Downtown Guide to Getting Pampered

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.

 

Moxie Massage

107 S. 7th : 217.725.6597

www.moxiemassage.com

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 Spa & Salon

314 E. Adams St : 217.303.5242

www.dalliancespasalon.com

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.

 

Willow & Birch Salon & Boutique

521 E. Washington : 217.726.7050

www.willowandbirchsalon.com

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.

 

Hair of the Dog Bar/bershop

323 E. Monroe St : 217.670.0699

www.hairofthedogbarbershop.com

“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.

 

 

Past DSI President, Mark Tomaw Retires After 42 Years.

Monday morning will be a little different for past DSI president, Mark Tomaw. After 42 years at RSM, Mark will be retiring. He spent his entire career just off the Old State Capitol Plaza, with office locations in the PNC building and the eponymous building where Innovate Springfield resides currently. He head up several programs & events and served countless volunteer hours with a dream of making Downtown what it was when he began working in the 70’s.

He kindly lent me a few minutes of his last week (still filled with work travel & meetings until the very end) and we discussed the changes he’s noticed in our neighborhood over the years. His stories are plentiful and familiar as he shared memories of loss and re-growth.

What was downtown like when you began your career here?

It was a lot different back then, there was a lot more people working downtown… a more sense of vibrancy than we have seen in recent years. I can still remember, in the summer, if you went out on the Plaza, people were just lined up along the Old Capitol fence sitting and eating lunch and just spending time. The number of employees filled up our entire neighborhood. You had CIPS in the Illinois Building, the banks were multi-level, not to mention the state agencies that were downtown that aren’t anymore. So… big difference there.

 

What year were you President of DSI?

Awww… you would ask that! I believe it was ’06/’07. RSM initially began a relationship with DSI by doing their payroll taxes. I think the executive director at the time asked if I would consider joining the board. Then, at some point, I was treasurer, and then cycled through. I followed Cindy Davis. I think I was the 7th president.

 

What issues were you working on as a board at that time?

You’re talking 10 years ago now… so… [laughs]. To some extent, the issues were similar. Continuing to try to fill empty space, to try to promote downtown, maintain the historical integrity but promote the economic vibrancy. Early on, before I was president, I know that one of the first big issues that came up was the space at the corner of 5th & Adams, where Driftwood was. It was known as the K-mart building, because when I came down, it was a K-mart. It was empty and deteriorating and there were concerns because it was so prominent off the plaza. We needed someone to renovate it. That ultimately got done, but it was the catalyst for DSI to determine that we need a charitable organization that would be in a position where an owner of a building could donate a building, get a charitable deduction and then could use that to facilitate to get the property in the hands of a developer. That’s how the Heritage Foundation came about. It was very active for several years.

We started the Taste of Downtown, which ultimately became the Blues & BBQ (which is now run by Barry Friedman). The Farmer’s Market began when I was on the board as well.

I can remember some really tight times when I was treasurer. We got lucky when the weather was nice and we could get our head’s above water with the fundraising.

 

What do you think we need to do as a community to improve our downtown?

If I had that answer, I would have been bringing that up a long time ago [laughs]. I continue to think that we have to foster a good relationship without the City. I just think that the type of organization that DSI is… it cannot reach it’s potential with that support. That’s a challenge, because the City faces it’s own issues from a financing standpoint. Beyond that, I’m honestly not sure I have a good answer. Once you get people down here, there are wonderful restaurants and shops… we just need to get them here.

 

From your experience, where do you see it going from here?

Obviously, I want to see it more vibrant than it is. The nightlife is much more than it was when I first started. There are so many restaurants and music. We also have so many more downtown residents… I want to see that continue to grow.

 

After 42 years working in the same location, what is your favorite place…

to have lunch? Of all the years, definitely Cafe Moxo

to have a drink after work? I know what it was 40 years ago… there was a little place just south of Capitol called Midway Pub. It’s an empty lot now.

to shop? I never did much shopping… ask my wife [laughs].

 

So, what now?

“We’ll travel a bit. I’m thinking I’ll just see how it goes… I don’t want to be too busy”, he says with an sly smile.

Downtown Shuttle Reduced Fare Announced

This morning, the Sangamon Mass Transit District (SMTD) announced a discount fare for the Downtown Shuttle. Regularly priced at $1.25 per ride, the reduced fair is only $1.00 per ride. Additionally, there is a discount pass good for 10 rides that costs just $5.00. Passes can be shared by families or friends riding together. This is perfect timing as the summer heat makes hopping on an air conditioned shuttle pretty tempting!!

