On, January 23rd, Downtown Springfield, Inc hosted their 26th Annual Awards Dinner highlighting the people and places that make downtown the hub for culture in Springfield. One very special award went to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records for his tireless work in our community. Here is the speech the Past DSI Director, Victoria Ringer gave while announcing her dear friend as the recipient of the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award:
I am Honored to be presenting the Wally Henderson LifeTime Achievement Award this evening. Wally and his wife Brynn came to mean a lot to me and my husband Doug. Our recipient and his wife have also be like Wally, this man has made his mark on downtown by saying exactly what he thinks, working harder than the average guy, giving back to his community and pulling no punches.
In fact, as did Wally, our recipient would often call the DSI office and give his opinion, often with volume and passion, on an issue affecting downtown. He would always end the conversation with “you know I love ya, right”. Yep, I did. When it comes to historical knowledge, business savvy, and the ability to communicate I always knew where to send the media when they were looking for a good interview or story. Running a family business that has been in the same location for over 100 years takes stamina, the ability to acclimate to good and bad economic situations, and character.
What once began as a downtown furniture store has evolved into a national destination for collectors, famous musicians and people wanting to have a real experience when shopping for jewelry, vintage items and, of course, music. You will find an experienced staff, unusual displays and one constant overseeing the entire menagerie.
Not unlike a fine vinyl record, this man has unique grooves, a crisp voice and the ability to make a difference in the way you feel just by having a listen. It is my great pleasure to present the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records.
Other winners of the night included:
Best Retail: The Roost
Best Restaurant: VELE
Best Not for Profit Initiative:Lincoln Library and Director Will O’Hearn
2018 Most Impactful Public-Private Partnership:Kidzeum of Health and Science and the City of Springfield
Green Leadership:Kevin Greene
Best Renovation:St. George Apartments – Josh Wagoner
Best Creative Promotion:Hashtag Adams Family developed by Mark Forinash, Cafe Moxo
Best 2018 Event:Old Capitol Blues and BBQ Festival
Best Nightlife:Buzz Bomb Brewery
Bicentennial Award:Illinois Governor Mansions Association & Illinois REALTORS
Each year, Downtown Springfield Inc., the downtown business association and neighborhood revitalization champion comes together as a community for the organization’s Annual Dinner, which takes place on Wed., January 23, 2019 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel a Doubletree by Hilton. Thanks to the Doubletree and our Co-Host sponsors, AT&T and Watts Copy Systems.
Although tickets are no longer available, fans of downtown can still support DSI’s revitalization work by bidding on our Silent Auction, which is available online. You’ll get minute-by-minute updates on the status of the items you want to bid on by going to https://dsiawards.givesmart.com. Thanks to the Illinois REALTORS for sponsoring our Silent Auction system this year!
The highlight of the Dinner is the Annual “Best Of” Awards presented to the people and businesses who were the most buzzworthy in the prior year. The public nominated every category, and then the nominations were all vetted by a DSI committee consisting of current members and Past Presidents of the organization.
DSI does not release names of nominees of the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award, the DSI Volunteer of the Year Award, or the Downtown Advocate Award. This year, DSI will present a special Bicentennial Award as well.
DSI is proud to announce the following 2018 nominees:
Studio on 6th
Long Nine Junction
Best Night Life
Buzz Bomb Brewery
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor
Hoogland Center for the Arts
Old Capitol Blues & BBQ
Springfield Jaycees Xmas Parade
Legacy of Giving Music Festival
Best Creative Promotion
#AdamsFamily by Mark Forinash, Cafe Moxo
Dumb Records’ Record of the Night/Moving
Obed & Isaac’s Bus Wine Tour
Kevin Greene, Springfield Bicycle Advisory Council
Wind Solar USA
Best Overall Renovation
St. George Apartments – Josh Wagoner
Anvil & Forge
Willow & Birch
Impactful Public/Private Partnership
Innovate Springfield/ University of Illinois Springfield
Obed & Isaac’s/Fire Dept/MMC Burn Unit Station – One Porter event
Kidzeum/City of Springfield
Best Not-For-Profit Initiative
Gift of Hope’s Banner Campaign
Lincoln Library’s Homeless Outreach
PCASA’s Dare to be Different Fashion Show
The Y Block in Downtown Springfield will be the site of 10 free music concerts in summer 2019 thanks to the announcement that Springfield will receive a $25,000 matching grant from the Levitt Foundation.
