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Internet Association And Rep. Robin Kelly Meet With Small Businesses And Community Organizations In Kankakee, IL To Discuss The Value Of The Internet

Kankakee, IL – Internet Association (IA) and Representative Robin Kelly today will meet with small businesses and community organizations in Kankakee, IL as part of an “Internet Community Crawl” to highlight the importance of the internet in helping the community grow and succeed.

“Kankakee, and communities like it across America, find real economic and social opportunity when they leverage the internet,” said Melika Carroll, IA Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs. “The internet provides small businesses and entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete on a national – often global – stage, and allows community groups to spread their message and strengthen their neighborhoods. I appreciate Rep. Kelly’s participation in today’s crawl, and look forward to the continued dialogue on the true value of the internet for communities across the country.”

Internet Association and Rep. Kelly will visit four local businesses and community organizations in Kankakee that use the internet to grow their business, reach new customers, and engage with the community. The internet economy contributes almost $65 billion to Illinois’ economy and employs nearly 142,000 Illinoisans, according to Internet Association research.

“In 2018, there is no substitute for a digital presence for small businesses. From online sales to targeting marketing campaigns, the internet helps small businesses connect with customers – many outside their local community – to grow and create jobs. Thanks to the internet, great Mom and Pop stores in my district can build a loyal customer base across the globe,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, ranking member of the Information Technology Subcommittee. “That’s why I’ve worked with stakeholders from around Illinois and with my colleagues in Congress to bridge the digital divide and expand access to broadband to rural and underserved communities in the Second District, and across Illinois and our country. I look forward to learning firsthand how local businesses are engaging and adapting their operations to best thrive in today’s digital marketplace.”

The Kankakee crawl will highlight the following local small businesses and community organizations:

  • Stefari Café – A coffee shop and restaurant in Kankakee’s arts and entertainment area that quickly turned into a daytime hangout spot for college students and young professionals. The café became a well-known spot in its first year of businesses by using Instagram, Facebook, and Yelp to reach locals and build a strong reputation.
  • The Majestic Theatre – A theatre with a rich history and an art-deco style that opened its doors in 1912 and became a cornerstone for entertainment in Kankakee and surrounding Illinois area. Today, the new owners use internet-enabled tools to plan events and weddings in the newly renovated, art-deco style theatre.
  • The Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism – A non-profit exhibition space and studio dedicated to the creative and professional development of artists on the autism spectrum. The gallery uses Facebook to promote events and connect artists’ work with a national audience, and also uses Paypal and Amazon Smiles to expand its reach for donations.
  • Papi’s Pizza Café – A modern industrial pizza cafe that specializes in breakfast, lunch, and handmade pizzas that compliments the revitalization efforts of downtown Kankakee. The café has nearly 200 five-star reviews and thousands of followers on Facebook, and recently expanded to accommodate more customers.