holidays can be even more difficult for families who don’t have extra money to spend on presents for their young ones. Stein said the center is asking for donations that can contribute to both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, packages of jello, boxed potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Because the center has great spending power, receiving deep discounts from food providers, cash donations are especially appreciated. “If you buy an item to donate, the Center, for the same amount, can probably buy three or four of that same item,” Stein explained. Cash donations, as well as item donations, are tax deductable as well, and the staff at Great Northern will provide receipts for donated items or money. Stein said last year several large barrels of items as well as a nice amount of financial donations went to the Center, which services northern Kent County. “This is a good time to start Christmas shopping,” Stein said, noting that kicking off the season of giving can start with a gift to a family which is unable to celebrate the holidays the way they might like to. “We try to support the community we are part of,” she explained. “We are getting new stuff in every day and our selection is better than ever. […]
Barb Stein, owner-operator of Great Northern Trading Co. in Rockford, has been re-elected chair of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) Board of Directors for a second one-year term. Stein opened Great Northern Trading Co, a specialty gifts and home décor store, in 1977. She has been a member of the MRA board since 2001. MRA, the unified voice of retailing in Michigan, is the nation’s largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers. MRA provides services, including expert credit card processing, to retail and non-retail businesses, community banks, and state and national associations. MRA has members and accounts in more than 30 states.
Heart of Rockford merchants put together quite a package for the winner of a holiday promotion. Jayne Remmelts visited all 20 participating merchants in a third-year event that rewards one lucky shopper for diligence. Remmelts said she finished her Christmas shopping but bought more for herself during the two days it took her to visit the stores in the Heart of Rockford holiday promotion. On Wednesday, January 13, Remmelts picked up her prize in downtown Rockford, presented by Barb Stein, owner of Great Northern Trading Company. There are 32 members in the merchant organization, 20 of which took part in the contest. Shoppers were given a business card, which had to be stamped at the participating businesses. Her card was then drawn out of a container of all the cards completed. The 1980 Rockford High School graduate learned she was the winner on her birthday. “I was very excited,” she said. Remmelts said she had no problem visiting each store and loves Rockford’s downtown. Stein said she was pleased to see a Rockford resident was the winner this year.
This summer, a group of Rockford High School (RHS) students active in their Youth Initiative Community Service Club met with school administration, their club advisor, RHS English teacher Dan Modderman, and representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Kent County to discuss a partnership like none other undertaken by Youth Initiative. The club wanted to work with the local Kent County Habitat affiliate to build a LEED-certified home for a hardworking Habitat homebuyer during the 2009-10 school year. They knew this was no small task. In fact, the club would have to raise $75,000 to underwrite the cost of the home, volunteer 2,000 hours to build it, and secure skilled labor and building products. In doing so, the students would leave a legacy while helping a family realize the American dream. Plus, they would learn a lot about homebuilding, how to collaborate for a common goal, and more about their fellow classmates and community. In short, they would be a part of something much bigger than themselves. Since August, the club of over 100 students has rallied and kicked off a number of fundraisers, including: • volunteering to run the children’s activities and games at the Heirloom Tomato Festival and Rockford’s three weekends of Harvest Fest, collecting donations for their help; • running numerous bake sales at the high school and before home football games; • selling cider at the home football games; • selling pancakes before school. Their efforts have accumulated more than $5,000 to date, but most importantly, the students are getting the word out, gathering support and planning additional fundraisers on a larger scale. Habitat representative Kathy Forzley is also working with Youth Initiative officers to prospect and plan corporate visits. Youth Initiative is excited to partner with the HEART of Rockford Business Association and its Community Unity fundraising program. From October 15 to 31, anyone who presents a Community Unity ID card when shopping or dining at any of the participating HEART businesses will help raise money for the Rockford-Habitat build. Participating businesses will donate 10 percent of the cardholder’s sale to Youth Initiative. Participating businesses include: A Charmed Life… Nail Salon, Aunt Candy’s Toy Co., Baskets in the Belfry, Bow Dacious Designs, The Corner Bar, Creative Concepts, Dam Dogs, G. Willikers, […]