As part of our #WhySI campaign on why Southern Illinois is a great place to live, work, and do business, we spoke with Lauren Craig, the owner of Eccentrics Boutique, an upscale and fashion-forward clothing boutique that has operated in Carterville, Illinois since 2011.
How do the Southern Illinois people, community, culture, and/or resources contribute to your success in running a business here?
The people in our area are incredibly supportive of small businesses. I can truly say that because of the support from the people in our local communities, I have a thriving business. The people in our region are friendly, family-oriented and always willing to lend a helping hand. I have also been blessed to have a hard-working staff.
Additionally, our region also has so many resources available to help small businesses succeed. The Southern Illinois University Small Business Development Center is a one-stop shop for any new or existing business. Our small businesses are so fortunate to have this and so many other resources available to us because of Southern Illinois University and our local community colleges. As an SIU graduate, it’s a privilege to give back to Southern Illinois through my business and in any way I can. I am so thankful for the opportunities and support that I receive each and every day from so many!
Why do you love living in Southern Illinois?
After graduating from SIU, I moved to several cities, and decided to come back to small town living. It was the best decision I ever made! I know my neighbors; we live life together and support our town and community. As my great-grandmother Neva would say, “You will never meet a stranger in Carterville!”
Southern Illinois is the most beautiful region of the state. We have lakes, rivers, state parks, wineries, orchards and so many great restaurants. In our region, you will find small town living at its best!