Keeney's Sporting Goods has been in Downtown Elgin for the last 127 years. The owner, Patricia Keeney, was hospitalized with blood cancer and does not have health insurance. Friends and fellow business owners have volunteered their time to run the shop in order to help pay the bills.
But she's not alone in her fight to save a store that has been an Elgin staple for more than 100 years. Her friends in the community are chipping in as volunteers to keep the store open.
"It's an icon of the community and everybody knows where Keeney's Sporting Goods is," said volunteer organizer Karin Jones. Jones also serves on Elgin's Downtown Neighborhood Association's Board of Director, the group rallying the community to help out.
Keeney's began in 1883 as a drug store but later switched over to a sporting goods store. When Pat Keeney inherited the store she added her own personal touch by adding P.K.'s Antiques and Collectibles.
When the struggling economy threatened her store, Keeney fought back by cutting staff and canceling her health insurance. The efforts appeared to help until she fell sick and needed to be hospitalized. That's when the Elgin Downtown Neighborhood Association stepped in to help organize efforts to save the store.
Why save the store?
Volunteer David Powers doesn't even hesitate with his answer. He enjoys the personal service and being able to find exactly what he needs.
"No one else has something like this," said Powers. "It's literally a view to the past."
Jones said both businesses and people have been calling for over a month to find out how they can help.
"It's been pretty amazing," Jones adds.
One business that is stepping up to help is Villa Verone Restaurant.
"We're trying to do what we can to help her out," said owner Pietro Verone. He hosts a weekly fund raiser on Thursday nights were 10-percent of the revenue go towards helping Keeney's store. Pietro also has a jar in his restaurant called "Pat Keeney Fund," where patrons can make donations at any time during the week.
It is the help and support Keeney's needs right now so she can focus on her health without having to be the one-woman-band keeping her family's store afloat. A store and a woman that means so much to members of the community like Jones who are doing everything they can.
"It would be a real loss to our downtown to have the store close and to lose Pat as an asset."
The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin has planned a Dec. 11 benefit, with the proceeds going to help Keeney and her store. It'll be held at Villa Verone, at 13 Douglas Ave., in Elgin. Tickets are $20. | Facebook Event
Contributions can also be made to the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin: 2 Douglas Ave., Elgin, IL 30120. Monetary donations should be noted to go to the Patricia Keeney Fund.