Passes can be picked up at the SMTD Offices at 928 South 9th St. or are available on the shuttle directly. Note that drivers are not equipped to make change and cannot accept debit or credit cards, so exact change will be needed.

The Downtown Shuttle has faced a danger of being cancelled, which would be tragic to many retail shops & restaurants. The route is based primarily on key business corridors in the downtown neighborhood. As many local business owners know, we get plenty of complaints about parking (although garage parking is plentiful). The Downtown Shuttle is a welcoming solution to giving tourists and locals alike an easy way to get around.

The service runs every 20 minutes from 6:20am to 6:20pm and every 10 minutes from 11:20am to 1:40pm Monday – Friday. To see the route and learn pick-up/drop-off times, visit the SMTD Downtown Shuttle website.

Look for signs at the following locations: Stratton Building, Washington & 2nd, Capitol & 5th, and Adams & 7th.

The Roost Adds to their Product Line (and it’s a dream come true…)

Last year, local jewelry maker & shop owner, Rachel Bonney was ready to change up her “Roost” a bit and began thinking of ways to enhance her product offerings. At that point, she had success selling handmade home goods, gifts and artisan jewelry. “I looked around at what Downtown was offering, and I realized there was need for quality, trendy clothing.” explains Bonney, “There are plenty of shops that sell handmade clothing, but because of the extensive work that goes into creating those, the cost is high”.

She started researching wholesale markets and vendors to find the style of clothing that would match her customer’s needs. It’s easy to see that she studied the market well and has brought the latest fashion to her shop. Now, when you walk into The Roost, you will find an entire wall of beautiful dresses, tops, and skirts. The best part? It’s extremely affordable.

As a downtown business owner, you get to know your customer base and Bonney says her main shoppers are urban-styled women who enjoy “simple with a twist”. “Over the years, I’ve had a few people compare The Roost to a local Anthropologie but with more unique offerings.” she says, which is certainly true in her fashion choices. We decided to show just how amazing her new clothing line is below and threw in a few comparisons along with it!

 

A wrap dress is a classic. It accentuates every woman’s curves, is comfy and will never go out of style. This one in particular flaunts warm colors that will easily carry you into autumn evenings. Anthro’s price is $168, The Roost’s price… $30

 

 

Here’s a similar comparison: geometric is huge right now in trends, as is the asymmetrical hemline. The dresses above feature both of these, but Anthro’s price is $158 and The Roost’s price is just a fraction at… $30

 

 

Embroidery isn’t just for our grandmothers’ hand-towels anymore. This intricate art has been showing up in fashion for the last couple years and makes it’s boldest statement in simple black & white. Anthro’s price (on sale) is $59.95. The Roost’s… an easy $24

 

 

Next up, we have the romper… comfy, feminine, and oh so darling in pink! Throw over your swimsuit as a cover-up, or brave the hot summer evenings and wear as a sexy statement. We found a comparison for this one at Free People ($88), versus The Roost… $30

 

 

Fringe & flow is the perfect way to make your cozy weekend stylish. Above, in shades of blue & green, you can take your choice at the details of how to pull it off. But, at Free People’s price of $128, and The Roost’s price of $26, we think we know which way you’ll go.

 

So, forget any misconceptions that downtown boutiques are expensive and limited… nothing could be further from the truth! Stop by The Roost next time you need a little retail therapy and shop owner, Rachel Bonney will help you find your best style without breaking your wallet.

A Different Kind of T-Shirt

Connor Homann from What’s The Shirt

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Connor Homann from What’s The Shirt inside of Old Capitol Goods. A self-proclaimed “International T-Shirt Mogul”, Connor brings his quirky sense of humor to this charming shop off the Plaza. Connor’s parent’s opened Old Capitol Goods years ago, and as you often see with local businesses, this innovative son has taken over for his parents and brought with him some new upgrades.

Connor’s father originally offered screen-printing capabilities in the back of the shop, often producing large amounts of t-shirts for local company fundraisers and events. After learning about not only screen-printing, but also direct to garment (DTG) printing in St. Louis, Connor decided to apply his talents here in Springfield.

