DeKalb County UNITES begins with U!

Thank you to our many partners and friends 

DeKalb County UNITES is a grass roots initiative dedicated to supporting the small business sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A group of concerned citizens are working voluntarily to share information, urge action and offer encouragement to businesses and residents throughout the county.  

We are thankful to the many people who have shared and continue to share their expertise, insights, resources, and time in support of this important mission.   Their gifts, offered freely and coming in many forms, have made a tremendous difference in the lives of small business owners who are working valiantly to weather this storm. 

Webinar Presenters

Cohen Barnes, Host, Sundog IT

Cortney Strohacker, Moderator, DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Brad Hoey, Producer, DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Brian Oster, OC Creative

Jock Sommese, WCC Small Business Development Center

Tim Struthers and Frank Roberts, First National Bank

Mark Kerman, Siepert & Co.

Nick & Stephanie Bradac, Open Door Coffee, Genoa

Jeff Dobie, Fatty’s

Bill McMahon, Lincoln Inn/Faranda’s

LaCretia Konan, Kishwaukee College

Calvin Giles, Art Welch and Carol Canilly, IL Department of Employment Security

Rep. Jeff Keicher, IL 70th District

Brad McConnell, Accion

Margaret Croke and Jonathan McGee, IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Mya Groza, NIU College of Business

Jon Kuhn, Banner Up Signs

Joel Barczak, Blumen Gardens

Jim Doherty, OLT Marketing

Jamie Walter, Whiskey Acres

Jenna Spychal, Jonamac Orchard

Steve Byers, Byers Brewing Company

Liza Gonzalez, DeKalb County Health Department

Vicky Obermiller, Kids Stuff

Carolyn Tobinson, Tobinson Hardware

Veronica Miranda, Studio 815

We want to hear from DeKalb County business owners who are doing a great job pivoting to keep their businesses afloat during this difficult time and are willing to share with others.   Please email Brad Hoey at to nominate someone to be part of a Small Business Spotlight discussion.



DeKalb County Unites Core Team

Cohen Barnes, Co-chair, Sundog IT/DCEDC Chair

Rena Cotsones, Co-chair, NIU Outreach & Engagement

Geri Benning, Sandwich Chamber of Commerce

Debra Boughton, NIU Huskie Athletics

Melissa Butts, Community volunteer

Mike Cullen, First Midwest Bank

Jeff Dobie, Fatty’s

Jim Doherty, OLT Marketing

Matt Duffy, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Bryan Gregory, City of Sycamore

Jennifer Groce, NIU Community Promotion

Mya Groza, NIU College of Business

Brad Hoey, Chair, DeKalb County CVB

Krissy Johnson, Genoa Chamber

LaCretia Konan, Kishwaukee College

Bill McMahon, Lincoln Inn/Faranda’s

Bill Nicklas, City of DeKalb 

Brian Oster, OC Creates

Jock Sommese, WCC Small Business Development Center

Cortney Strohacker, DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Tim Struthers and Frank Roberts, First National Bank

Rose Treml, Sycamore Chamber of Commerce

Jolene Willis, DeKalb County


Thank you to our media partners for helping us spread the word!

Shaw Media

Northern Public Radio


Small business updates, resources, tools, and tips for getting through this COVID-19 crisis.  

Working directly with small businesses in DeKalb County to determine capacities, needs and opportunities.

Volunteer your time, your resources, your business, or your finances. We appreciate any consideration.

Do you have a unique idea or suggestion we may haven't thought of yet? Send us a message!


Right now, we need everyone in our community thinking strategically about how you can direct your purchasing power to our small businesses. Please join us in supporting our small businesses today. 

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DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau

This content is for information purposes only and information provided should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality.  No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation.  Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. DeKalb County Unites cannot warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate, nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.