Some Shops with V-Day On Their Minds

2018 Vintage Love Tour at 9 Locations
Self-guided tour of girlfriends and glorious finds on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 10 am – 4 pm

Studio on Sixth at 215 S Sixth
The first 35 customers get an adorable metal heart magnet for free on Saturday, February 10.

Yoga7even at 605 E Washington
February We❤U Sale – Enjoy 1 week unlimited Yoga $15 for the month of February!

Incredibly Delicious at 925 S 7th
February 13 Mardi Gras menu, King Cake, and Lemon Shake Up Cake
February 13 Attending Secret Recipes’ tasting event at the Governors Ballroom at the State House Inn with cake samples
February 14 “Love in Paris” Lunch giveaway for 2 plus brunch items with a featured menu with special valentine desserts
February 17-18th Paired desserts with Danenberger Family Vineyards for National Wine Day

Springfield Clock Shop at 629 E Washington
These beautiful clocks are on sale

The Land of Lincoln Barbershop Chorus headquartered in the Hoogland
The Chorus is once again offering their singing valentines! Order a singing valentine or get more information

Recycled Records at 625 E Adams
The entire month of February is their 38th annual Record Riot. Everything in the store is on sale up to 50% off. $2.00 LP’s are $1.00, used CD’s and DVD’s are buy two get one free, video games and systems, stereo equipment, beer signs, antiques, jewelry ALL on sale

Willow & Birch Salon at 521 E Washington
Check out their Who Do You Love? Facebook Contest, where you can tag those you love to be entered to win in weekly giveaways happening every Friday and then be entered to win a $100 gift certificate to our boutique on Valentine’s Day.

You can also stop by and kiss a card to be entered to win a gift set of their fave lip products! Simply stop in, try on a lip, and then give your best smooch (to paper) to be entered to win.

Itty Bitty Fashion Trunk at 403 E Adams
Grab your best gals and head down to the shop on Feb. 10 from 10a-5p, as they celebrate Galentines Day! Enjoy 10% off the entire store, refreshments and enter to win a $50 IBFT gift card.

VELE at 524 E Monroe
February 14 – A Night Under the Nordic Lights delectable 7-course Nordic-inspired tasting menu complete with complimentary sparkling wine and a little gift to take home. Seating at 5:45pm or 8:00pm. $85 per person (gratuity not included). Reservations

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.

 

DSI Seeks Marketing Support

Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI) has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to identify a vendor, agency, consortium or contract employee (Agent) who is/are qualified to provide day-to-day marketing services showcasing Downtown Springfield as a growing, vibrant neighborhood & business district.
The duties require an Agent who has demonstrated experience in multimedia content creation and distribution. Agent will work closely with the DSI Executive Director and Promotions Committee to plan and execute marketing activities for the association.

Download the Request for Proposals for Marketing Services 2018

Timeline
Request for Proposal Released – January 11, 2018
Questions Due – January 29, 2018
Proposals Due – Friday, February 2, 2018 by 5 pm
Interview Period – February 7-9, 2018
Planned Contract Award Date – February 12, 2018

Spotlight: Youngest Holiday Pop-Up Proprietor

As part of its focus on economic vitality, DSI facilitated a number of pop-up stores for the Holiday Walks again this year, to launch new entrepreneurs and highlight great downtown first-floor commercial spaces that deserve a permanent tenant. The pop-ups are possible because of generous property owners who worked with DSI to provide no-cost, low-cost or utilities-only leases for the five weeks of the Walks.

Read more about the other six downtown Holiday Walk pop-ups>

Proprietor Aaliyah Kissick meets the Lincolns during Small Business Saturday. Her pop up is open thru the Walks.

The youngest “proprietor” of our 2017 pop-up program is a 17-year-old senior at Athens High School, who is building on the legacy of the Myers Brothers Department Store at Washington & Fifth by trying out a brick-and-mortar experience in the former Mens Department.

Aaliyah Kissick started AK Boutique, an online retail outlet featuring modern, trendy clothes in June 2017 with support from friends and family. “The Boutique combines two of my great loves: deals and fashion,” says the former Miss Jr.  Teen Illinois and in-demand model (including at the Dare to be Different Fashion Show in August which highlighted twelve downtown stores with women’s clothing). “My motto is ‘We take the work out of thrifting for you’ so you don’t have to be overwhelmed or worried you won’t find something perfect for you,” she says. The clothes she hand-picks for sale are all popular within the last three years, with most items under $15.