There are a few things that make this a specialized offering, of which no one else in town provides. The first being that What’s The Shirt uses water-based inks which are all eco-friendly. Most t-shirt companies use a type of plastisol ink that is harmful to the environment. Connor’s DTG technique produces a softer, more light-weight feel on the t-shirt, versus the textured feeling of vinyl. Another awesome specialization is that What’s The Shirt can print just one of a design. Many t-shirt providers require a minimum order due to the work that goes into the set-up. “Think of it as a comparison to your printer at home”, Connor explains.

“You can print just one, or many, where as if you need a mass amount of prints, you would go to a printing company.” The largest run of t-shirts that Connor has printed with the DTG technique is around 400 for last year’s Amaranth Apple Festival. He also still provides traditional screen-printing for larger orders if requested. What’s The Shirt can create custom designs from scratch, offer design assistance, or simply print what you send them over email. How easy is that?!

Another upgrade Connor has brought to this local shop is an online store, DivergenTee. You can find over 450 pre-designed offerings that are funny, cultural and/or political. “I’ve had great success with this”, he says, which really says a lot considering the competitiveness of online shopping these days.

So, next time you need a single gift or a large order of t-shirts, be sure to check out What’s the Shirt and hit up Connor. You’ll enjoy, if nothing else, his great conversation and humor (but I can almost promise you’ll walk away with a new shirt).

Artist on the Plaza Season Announced

The Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) has produced summertime concerts for over thirty years. The outdoor performance series is called “Artist on the Plaza,” and it features local talent on the Old State Capitol Plaza/Grounds every Wednesday from noon to 1 pm between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Funding comes from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Springfield, and downtown merchants — meaning you can grab your lunch to go, grab a table and a chair outside on the Plaza, and relax to different music each week, all for free!

 

 

 

SCHEDULE

June

6 – Springfield Area Youth Jazz Band, instrumental jazz

13 – Carole Vetter, rhythm and blues vocalist

20 – Tater Tot, eclectic vocal and instrumental

27 – Phil Steinberg, Sinatra stylist

July

4 – Rick Dunham, Elvis Himselvis

11 – Matt Mifflin, vocal and guitar

18 – Britney Long, singer/songwriter

25 – Casey Cantrall, vocal and guitar

August

1 – Saint Andrew’s Society, Scottish dance

8 – Springfield Dance Theatre, dancers

15 – Rowdy Dawson, country-western vocal and guitar

22 – Route 66, barbershop quartet

29 – Mary Bryant Home Singers, vocalist

The Biggest Downtown Weekend of the Year

Used by permission of the Old Capitol Art Fair Committee.

Downtown has a lot of great festivals (one of them being DSI’s Amaranth Apple Fest) and great weekends, but one could argue that this weekend is THE BIGGEST WEEKEND of the year in Downtown Springfield. Throw together the state’s largest outdoor art festival, drag queens, fresh produce and a race of pink-adorned people — not to mention downtown’s shops, restaurants and bars — and you could literally spend every few hours doing something new, fun and fresh. And not even spend as much as you would during a day at a theme park!

To help you plan your weekend adventure, here are the links to the most popular events taking place on Saturday and Sunday plus a map of the street closures.

Looking for what to do tonight? Check out our event calendar>

Old Capitol Farmers Market – Official Ribbon Cutting & Cake

Saturday 8 am – 12:30 pm at 4th and Adams

The first Saturday of Springfield’s “Best Community Event” includes performances by Springfield Youth Performance Group, a free community workout by Pure Performance, a chef demonstration by Maldaner’s chef Michael Higgins, music by Rachel Rambach and complimentary cake for all patrons thanks to vendor and downtown restaurant Incredibly Delicious.

Old Capitol Art Fair

Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm around the Old State Capitol at 5th and Washington

Whether you are a serious art collector or are just developing an appreciation, there is original art here for you, in the form of jewelry, sculpture, photography, glassware, pottery, wood, metalwork, oils, watercolors, and other media.

Springfield Pridefest

Saturday 11:30 am – 10 pm at 4th and Capitol

This street fair embraces diversity and celebrates the Central Illinois LGBTQ community with a parade, children’s area and main stage. Plus two drag queen contests and karaoke!

Susan G Komen 5K Race for the Cure

Saturday 5 pm – 9:30 pm at 2nd and Capitol

This popular race to fight breast cancer celebrates its 5th year in Springfield, with a 5k and 1k and pink fireworks at the end of the night.

