Written by Melanie Santostefano, Vicarious Productions, Inc. Founder.

I grew up with small business owners all around me. My father, and every one of my aunts and uncles started and still own small businesses. There really is a true beauty in what starts as an idea, that ultimately becomes, something.

Small business is what this country was built upon. We all should do our best to support, encourage and patronize businesses located in our towns, and near to us. These owners made the gutsy move to go out on their own – they have nurtured their entrepreneurial spirit and an idea which ultimately became a business. They help to support families, and employ people.

Our economy has struggled for so long – supporting local businesses can only help to strengthen our country. The people behind these small businesses are our neighbors, friends, people we see at the grocery store, other contacts and parents of children that our children go to school with. They are contributing to our economy in a number of very important ways…..

As a young girl, I witnessed the struggle, the fight for emerging small business to survive. My aunt started her moving company in her kitchen. And wow, was she a negotiator. I remember being six or seven years old, and seeing her holding my younger cousin in her arms as she was on the phone making a business deal. I watched her, and marveled at her sharpness, strength and resolve. Her business has since grown into a hugely successful moving company on the north shore, with which she had put her children through school, and survived quite beautifully as a single mother.

My father as well, and his brothers, and my mother’s brother – they all started with a dream-all of them immigrants, and each made something of themselves, in what began as a dream-which became a small business.

Vicarious Productions, Inc., whose origins are similar, is laser-focused on helping other businesses to grow. VM was born in 2004; it began as  a promotional company and has since grown into a comprehensive marketing communications firm with a goal to provide the tools necessary for other businesses to thrive. VM has a true passion for this, and we feel a great sense of success when we see our clients grow.

A recent outgrowth of this ‘thought, that became a thing’ is the VM Business Showcase. We contacted area business owners we knew who have a passion for the industries they specialize in to get involved-everyone we reached out to was interested in participating.

There are sixteen local businesses in total- all who all deserve to have our support. These owners are dedicated, and work non-stop to fortify and grow their dream:

Salon Lorrene (salon/spa), Betsy’s one of a Kind (custom made jewelry), The Enchanted Forest Cottage (Door County getaway cottage), d’Vine Wine and Gift (wine/craft beer/unique gifts), Castle Chiropractic (chiropractic, massage services), 360 Revo (360-degree visual tours of businesses), BeDazzled (travelling clothing, handbag and jewelry boutique), The Exercise Coach (fitness and personal training), Green Door Promotions (promotional items, printing, banners), Mia and Luca’s Catering (catering for 2-200 and beyond), Christopher Paul Photography (family and wedding photography), Crust’em Sweets Pies and Tarts (pies and tarts made from scratch), That’s a Wrap  (custom party favors and giveaways), Camelot Investment Group, LLC (socially conscious investments) and Golf Nation (golf facility, workout and socialize locale).

Though Patch.com is a national company, it too has a local focus; bringing news, events and information around town to 900 cities across the country. Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Lake Zurich and Arlington Heights are sites located nearby. They are the VM Business Showcase media sponsor.

C.A.T.I.F. [Celebrating All That Is Feminine], is participating as well, and is a non-profit who serves residents in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, provides support, empowerment and encouragement to women and children experiencing crisis. They have a big event coming up on February 28, 2014 you should also consider attending.

As a business owner myself, I am very proud to be a part of the VM Business Showcase.

I hope you will join us, because united we stand-and divided we fall. Help to promote the spirit, integrity and initiative that these business owners exemplify – in simply creating their own method of survival. I am personally proud of each and every one of them – it’s not an easy task. Let’s all get behind them and show them we support their efforts, day in and out.

VM Business Showcase
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn Palatine-Arlington Heights
1550 Dundee Road, Palatine, Illinois 60074