Shopping in the River Bend area is a joy. In places like downtown Alton and Grafton, antique lovers find ecstasy in browsing the many shops and malls. The area has eight antique malls, ten shopping plazas, and Alton Square regional shopping mall with three anchoring department stores and some 60 other shops and services on two levels.
Residents of the River Bend need not leave the area regardless of their shopping needs. Almost all the major retailers are present in the area as well as hundreds of local specialty shops offering everything from antiques to women’s apparel. Each community has at least one unique shopping area.
In summer and fall, several communities sponsor farmers’ markets with a variety of fresh produce. The region is famous for its apples and peaches as well as locally-grown sweet corn. A summer drive in the country will typically take one past several farmers’ stands.
Wood River is seeing a retail boom with the extension of Illinois 255 on the east side. Nearly $50 million is being invested in developments that include a Wal-Mart Supercenter, several restaurants, and strip malls with smaller retailers.