Aaliyah has been drawn to the retail world as early as she can remember. She says that since she was about three feet tall, she always made a beeline toward the clearance sections of clothing stores with the natural inclination to organize the jungle of disorganized, packed racks.

After a brief stint working at a local clothing store, she knew she could put her own personal stamp and style on a retail venture. Her emphasis is on making every “body” look beautiful and taking the guesswork out of thrifting for her customers.

Her personal goal with AK Boutique has been to save as much as she can to attend college for a business degree. The opportunity to branch out as a brick-and-mortar for the holidays was an opportunity she just couldn’t pass up, both for the experience and the potential to increase her sales.

AK Boutique offers:
-Sizes XXS to 5X
-Long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, holiday dresses, casual dresses, jeans, dress pants, leggings, skirts, shoes, and purses
-Friendly, helpful staff

Her goal after college? To open a permanent retail boutique in Springfield, of course!

Fashion Show on December 9

On Saturday, December 9, AK Boutique will be hosting a fashion show at 2 pm in the pop-up located at 101 S 5th Street (Washington Street Entrance) and everyone is encouraged to come and check out the available clothing and styled looks. “The models will be local girls with natural beauty to celebrate body positivity,” says Aaliyah.

About the Space

This is the second year that the Myers Brothers Building has hosted a pop-up in the first floor space. It has a beautiful interior and a great history. After decades as one of the city’s top shopping destinations, Myers Brothers Department Store sold out to Bergner’s in 1979, which operated in that location until it moved out to the mall in 1986. AG Edwards had their offices there from 1987-97, and then the non-profit Illinois Assistive Technology Program moved to Spring Street in 2015. To inquire about leasing the space, contact Myers Commercial Realty.

 

What the Comp Plan Says About Downtown

Rather than attempting to stamp suburbia on our historic downtown as previous comprehensive plans did, “Forging a New Legacy,” Springfield’s new comprehensive plan, allows the community to recognize the uniqueness of each area and the opportunities (and challenges) that go with that uniqueness.

Can Springfield forge ahead with vision as the title of the newest comprehensive plan supposes? Only time will tell.

The plan, now available for public review, makes long-overdue and much-needed updates to the most recent version from 2000.

Although this new plan includes major transportation arterials that were described in previous versions (a strong nod toward outward growth), it does attempt to help steer our focus and attention back toward the center.

“Forging a New Legacy” highlights an increasingly relevant issue: rate of growth. The plan projects that Springfield will grow at around 10 percent over 20 years, or one-half of one percent per year. This conservative (and likely realistic) view on the rate of growth is important because it draws our attention back to preserving what the plan refers to as “legacy neighborhoods.”

By preserving legacy neighborhoods, the costs to city government do not rise as sharply over time (increased roadway maintenance, fire protection coverage, sewerage, etc.). The call for neighborhood master plans, including (and especially) in the central business district, is an opportunity for Springfield to address smaller details that are not necessarily at issue in other parts of the city.

In a similar vein, the comprehensive plan also includes direction for what it calls “special areas,” as well as proposed “opportunities.” These special areas should demand a greater focus, and the authors recognize that additional details must be worked out in accordance with some general principles set forth in the overall plan.

Also of interest to fans of downtown — the plan makes the assumption that railroad relocation will occur and that Third Street will ultimately be transformed into a greenway.

The public is welcome to comment on the plan until Thursday, November 16. Then it goes to the city council for formal adoption. You can access the plan (and other relevant documents) at www.springfield.il.us/Businesses/2037CompPlan.aspx.

This post was written by Steven Simpson Black, who runs his own small business while earning a planning degree from UIS.

Third Street Rail Closures Start Oct. 25

Starting Wednesday, five downtown Union Pacific Railroad crossings will be closed permanently: Union Street, Jackson Street, Canedy Street, Allen Street, and Cedar Street. These closures are the next step to acquire a “Quiet Zone” designation along the 3rd Street Corridor.

The five locations will have temporary barricades while Union Pacific completes work associated with the crossing closures and then the City of Springfield will have 60 days to install the permanent barricades.

Detours are marked to avoid the closed crossings. Alternative routes include the underpasses at Dodge Street and at Capitol Avenue along with the Stanford Avenue overpass.

