HANCOCK COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) -
The population of Hancock County is declining and area leaders are working to keep jobs and businesses in the county.
It has some local entrepreneurs trading the brick-and-mortar shops for a more technological approach.
A group of entrepreneurs out of Warsaw launched an e-commerce business called NuggetWeb.com last November.
They say they are trying to help local businesses thrive both in Hancock County and on a global level.
"We've been in small communities our entire lives, and having done that and operated a small business ourselves, we realize how hard it is for small businesses to increase their reach," NuggetWeb.com CEO Jeff Walker said.
And that is the thinking that sparked the company, an e-commerce hosting website.
Jeff Walker runs the site with his brother, Tim, and Tim's girlfriend, Crystal Lozano, out of their homes.
"We provide a template for their website and they can take and they can upload their own photographs and own design and their own logo," Walker said.
Walker says local business owners can quickly and easily build a website for under $10 a month to sell products either solely online or as an extension of a business that already exists in the county.
Hancock County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Dustin Berg says companies like this will help businesses stay strong and hopefully keep them in the county.
"You're not going to have nearly enough foot traffic, so if we open up to the online market and do the e-commerce, you're going to be able to do business out of the county," Berg said.
Berg says the online businesses will generate economic growth within Hancock County beyond the income tax business owners must pay.
"It's going to help us grow our businesses and if the businesses grow, they can hire more people and jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs," Berg said.
Jeff Walker says so far, two local businesses have signed up and they are hoping to increase the number in the future.
He says they are also trying to expand into other counties in the Tri-States.