Downtown Springfield was chosen as a recipient after a nationwide vote with 41 communities vying for the music matching grant. Thanks, Springfield, for your votes!
The Levitt AMP [Your City] grant program has several criteria:
1) to activate an underutilized space;
2) to provide a variety of music and performers;
3) and to bring a community together through music.
The application was submitted by Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, Downtown Springfield, Inc. and Springfield Area Arts Council with a support letter from the City of Springfield.
The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market celebrated its 19th season as a DSI program in 2018, with record breaking attendance and sales. From mid-May through October, each Wednesday & Saturday morning, the market is held on Adams Street and 4th. It boasts a total of 70 different vendors throughout the season, selling a wide variety of locally-grown and hand-crafted products, contributing to the economic, environmental and social well-being of downtown as well as the entire Springfield community.
This past summer season was the third year that DSI has partnered with Illinois Stewardship Alliance to manage the day-to-day market operations, and Springfield Area Arts Council to program the music. We are also indebted to our premier sponsor, HSHS St. John’s Hospital, plus supporting partners which include Central Baptist Church, The Dinges Family, Chef Michael Higgins, Springfield Youth Performance Group, Midwest Family, the Kidzeum, SpringfieldMoms.org and many more entities and individuals.
“The Market is a celebration of everything that is Springfield, and the partners are really proud of it,” says Market Manager Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant. “Shoppers can find everything from green zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes specially bred to thrive in this region, to homemade blueberry donuts made by local bakers using blueberries grown in the Springfield area. But the market is so much more than a great place to shop; it’s also a great investment in the community.”
2018 Season by the numbers:
NEW record: 65,856 total adult and child visitors (10% increase!)
NEW record: $23,377 spent by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers to increase their healthy food intake (43% increase!)
NEW record: $11,839 Credit/Debit transactions at the Market Booth (13% increase!)
60 Local & Family-Owned Businesses
your Farmers Market food traveled 38.9 miles to get to you
30% Women-Owned Businesses
1733 lbs of fresh produce donated
The economic impact on Springfield is easy to see. According to the National Farmers Market Coalition, sales at locally owned businesses infuse three times more back into the local economy than chain retailers.
This year, the Market was able to match $10,932 of the SNAP sales thanks to Link-Up Illinois Grant offered by Experimental Station, for a total of $23,377 dollars that went directly back into the pockets of local farms and businesses. The SNAP Match program ensures that families of all income levels across Springfield have access to fresh, wholesome food and that SNAP dollars stay local. This year a new partnership with the
Thanks to a new program in partnership with GenHKids, during 10 Market dates from July 25th – Oct. 3rd, farmers were able to provide 1,733 pounds of fresh produce for low-income families throughout Springfield, furthering the Market as a driver of social good.
Economic Spillover for Downtown Revitalization
The #AdamsFamily continues to grow, thanks to the foot traffic created by the Farmers Market and the ability for entrepreneurs to test out their products and grow a fan base. Two 2017 vendors made the move to new brick-and-mortar homes on Adams Street in 2018: Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. and the Itty Bitty Fashion Truck. Custom Cup Coffee also celebrated its final season selling at the Market, having started as a vendor several years ago and now running a thriving brick-and-mortar location on Monroe.
More Fresh Than Anywhere
Environmentally, farmers and food vendors at the Market travel 38.9 miles one way to bring their products to market, a carbon footprint that is significantly less than that of food on grocery shelves, which travels an average of 1200 miles. Market staff inspect new farm vendors to verify that all products are grown by the farmers and not purchased from wholesale auctions or out-of-state, ensuring that all dollars stay local and truly support area family farms. We work hard so that you can trust that our market is truly “local” and “fresh.”
