December 1, 2020 changes how consumers shop locally

Tacklebox Brand Partners announced the formal launch of, the Virtual Central Shopping District, to benefit small businesses on Chicago’s North Shore, with the goal to change how people shop locally across the country. provides an online lifeline to small businesses that have been devastated by the effects of COVID-19.

The Platform offers consumers a new and simple way to find and support local businesses, inspired by the ease of Amazon. provides local-area merchants new ways to generate awareness, capture new customers, and boost sales — even when they are closed due to the COVID shutdown.

North Shore Shops is the first of its kind based in the Chicago suburbs, launching before the model goes national, changing how people shop small in communities from coast to coast.

Among the hardest hit by COVID-19 are small businesses, who have seen foot traffic and sales plummet dramatically or stop altogether. Some merchants will be able to weather the storm by shifting to an e-commerce model, but some fell behind.

“Many businesses – especially small retailers and restaurants – have been caught off-guard and do not have the strong e-commerce capabilities to get through this,” said David Kelbaugh, founder of and owner of Tacklebox Brand Partners. “So we decided to do something about it.”

Kelbaugh and the team at Tacklebox, a Winnetka-based branding and marketing firm, have worked around the clock to develop an online solution for retailers and small businesses in the area. The result is a scalable model for geography based online shopping.

The Virtual Shopping District, which is located online at, will allow consumers to easily view and buy products from local, small businesses directly through one, central website with one shopping cart.

“Everything from board games to gift baskets to restaurant gift cards will be available on the platform; it’s like, but exclusively for small businesses in the area,” said Kelbaugh.

“Time is of the essence for these struggling businesses.” When a consumer visits,, they can easily and intuitively buy goods, services, and gift cards directly from local stores with just a few clicks. The secure credit card payments will go to Tacklebox, who will then distribute the funds to the merchant and connect the shopper with the merchant so that they can arrange delivery, pick-up, and/or shipping.

The Virtual Shopping District is free for merchants and the technology fee is covered by a 5% surcharge, which is added to the cost of the item. Kelbaugh and his team are receiving no payment for the program.

Merchants who are already realizing the benefits of being on The Platform include: Vivid Art Gallery, Classic Kids, Sole + Luna Wellness, Bedside Manor, Messy Bun Boutique, Massage Therapy Center of Winnetka, and more.

North Shore Shops is currently working on expansion and opening this online, scalable model in other communities across the country as second and third waves are COVID-19 are becoming more and more likely. For more information, email [email protected]

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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