Motorists who disregard the “Road Closed” and “Do Not Enter” signs are subject to a $250 fine.

What is a Quiet Zone?

County Report Gives Thumbs Up to DSI Work

Sangamon County hired The Development Consortium to analyze our area’s regional economic development efforts and the report was released last night. The consultants give DSI’s new direction a big thumbs up on Page 13.

Some downtown-centric highlights:

  • DSI has been primarily operating in a vacuum, mostly not of its own creation. As a needed placemaking organization, it needs to be part of the overall regional economic development strategy and included as a partner.
  • More than 300 current State of Illinois employees are enrolled in UIS programs, and other plans are under consideration of development in order to more fully integrate the campus into the fabric of the community. To the extent that UIS can expand its presence into the downtown areas of Springfield, prime opportunities for dynamic partnerships with business and government can more easily happen, with the additional economic impacts of having students learning, working and living in the City’s core. It would be a real game changer for the landscape and vitality of downtown Springfield.
  • Placemaking and quality of life improvements needed to attract and retain younger workers and recent graduates, and, really, people in all stages of life, need to be planned for, funded and executed, especially in the downtown, as a long-term strategy with representatives from all facets of life represented in the discussion along the way. Support organizations such as Downtown Springfield, Inc. that are working on this. Quality of place is important to new and long-term residents and visitors alike.

Read the whole report on the SJ-R website>

How About a Tourist Pop Up on the Plaza?

This week’s SJR story about the City’s interest in potentially moving Visit Springfield, our Convention & Visitors Bureau to a location around the Old State Capitol Plaza, got us thinking about what we’d experienced in other cities this summer. During Springfield’s tough budget times, if a better lease can’t be found, a compromise solution might be to host a visitors’ stand on the Old State Capitol next summer.

Here are what some other cities have done for highly trafficked areas:

Downtown Fashion Runway Show Highlights Our Comeback

Downtown Springfield Inc. and President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel proudly invite local fashionistas of all ages and styles to a one-stop trunk show and runway experience featuring trendy fashions from downtown shops, timed perfectly for fall shopping sprees. Trendy, classic, casual, eclectic — you can find it all. Women’s, men’s, kid’s — in the last few years, our stores have dialed up their fashion options for you and the price points are divine.

Thursday, August 24, 2017
5-6 pm Red Carpet (for you!), Trunk Show, Cocktails
6-8 pm Runway Show & Silent Auction

Tickets are now available at the door for $35.

“We’re expecting to surprise a few people who haven’t shopped downtown for a while,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, DSI Executive Director. “The downtown merchants are really excited to show their new lines of clothing and they’ve had a great time working together to make the night a memorable one.”

In 2012, the CLUE Group did a market study of downtown Springfield for us and reported that we had a serious lack of women’s fashion choices. Our entrepreneurs responded to the demand, and today you can see many trendy ensembles in the store windows downtown. Plus you get the curation and customer service that only a downtown shop can provide. That’s why we’re hosting a fun night of downtown fashion to highlight what you may not even realize is available in the district. Say you’ll be there on Facebook>

Tickets are $30 online and $35 at the door with proceeds benefiting DSI in their work to revitalize downtown and Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault, a downtown non-profit working to heal the trauma of sexual assault. This is the first year that PCASA has teamed up with DSI on the Dare to be Different Fashion Show. The ticket price includes admissions and appetizers. A frozen cocktail bar (with options for non-alcoholic versions) and other items will be available for purchase. Our guide for the night is Troy Armstrong, chosen by SJR Readers in both 2016 and 2017 as Best DJ.

In addition to the Trunk Show & Silent Auction, more than 70 looks will be curated for the runway by these 13 downtown area businesses featuring Springfield models of all ages, shapes and sizes:

Fashion Looks Provided By:
Daisy Jane's
Iris & Ivy
Itty Bitty Fashion Truck
Jim Herron Ltd.
Murphy's Loft
Recycled Records
The Roost
Springfield Vintage
Studio on Sixth
Sumac Shop at Dana Thomas House
What the Shirt
Wild Rose
Urban Sassafras
 We also cannot thank the event committee enough: Jane Mosey-Nicoletta, Jean Bruner-Jachino, Shelley Vaughan, Linda Renehan, Robert Sabin, Troy Armstrong, Alicia Bibb, Krissy Olsen and Tricia Schlosser.

 

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