What’s New at Our 2018 Farmers Market

Every Saturday of the Market season

The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market — voted Best Community Event, Best Weekend Activity and Best Fresh Produce in 2017 – is back for the 2018 season at 4th and Adams!! Thanks to HSHS St. John’s Hospital for their generous support as premier sponsor.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is proud to continue its status as the area’s only producer-only farmers market. This means that all products are grown, raised, or handmade by each vendor and nothing is re-sold or mass produced. Over the last two years, the Market has tightened its inspection policy to insure the integrity of the producer-only status.

“Shoppers can feel confident that when they shop at the Old Capitol Farmers Market that they are getting the freshest produce and proteins raised right here in Illinois by the farmers standing in front of them,” said Deborah Cavanagh-Grant, Old Capitol Farmer’s Market Manager. The producer-only rule is part of a larger effort to help shoppers know their farmers and better understand and invest in local food systems.

What’s New in the 2018 Season?

Junior League of Springfield Partnership to Help Decrease Food Insecurity

SNAP statistics from the 2017 market season. ISA won more than $2k more in match money for 2018.

The Junior League of Springfield (JLS), a 75-year-old local service organization, adopted an Issue Based Community Impact model in 2014 in order to better strengthen the skills of members and create more community impact. Since establishing “food insecurity” as their focus area, JLS has committed over 200 hours of service toward this issue.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market has been chosen as the avenue for Junior League to partner to combat food insecurity over the next several years. Citing the Market’s successful use of SNAP benefit matches totaling more than $16-thousand in 2017 alone, Lindsay Bentivegna, President of JLS, said, “Partnering with the Old Capitol Farmers Market and its SNAP Match Program will allow Junior League members to interact with those coming to the farmer’s market and help influence the positive outcomes of the SNAP Match program.”

Junior League members will be actively involved with data collection, fundraising and event planning, and program implementation with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, specifically related to their day-to-day management of the Market.

ISA secured the largest SNAP grant match in the Market’s history this year, totaling $11,000 from Link Up Illinois, a program of non-profit Experimental Station. The money has increased for our Market because it has so successfully found an audience who can use Link benefits for purchases of  locally grown fruits and vegetables from our vendors.

Look For the “Signature Ingredients!”

This season it will be easier than ever to find the freshest local ingredients at the food trucks and prepared food vendors at the Old Capitol Farmers Market, thanks to the new “Signature Ingredient” chalkboard signs.

Each food vendor has committed to purchasing and highlighting at least one Market ingredient on their menu each week– the “signature ingredient.” It could be anything from local eggs in your breakfast tacos, to farm-fresh blueberries in your muffins, to perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes tucked into your burrito.

The signature ingredient program helps build connections between small farms and local businesses, keeps money local, and gives patrons the choice to eat local and try out the freshest seasonal ingredients.

New Options on Adams Street

The economic benefits for both the local farmer and artisan community, as well as the businesses in the vicinity of the Old Capitol Farmers Market, are clear and have led to many of the Adams Street vacancies filling in with new brick-and-mortar businesses that Market patrons should check out this season. Itty Bitty Fashion Truck started as a Market vendor and has been open in their “permanent home” since November at 403 E Adams. They will be hosting special summer hours all Market season, opening at 8 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

New brewery Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. opened earlier this year at 406 E Adams Street to rave reviews and will have special Saturday hours, opening at 10 am, during the Market. Kiddos by Urban Sassafras, a second venture from Cassandra Pence Ostermeier, has weekend-only hours at 407 E Adams, offering free interactive art activities for kids of all ages and Take-and-Make kits for sale. “The Market is where Urban Sassafras really took off, and I’m happy to have an outpost there again,” said Ostermeier.

Look For Local Businesses at the Commercial Tent

You may also find some new local businesses whom you hadn’t heard about at DSI’s new “Commercial Tent,” located at the northwest corner of 4th and Adams on various Saturdays throughout the Market. Based on the Logan Square Farmers Market in the Chicagoland area, the Commercial Tent provides locally-owned Springfield businesses an opportunity to inform market goers about their products and services.

Stay in Touch with Market News

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What products are available at the next market?

What vendors are at the next market?

Learn about DSI’s Market partners>

Restaurant Installs Technology to Help Visually Impaired

Maldaner’s Restaurant is the first downtown business — but likely not the last — to install technology to help visually impaired individuals access the business, thanks to a partnership with Sensible Innovations, also a DSI member and an Innovate Springfield member. Sensible Innovations is a Springfield-based technology company whose Aware audible way-finding app for visually impaired people was recently named Consumer Electronics Show 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree.

