Local business gets ‘mobbed’


ROCHELLE – The City of Rochelle, in partnership with the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and Rochelle Retail Advisory Board, hosted its second cash mob Friday morning.
Attendees gathered in the parking lot just north of Rochelle City Hall on Friday, Aug. 28 at 11:30 a.m. before walking to a downtown business. Many local businesses were written down on pieces of paper and one was chosen from a jar for everybody to mob.
The business chosen for this mob was The Artists’ Garden and attendees were encouraged to bring between $10-20 to spend during the event. Since the first cash mob was such a success, the city was very excited to host its second.
“Our first mob was awesome, we had lots of sweet blessings and WREX television even came out to cover it,” community development director Michelle Pease said. “We had at least 20 people who came out and it went so well, we are very excited to host our second one today.”
The second cash mob also saw a very good community turnout, with between 15 and 20 individuals showing their support. The city plans on continuing to host its cash mobs as long as people continue attending.

“I would really like to get through all of the businesses inside this jar,” Pease said. “Then, the goal would be to move onto mobbing restaurants. The city will continue to host these events as long as the community continues its support.”
Many businesses, including The Artists’ Garden in Rochelle, have been hit hard by COVID-19. It was forced to close down in March and was not able to reopen until three weeks ago. It is also currently unable to host paint nights inside due to social distancing guidelines and the lack of space.  
“COVID-19 and its forced closures have had a very big impact on us and that is why this event is so helpful,” said Teresa Petry, owner of The Artists’ Garden. “There are no words that can express how thankful I am, this is the greatest idea ever and I hope the city continues it forever.”
The Artists’ Garden is now open to the public and is in the middle of completing its expansion that will include many new amenities. The expansion will feature a painting barn to host group classes, Acres Bistro, a farm to table café with outdoor seating that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a cocktail lounge in the basement that will have video gaming.  
If all goes as planned, The Artists’ Garden is hoping to complete its expansion within the next 30 to 40 days. It is also planning group painting classes that will be socially distanced and held outdoors this fall. Dates and times will be announced through its Facebook page when finalized.
“I am very happy to be back open to the public and appreciate all of the support from this community,” Petry said. “I have my regulars that come, but one good thing about being in a small town is that it never gets too crowded in here.”