The Market remains one of the most popular attractions in downtown. This year, the Market received three accolades: Best Fresh Produce and Best Weekend Activity by the State Journal-Register, and Best Free Entertainment by Illinois Times. According to visitor counts recorded in 2018, 65,856 total adult and children visited the market (an average of 2,634 each Saturday) with a record-shattering 7,299 patrons on opening day, Saturday, May 19.
Chef demonstrations, educational displays by partners, and family fitness programs make the Market more than just a place to shop. St. John’s Hospital offered free health screenings, and a number of community groups offered services, such as free books from the Land of Lincoln Book Share, meditation with the Student Yoga and Mindfulness Project, and a weekly Local Business tent we added as another form of community collaboration.
We also would like to thank the City of Springfield Office of Public Works for helping ensure the safety of the streets where the Market comes alive every single week and the Convention & Visitors Bureau for promoting it to our city’s visitors.
What’s Next for the Market?
Fortunately for Springfield, the final Holiday Market takes place at the State House Inn at 2nd and Adams on December 22, and a Winter Market will take place there once a month from January – April. For a full schedule, see our calendar of events.
From December 3-22, 2018, people who want to shop downtown during the holiday season won’t have to put coins in parking meters. Thanks to a partnership with the City of Springfield and Downtown Springfield Inc., residents and visitors who choose to shop downtown can park for free Monday through Friday, 10 am – 5 pm, through December 22.
As a reminder, metered parking on Saturdays and Sundays is already free all year long– and parking is also free during every scheduled day of the Old Capitol Holiday Walks.
The area where shoppers can park for free during weekdays is at meters between 4th Street to 7th Street and Monroe Street to Washington Street. However, parking illegally or in unlawful areas including bus or loading zones, yellow curb, no parking, and accessible spaces is not allowed at any time.
Shoppers simply need to get a parking permit labeled “Shoppers” from one of the participating businesses listed below and put it on their car’s dashboard nearest the curb to enjoy this holiday parking perk. Merchants will date and sign the permit, which is only good for that day.
It’s a tradition of the season that all of Springfield looks forward to…
The Old Capitol Holiday Walks kicked off on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, and will run every Saturday afternoon from noon to five pm and every Wednesday evening from 5-8pm through December 22. Many shops are also staying open for convenient Sunday hours from noon to 3 pm.
Join us on Small Business Saturday for shopping & dining, Santa in the Old State Capitol and more, and stay for the ceremonial Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:30 pm. This year’s tree is a magical creation by Ace Sign Co; wonder and delight will definitely take you over when you see it!
Downtown is charming enough on its own with the historical architecture, brick roads and quaint boutiques, but this time of year, the magic of the season is illuminated throughout the neighborhood. As you stroll down the streets, you are greeted with carolers, a 12-foot Christmas tree, and the horse-drawn carriage circling the Old State Capitol every ten minutes (free for you to jump on and take a ride yourself outside of Del’s Popcorn Shop!).
The downtown shops are always adorable and perfect for finding unique gifts, but shop owners put on quite the display for the holidays with stylized windows and darling decor. Most offer complimentary snacks & beverages during the walks.
Restaurants are filled with familiar faces as you are reminded what a small, big city we live in. (Make your reservations now because this is a very popular time of year for dining out with friends and family!) The City of Springfield’s Public Works Department decorates the street poles with white lights that sparkle against the sunset each evening. Union Station (across from the Lincoln Presidential Museum) puts on a special light show and plays holiday music that echos for blocks and blocks. The Springfield Jaycees host their annual Light Parade on Saturday, December 8 at 5:30 pm.
Be sure to grab your family and friends and make these events part of your holiday tradition. There is nothing more charming than our beautiful downtown neighborhood during the Old Capitol Holiday Walks!
2018 Holiday Walks Guidebook
Pick up this book full of a comprehensive listing of activities during all of the Holiday Walks at participating downtown shops and partner locations.
Community Christmas Tree Lighting Saturday, Nov. 24 at 5:30pm
Watch the magic come alive as we light our neighborhood tree, designed and manufactured by Ace Sign Co.
Santa at the Old State Capitol Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm
Thanks to our friends at the Old State Capitol, visiting Santa is a free “warm” experience with crafts and games along the way so children don’t get bored waiting in line to say hi to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Candy cane included!