Aware works with iBeacons, to provide indoors and outdoors turn-by-turn navigational directions, and location descriptions, designed with a focus on visually impaired people, and plays in real time where and when it matters.

“Our visually impaired customers can now order from the menu, without asking a sighted person for help, because it is listed in the app. They can also easily navigate the restaurant without assistance allowing them the independence they deserve,’ said Chef Higgins. “For us, installing the iBeacons was a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you want to make your business accessible for all?”

To download the app, search “Aware Wayfinding Sensible Innovations” in your app store.

As Chef Higgins is the first proprietor in downtown Springfield to install the technology required for Aware, Sensible Innovations founder and CEO Rasha Said is championing Chef Higgins’ commitment to his patrons.

“Michael and I collaborated on this project to encourage other local businesses, especially those downtown, to install the iBeacon technology to allow people who are visually impaired the same opportunities, when dining, as those who are sighted,” said Rasha.

Sensible Innovations is a member of Innovate Springfield, a social innovation and business incubator situated in downtown Springfield. Katie Davison, the organization’s executive director said, “We think this is only the beginning for the Aware app to penetrate the Springfield market. The opportunities for the app to provide way-finding assistance to the Springfield community are endless.”

Aware is making a positive impact on the lives of visually impaired people across the city and further afield.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. executive director Lisa Clemmons Stott said she was extremely excited about the launch of Aware at Maldaner’s, which is a member of DSI, “As the ‘front door’ of Springfield, downtown businesses welcome people from around the world. Chef Higgins is leading the way to even more inclusivity by utilizing this technology. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if downtown Springfield was the first neighborhood in the nation to support visually-impaired individuals in this way?”

Rasha and her team have placed iBeacons at Glenwood High School in Chatham and Mary Bryant Home for the Blind in Springfield, the Rosa Parks Hempstead Transit Center in New York and at The Chicago Lighthouse.

Aware has a US utility patent and was coded by Springfield-based Levi, Ray & Shoup Web Solutions.

For more information visit sensible-innovations.com.

2017 Best of Downtown Awards

On January 25, DSI celebrated its 25th anniversary as a business organization representing the interests and vision of a strong downtown neighborhood. That included 18 years of annual awards celebrating the most buzzworthy people and places of the year.

The 25th Annual Dinner was supported by premier sponsors Hanson Professional Services and President Abraham Lincoln Hotel a Doubletree by Hilton. It was the first time in DSI’s history that the dinner was held at the BOS Center. More than 550 guests were in attendance.

Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures from the evening>

Thanks to WSEC Public Television for taping the evening for broadcast:

Congrats to all of our 2017 recipients! 

2017 Best Signage
Tacology 101

2017 Impactful Public/Private Partnership
Artistic Parklet at 6th and Washington: Urban Sassafras and Capitol Area Realtors

2017 Best Event
The Parent Place’s Halloween Parade

2017 Best Retail
Springfield Vintage

2017 Best Restaurant
Long Nine Junction

2017 Best Nightlife
The Legacy Theater

2017 Best Creative Promotion
Willow & Birch’s Social Media Campaign “Countdown to Downtown”

2017 Innovative Business Concept
Hair of the Dog Bar/Bershop

2017 Best Not-for-Profit Initiative
District 186 Public School Foundation Bookfair Pop-up

Best Renovation
Loukinens’ on 4th

Best Holiday Window Display
Wild Rose

Green Leadership
Chris Nickell & Partners/Rooftop Solar Installations

Downtown Advocate
Erin Svendsen

DSI Volunteer of the Year
Dana Saal

Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement
The Late Al Eck, Jr.

Guests were treated to aerial performances by Divas in the Air, and national recording act Fleekbass serving as the evening’s house band. Mayor Jim Langfelder gave the annual State of the Downtown address, focusing many of his remarks on his plans for the Y Block, including green space, areas for interactive experiences, and potentially – hopefully – a downtown higher education/innovation hub.

DSI Outgoing President Tony Comerio of Hanson Information Services passed the gavel to 2018 President Kevin Kuhn of Kuhn & Trello Consulting. The new 2018 Board of Directors was formally recognized for the first time.

For the 2017 awards, the public made nominations for every category except DSI Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement, which were selected by DSI Leadership. The nominations were all vetted by a DSI committee consisting of current members and Past Presidents of the organization.

 

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