The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (LGBTCC) has announced the official launch of the Shop Pride program designed to encourage Illinois residents to support local LGBTQ+ owned businesses, including many businesses still recovering from the pandemic.

"We want members of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to Shop Pride to Show Pride. This new program helps to reinforce the message that Pride is year-round and LGBTQ+ owned businesses and organizations need support beyond June and Pride Month celebrations," said Jerome' Holston, LGBTCC Director. "As we continue to navigate our journey through COVID, Shop Pride will educate consumers about the many diverse LGBTQ+ owned local businesses making an impact and how they can support and promote these businesses."

The LGBTCC is pleased to announce that Chicago-based Wintrust is the Shop Pride’s presenting sponsor.

Businesses participating in the program are offering deals and discounts through July with select deals and promotions running through August. Businesses include retail, entertainment, financial services, grocery and healthcare providers, photography, digital marketing and more. For a full list of participating businesses and special deals available click here.

In the first survey of LGBTQ+ small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, nearly one-third of business owners indicated they lost 50% of their revenue due to COVID. The survey also revealed nearly 20% of business owners had to reduce their budgets and 17% were forced to decrease wages. “The pandemic has had a profound impact on LGBTQ+ businesses, even more so for businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people of color,” said Holston. “Our hope is that Shop Pride will help LGBTQ+ businesses across the board recover more quickly.”

“We’re proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and as a bank founded here in Chicago, we have a responsibility to support other local businesses,” said Edward J. Wehmer, Wintrust CEO & Founder. “Through our partnership with the LGBTCC and the Shop Pride program we can share our pride for what makes our city special.”

“We are extremely grateful to Wintrust and our other sponsors for their support. Their commitment to this program makes Shop Pride possible,” Holston said. “These companies have been supportive over the long term. Their support is even more poignant now as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Shop Pride participants will receive a marketing toolkit that will help them promote their businesses. Digital elements include template advertising, social media and marketing materials; and physical elements for brick-and-mortar establishments include counter cards, postcards and window clings. The LGBTCC is also promoting the program online.

More information about the Shop Pride program here.

About the LGBTCC of Illinois

The LGBTCC’ s mission is to promote economic opportunities for the LGBT community by being an advocate and resource for all member businesses and resource for ally member businesses that encourage equality. For more information about the LGBTCC, click here.

Photo courtesy of Erkin Athletics

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