Grab your selfie stick and head inside the new Visit Springfield Visitor’s Center (located inside the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office at 6th and the Plaza) for DSI-produced holiday-bedazzled backgrounds for your Instagramming pleasure. Be sure to use the hashtags #holidaywalks and #instalol
Horse Drawn Carriage Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm (except no carriage on Dec. 1 and 2-5 pm on Dec. 8)
Thanks to DSI’s generous sponsors, hop on this free 10-minute carriage ride with the folks and horses from Red Gate Farm. Pick up is outside of Del’s Popcorn Shop on Sixth Street.
Musical Performances Saturdays 1pm and 4pm
Find some of the area’s best singing groups either inside the Old State Capitol or outside on the Old State Capitol Plaza for their holiday performances.
Festive Union Park Lights & Music Through January 6, 2019
Drive by the park west of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to enjoy the display. Inside the Museum, you can take pictures with their giant Christmas tree as the background from 4-5 pm every day and tour the special exhibit (with entry fee), “Holidays at the White House: A Presidential Christmas Exhibit.”
Holiday Windows The shops are decorated beautifully for the holiday season.
Did you know that the average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding where to eat?! Well, the weekend is fast approaching and no one has time for indecision. Our downtown neighborhood is full of activities for all of you lovebirds out there. We’ve outlined a few itineraries to get you out and about enjoying the cooler temps, delicious meals, drinks… and each other!
“Chills and Thrills” Date Night
The 6th street block between Monroe & Adams is full of charming boutiques; however, one particular shop stands out during the Halloween season, as it hosts more than just living customers. The Roost was investigated by the Capital Area Paranormal Society in 2016 and they found the presence of “others.” A child was heard moaning from the basement. Lights go on & off for no reason. Shop inventory is playfully moved about. Watch the video of their investigation and then make this your first chilling stop of the evening.
Afterwards, make reservations for Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore, where you will learn about the bizarre stories surrounding Lincoln’s life in Springfield. This is an approx 90 min lantern-lit walk that will surely having you snuggling up to your loved one for comfort.
All of that walking will give you a good reason to indulge your appetites, so head to Arlington’s on Broadway. Although not haunted, this restaurant & bar celebrates the silliness of the season all year long by greeting you with their mannequin “Natalie.” You never know what costume Natalie will be wearing or where she will be sitting! Enjoy a fully stocked bar and we suggest choosing one of the many burger options on the menu.
“Lincoln Lovers” Date Night
Lincoln’s Home in Springfield offers tours until 5pm, so start a little early for this date and share a learning experience about our sixteenth president, the guy you just “might” take for granted if you’ve lived here long enough. The home has been preserved in a stunning matter, as well as the neighboring houses around it. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the gravel street while holding hands and taking in the way of life so long ago.
Cross 7th Street and bask in all of fall’s charm in Obed & Isaac’s beer garden. Sit by the fire, enjoy a local brew, share a brick oven pizza, and maybe even a game of bocce ball.
Fun fact: Lincoln loved Shakespeare. He carried copies of Shakespeare plays with him wherever he went. Coming up on November 2nd and 3rd, you can catch Fritz Klein’s one man show featuring Lincoln’s speeches, letters and historical research about him synthesized with elements of the Shakespeare plays he loved. The play will be held at The Old State Capitol.
“Friday Night Lights” Date Night
For this experience, we’re suggesting a few classics, mixed in with a couple new trends. Start your evening perusing Recycled Records, the buyers and sellers of new and used vinyl, cassettes, movies and other knick knacks for more than 26 years. Chat with brothers Mark & Gary during your visit, as their stories & knowledge of music is plentiful.
Next, stop by the Plaza just south of The Old State Capitol for a friendly game of “bags.” Recently, DSI (thanks to many generous sponsors) installed cafe lights along the entire brick pathway, which makes for a picturesque and romantic game for two. Plus a great background for a couples’ selfie.
