News

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).

Opening Minds Through Art

SIU School of Medicine and the Springfield Art Association are teaming up to bring you an incredibly special art reception this Friday evening at the SAA Collective Gallery in the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurocognitive disorders. Its failure-free program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with dementia. OMA also provides volunteers with opportunities to improve their attitudes toward aging through the weekly interaction with OMA program participants. The goal is to help create a society that values older adults with dementia. This program achieves this by building genuine friendships between people with dementia and volunteers as they engage in art-making.

Volunteers have been working with dementia patients once a week at the Springfield Art Association since the beginning of April. Before artists are matched up with patients, they are prepped with background information such as the participants interests, family members names, favorite colors, and of course health background. The patient works with the same artist every week to bring comfort and familiarity. Together they learn and create artwork, while developing a friendship.

Each participants creations will be on display at the SAA Collective Gallery June 8th & 9th.  Be sure to stop by and show support for these amazing people!

JOIN US (FREE TO ATTEND) ON
JUNE 8, 2018, 5:30 – 7PM
AT SAA Collective
420 South 6th Street
Springfield, IL 62701

Featured Artists Names:

Gail Record

Jean Kienzler

Ginny (Virginia) Reiser

Jean Staab

Tricia Balli

Don Elam

Nadine Hughes

Joe(Bobo) Beneky

Carita Gehlhausen

Mike Akins

Shirley Kane

Marybeth Zietz

OMA is supported by an Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative-Specialized Supportive Services (ADI-SSS) Project grant from the Administration for Community Living through the Illinois Department on Aging, as well as a grant made by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln King’s Daughters Organization Blackstock Fund to the SIU School of Medicine, Center for Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders www.siumed.edu/alz.

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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New Business to Downtown is a Perfect Capture

A big welcome to one of Downtown’s newest business, Paparazzi Peggi Photography!!

Peggi Trees Gant is the owner and photographer of Paparazzi Peggi Photography and if you haven’t had a chance to meet her, you’re missing out! She has a personality that literally lights up the room and she can make you feel so good about yourself just by saying hello!

She is a long time local and has done work for political parties, proms, weddings, downtown events, and has been featured in Springfield Scene Magazine. She’s an amazing mother to three wonderful children and loves her family! She says that “starting small, staying consistent, and being available to her clientele” has made her business what it is today. She’s most excited to see what avenues having a studio will bring to her. You can typically find her shooting downtown for this season’s prom pictures, capturing our great neighborhood during events, or at her new studio at 427 E. Monroe!

Welcome to the Downtown Family, Peggi! We’re so excited to have your spirit!

Part II of III: Sustainability In Downtown Springfield

Last week, we met with Michael Higgins and learned about his approach with “doing the we best we can.” Our food system is a big part of our environment. Eating local and buying from small farmers are all  part of lessening our carbon footprint while contributing to our local economies.

Leah Wilson, new Executive Director and Rachael Thomson, founder and board president of the Kidzeum.

This week, we’re meeting with Rachael Thomson (Board President) and Leah Wilson (Executive Director) of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.

Rachael and Leah believe that sustainability starts with the young future leaders of the world. Starting in 2004, the concept of the Kidzeum was born to bring awareness to childhood health and obesity while teaching concepts of environmental stewardship. Not only are they using an already existing building as the home of the Kidzeum, but they are also creating ways to be more energy efficient. Efficiency measures include all LED lights, doing as much as they possibly can through digital outlets, having all mechanical and electrical systems meet the current energy code, and using photocell sensors near windows, just to list a few. Leah says staff will be very conscious of their own individual carbon footprints too.

The Kidzeum will have many exhibits that promote conservation and sustainability includng a Farm to Market Gallery that teaches visitors the story of seed through plant cycle, harvest, storage, processing and distribution in efforts to promote buying local and reducing carbon footprints. Another exhibit will teach children how to reduce their own carbon footprints in their own homes.

Leah says that sustainability is a “contact-sport” where the best way to learn is to let kids get their hands into things. Rachael and Leah feel that through education, we can help better serve the planet. Rachael states, “Kids are mold-able and will be inheriting the mess that older generations are leaving behind.” To change the paradigm in which we live, we need to start young in education and teach “reduce and reuse” as something that IS the status quo.

Often in the realm of sustainability, it’s easy to lose hope. But, having just one meeting with Rachael and Leah reignites that hope for the future! We cannot wait to bring this museum to life!!

Follow the Kidzeum on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the progess!

*This sustainability blog post is the Second of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*

Part I of III: Sustainability in Downtown Springfield

Ice caps are melting, our population is growing, and our winters are getting longer. So, what does that mean for our farm-dependent state?  In Illinois, our farmers depend on the land and climate to work together so that they, as growers, can yield bountiful crops.

Often, we are left overwhelmed as to what we can do to help the earth. From recycling, eating and shopping local, to turning the lights off when you leave a room, sustainability starts small and at the heart. Downtown Springfield, Inc. interviewed three of our business owners regarding their efforts to make Springfield sustainable, delving deep to showcase what makes them unique.

Michael Higgins, owner and chef of Maldaner’s Restaurant, says that buying from small farmers and eating organic is the way to go. Coming from California, one thing Higgins wanted to do when he arrived in Central Illinois was to bring more variety to Springfield. He noticed that the Midwest grew really great tomatoes, but unfortunately only one species seemed to exist. By working with local farmers and by providing them with seed, Higgins was able to add to the Midwest variety. Then in the late ’80’s, Higgins began offering organic chicken to his customers by working with farmers he met at the Illinois Product Show. One can see the pride in Higgins’ eyes as he speaks of the bond between the consumer and farmer. “It’s 100% trust,” he states. Small Farmers, away from agri-business, “ARE small businesses and we need to remember that,” Higgins says.

We are trusting these farmers to feed us with incredible food that provide us with the nutrients we need and at the same time, they are trusting us to understand that where we buy from is important.  Buying from farmers markets and your local or small farm not only helps them but helps our community, and helps our planet. We asked Higgins what he thought was the best solution to feeding our growing population while sustaining our planet and he had the best answer: “Do the best you can.”

How does buying organic help the planet? 

Organic farming is less intensive on our landscapes causing less erosion to our soil compositions. While it does often require more land in general, the amount of pesticides and herbicides are far less than conventional commodity farming — meaning less chemical run-off to our water systems and airways. While too much demand on small farms can do harm by exploiting them, the good news it that more and more “big business” farmers are transitioning to organic due to the consumer demand!

Like Chef Higgins says, all we can do is try our best. Try our best to educate ourselves as to what is harmful to ourselves, others, and the planet. While remembering that even the smallest act is helping and that if we all did one small act, like buying local, those many small acts add up to a pretty big one!

Stay tuned for next weeks’ sustainable highlight when we meet with new Director Leah Wilson and founding Board President Rachael Thomson of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.

*This sustainability blog post is the first of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

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