EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — A recent study ranked how small businesses thrive in 50 Illinois counties, and Effingham County came in high on the list at No. 2.

The Thomas Shop is one such small business in Effingham, and one of the current owners said she’s noticed the downtown area start to expand recently with new local businesses. She credited the pandemic as a factor in the recent growth.

“It completely changed the way that we worked,” Elizabeth Falconburg said. “So we’re not only a brick and mortar, but we’re online and we’re selling on Facebook and Instagram and we’re shipping to people all across the country, and it’s 24/7, 365.”

Falconburg said her business is celebrating more than 80 years of operation in October.

Douglas County also ranked in the top five at No. 4. Ford County was ranked at No. 12 with Coles and Sangamon Counties also listed in the top 20.