For dinner, head to a fairly new addition to downtown, VELE, on the corner of 6th & Monroe. Chef Justin Richardson has created a menu of modern Italian options including seafood, pastas & steaks, all with deep flavors. The atmosphere is open & social where you are bound to run into an acquaintance or two, but if you are looking for a private place to play footsie, there are corner tables for two that are perfect for date night.
“Adams Street” Day Date
If a day date is what you prefer, you won’t have to go much further than Adams Street. Begin with coffee & breakfast at Cafe Moxo, where you can sit outside and enjoy the falling leaves of this tree-lined area.
Walk the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market until 12:30pm, where you’ll find local vendors of meat, veggies, flowers and even arts & crafts. Halloween at the Market, the final Saturday in October, is always a favorite as it is filled with special activities. The parade of costumes, from adult, to child to 4-legged friends, will make you and your date smile all morning.
After the market, enjoy an afternoon beer at Buzz Bomb Brewery, where you can feel the air on your face as they have a large upward sliding door that opens to the sidewalk. Take a tour of their tap room on the first floor, or head up to the 2nd floor bar and engage your date in a friendly competition with the board game of your choice (the owners have provided you with endless options). As for brew options, we suggest the Maple Vanilla Porter, which is only available seasonally.
If you’ve walked past the corner of 5th & Adams recently, you have most likely noticed a few changes happening inside the space where Driftwood Restaurant was before moving to St. Louis. The bar has been updated… will it be a bar? There are dining tables… will it be a restaurant? But wait, there are workstations with computers (and sometimes people working at them)… is it an office?
The answer is yes. To all of it.
Partners Eric Broughton and Francisco Saravia will be opening The Incubator in October. The Cafe + Bar & Workspace was partly inspired by WeWork, which is a national company featuring highly-designed common spaces that includes natural light and a community to provide inspiration. The north side of the space will host a membership based co-workspace for digital start-ups & freelancers.
Benefits will include not only the workspace (with a stellar downtown view), but also discounts on services provided by Broughton and team. With a marketing background, Broughton has a talent for app development, e-commerce, website creation and other digital platforms. “Our ultimate goal is to re-invest our profits in our member start-ups as angel investors,” he explains.
The south side of the space will be the Cafe + Bar. “Why does a workspace have to JUST BE a workspace?” Broughton asked himself. That’s when he came up with the idea of integrating a restaurant and bar into The Incubator. The Cafe + Bar area is open to the public and will have a trendy menu of power bowls, a grab & go refrigerator, a simple coffee menu and of course adult beverages.
“We want this to be a place where people can get out of their cubicle, enjoy the sunlight through the windows, grab an espresso or drink and get some work done,” he explains. The partners have created an atmosphere for business after hours as well, with hopes it will be utilized for meetings, brainstorming sessions, and general good vibery. “Our mission is to change the downtown culture to be a start-up culture with young creative jobs,” Broughton says. They will start here, but “eventually want to build up the brand and franchise.”
With a resume full of start-ups of his own, Broughton has been through all of this before. He currently runs “Interactive Media“, a marketing & app development company. He was also the co-founder of “FitTube“, a fitness app. He has an MBA in Banking & Finance, but “my real passion is creating my own products.”
Once officially open, the Co-Workspace will be open Monday – Friday 7am – 5pm.
The Cafe + Bar will be open Monday – Wednesday 7am – 5pm & Thursday – Saturday 7am – 1am.
This Thursday, September 20, the alley just south of the Myer’s building will be filled with creatives and their fans from 5:30 – 9pm. Adding to last year’s successful art, 3 new professional artist murals will be debuted and an interactive mural will be painted the night of with public participation. A pop-up art show will also be on display just for the evening. Chicago based DJ and funk re-mixer, Acid Dad Crash Pad will be providing music. Complimentary appetizers by Augie’s Front Burner and a cash bar will be available. Admission is $10 online and $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit future public art projects, part of DSI’s program for downtown revitalization.
Although the celebration of this public art lasts just the evening, the muralists have been working for weeks to finish their pieces. This is the largest scale art most of them have ever created. Locals have enjoyed watching them progress each day and many stop to offer water, conversation and even help!
