Plainfield businesses get a boost at weekly cruise nights

Lockport Street revs up with cars and visitors

Outside of Rick Hakey’s State Farm office on Lockport Street in downtown Plainfield, two young boys who just won yo-yos in the Spin the Wheel game were hard at work negotiating to trade their prize for baseballs.

The staff of State Farm was happy to oblige the request, and the two boys happily moved on to the assortment of other games offered by local businesses as part of the Plainfield cruise night Tuesday.

From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday this summer, classic cars of all kinds will line four blocks of Lockport Street. The only week off is for the Fourth of July holiday, and the last show will be Aug. 20.

The event is sponsored by the Plainfield Shorewood Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to giving residents the chance to showcase or peruse classic and vintage cars, Plainfield cruise nights can be a boost for local businesses and restaurants.

Some restaurants Tuesday took the opportunity to provide a special menu and were selling food right from temporary outside kitchens, while other restaurants’ patios were fully booked.

In addition, each week the chamber hides Champ, a teddy bear, and provides clues to car show attendees. Anyone who finds Champ and takes a selfie can enter a drawing to win a gift card.

Outside of Rick Hakey’s State Farm office on Lockport Street in Plainfield on Cruise Night on June 11, 2024.

Hakey, who has been a State Farm agent for 35 years and has had an office in downtown Plainfield for 28 years, credits the staff and volunteers of the chamber and local police and fire departments for making these weekly events a success.

“This event helps us with exposure, both with our existing customers and potential new customers who want to explore more about the insurance industry and or enhancing their insurance,” he said. “These events brings so much value to our community. If this was a normal Tuesday, you wouldn’t have the thousands of people walking about and down the street.”

Commenting on the explosive growth of Plainfield, Hakey said that when he opened his Lockport Street State Farm office, there was one high school in Plainfield and one grocery store.

“Now there are four high schools, and the Lockport Street itself has transformed to something more modern and up-to-date,” he said.

A little further up Lockport Street, a steady stream of children were lined up to participate in the Crosstown Realtors booth throwing game for prizes.

Real estate agent Tiffany Leal said they wanted “a game that would be interactive for kids.”

With offices further west on Lockport Street, NuLife Energy Chiropractic team members Tiana Roman and Katie Walter were on hand for the car show, presenting awareness about the different services of their company in addition to chiropractic care they provide to community members.

“This event is an annual thing that people come out to each year,” Roman said.

And they wanted to be a part of it.

Members of staff at The Welcome Waggin, a house call veterinary service in Plainfield, meet and greet visitors to their table at the Plainfield Cruise Night on Lockport Street on June 11, 2024.

Standing in front of her offices on Lockport Street greeting attendees at the car show was Dr. Jeni Waeltz, a veterinarian and owner of The Welcome Waggin, a house-call veterinary service

Members of her team were busy answering questions from attendees about cicadas and pets. Waeltz said the cruise nights “have really helped us grow in the Plainfield area.”

Waeltz, who purchased that business from another veterinarian and opened the physical location three years ago, said she participates in the cruise nights because it gives her the opportunity to get to know the community and “help spread awareness about the practice.”

Each week, The Welcome Waggin’ has a raffle for an assortment of prizes for kids, dogs and cats.

Some businesses such as Pet Wants, a Naperville-based pet nutrition store, set up a booth along Lockport Street to promote its business to car show attendees.

“We are a small, brand-new business that started out online during the COVID period and turned into a brick-and-mortar store this year,” Pet Wants employee Rachel Evans said. “So now we are trying to get the word out.”

Weekly themes

Tuesday, June 18

Chevy Truck Night

Tuesday, June 25

Corvette Night

Tuesday, July 9

Import Night

Tuesday, July 16

Bronco Night

Tuesday, July 23

Ford Truck Night

Tuesday, July 30

Jeep Night

Tuesday, Aug. 6

Mustang Night

Tuesday, Aug. 13

Hawaiian Shirt Night

Tuesday, Aug, 20

Final cruise night