Most everyone has a pen or a notepad with a business name on it.
Nancy Babb collected various promotional items that businesses in Rochelle handed out over the years and her collection is now on display at the Flagg Township Museum. What makes this display rather unique is that so many of these items are from those no longer in business.
Promotional items could very well be one of the oldest forms of advertising. It could be as simple as a pen, a mini piggy bank or a set of golf balls, but nearly every household has this form of advertising sitting around.
“Nancy Babb was a retired teacher in Rochelle, on our board as Historian and was active in the Methodist Church and community events,” Flagg Township Museum Director Kathy Johnson said. “We are fortunate to have acquired Nancy’s collection that reflects her love of Rochelle and ‘Pride of Place.’ Nancy’s collection includes anything that has the name ‘Rochelle’ on it.”
The display cabinet features a few words about Babb, and describes “Pride of Place” as pride concerning a place, as one’s hometown or residence.
Babb was also known to be an avid genealogist, friend, neighbor and collector to many people in the community.
Close to 70 different business promotional items are on display now until mid-April at the museum inside the Cabinet of Curiosities. Visitors may find themselves taking a walk down memory lane, noticing quite a few items from old businesses such as Dog “N” Suds, Kroll Oil & Tire, and the Green Shutter Restaurant. Others that might stir some distant memories are items from Price’s Flowers, Snow’s Electrical Service, and Stevens Pontiac Buick.
Promotional items have been known for helping new businesses establish their brands or to for existing ones to attract new clients and additional revenue.
There have been several studies done that proves promotional items help to sell more of a product or service, often stirring the feeling the recipient would like to do business with the promoter.
Other times a promotional item reflects an event, such as the Oktoberfest 1991 cups in the display. A glass dish resembling a large ashtray fashions a hand rendering of Rochelle and the new overpass, dated 1981. Another indication of a dated item is a temperature gauge from Wendling Motor Sales with the phone number listed as “196.”
The Flagg Township Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.