Newcomer to the scene, Jen Santarelli is an abstract painter who is interested in breaking down common objects like maps and comic book pages into their most basic design elements. Using acrylic paint on canvas, her work has been included in shows at the Pharmacy Gallery, SAA’s BackDoor Gallery, Radon Lounge, and various pop-up art shows around central Illinois.
Jeff C Williams may be the most well-known in the bunch, as his local popularity stems from singing in the band NIL8. Jeff’s artwork is reminiscent of graffiti and tattoo art, which makes his talent an incredible fit for this event. He volunteers on many local boards, including The Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space. Williams is a lover of bicycling, and has a true niche of combining his love of cycling and painting, landing his canvases in numerous galleries as well as on the cover of a national magazine.
Brytton Bjorngaard, Shane Harris, Allison Lacher, and Jeff Robinson are Springfield-based artists and frequent collaborators. They are colleagues in the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Department of Art, Music, and Theater. They were among a tight-knit group of artists that ran DEMO Project, a space for contemporary art in Springfield that gained national acclaim, and served as Co-Directors of the space until its demolition in 2018. They are committed to art education through teaching, exhibitions, and community programs.
This event is only possible because of our sponsors: Solomon Colors, Crawford Murphy and Tilly, and PPG Paints. This year’s building facades were generously provided by the Nickell and Stern Families. Special thanks go to Springfield Art Association staff Erin Svendsen and Corrin McWhirter, members of the Design Council and champions for community art.
For many of us, we watched the kids head back to school this week. This brings a little anxiety, as homework is sure to follow, along with running them all over town to club & sport activities. However, it also brings a sense of relief as we settle into a routine. Being that the end of summer can bring so many mixed feelings & stresses, it is the perfect time to spoil ourselves and enjoy a little pampering! Our downtown neighborhood provides opportunities from massage, to manicures, to even an old-fashioned clean shave for men.
Part of the appeal of Moxie is that they are not a Mega-Spa. You are greeted and treated by the owner and her small staff. It is a hidden gem among a quiet street snuggled in between law offices and empty buildings. When you walk in, the atmosphere is quiet, cozy and tranquil. Moxie offers services different from any other place downtown, including couples massages, and a chocolate wrap that uses actual chocolate (and the natural oils in it) to moisturize skin. Their service menu also includes the basics like deep tissue, swedish massages and a variety of facials. This month, they read our minds and are offering a “Back-to-School Special” that consists of a 30 min massage & mini facial for just $60.
Dalliance is popular for their hair & make-up services, although their service list also includes waxing, lash & brow lift & tents, and facials & body treatments. Owner Shandi Brown has created a fun & laid back atmosphere in her salon that is usually filled with chatting & giggling customers. The most unique and stand-out service this salon provides is definitely the make-up options. Their portfolio of airbrush techniques is impressive and you will definitely want to ring them for your next costume party, as their Special Effects Make-up talents are jaw-dropping.
This is your full-service go-to for downtown. Willow & Birch offers everything from expert hair services, to manicures, to body & facial treatments, to even a boutique. Their massive 3-story location is newly renovated and overlooks some of the most beautiful sites in our neighborhood. When you walk in, you immediately feel that you have been transported to a large city salon with a sweet, outgoing staff. The main floor houses check-in and a boutique filled with spa products, trendy clothing, accessories, & home decor. If you are there for hair or nail treatments, you head up to the third floor with a large atrium that looks over the boutique. Their stylists travel to the east & west coast for training to bring you the most up-to-date techniques. If you are there for a facial or waxing, you take the elevator down to the bottom floor where you can enjoy a dim & calming relaxation area while you wait. Willow & Birch uses chemical free & vegan friendly offerings in all of their services.
“Blades & Bottles” is the tagline of this unique downtown business that pampers Dad in all the right ways. They offer full-service barbering with a full-service bar. Their services include traditional scissor & razor cuts, hot shaves and beard trims. You get the feeling you stepped back 60 years when you walk in, as the vintage, rockabilly atmosphere welcomes you. Through a swing door, you can sit and enjoy craft beer, artisan spirits and/or a glass of fine wine while you wait for your appointment.
Downtown Springfield, Inc.
3 W Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 15
Springfield, IL 62701
P: (217) 544-1723