By BETH ALTENA Prepare for Christmas (yes, we said it), Halloween, and choose from apparel, jewelry, handbags, scarves, footwear and much, much more at Kimberly’s Boutique in downtown Rockford Thursday, July 16 through Saturday, July 18. Kimberly’s and other merchants are offering once-a-year deals during this summer’s Sidewalk Sales. Owner Kimberly Smith said shop-owners in downtown Rockford are all working hard and have more work to do to prepare for the annual sales. Sales are picking up for many retailers following an improved economy, and Kim, like many other shop owners, believes strongly in the value for shoppers of a brick and mortar presence compared to online or other types of purchasing. “It’s time to retrain your customers about who you are keeping employed,” she said. “The money spent here stays here. It recirculates in your home town.” Besides pride of community and wanting to see a thriving downtown, it is better for customers to shop in real stores as well, preserving a time-honored tradition of having the choice of walk-in places to shop with proprietors who take time to know their customers and take the time to restock with items they learn that their shoppers want and will buy. People who shop here live here and many people work in our downtown district, from the staff at Rockford, our local Chamber of Commerce and our many stores, banks, restaurants and other business establishments. According to Rockford’s City Manager Michael Young, most income for the city comes from business, a theme he often speaks about in working hard to keep downtown healthy. It is money from business more than residential that allows the city to keep up our parks, streets, make improvements to our infrastructure and continually upgrade the standard of quality Rockford is so well known for. Plus it is fun to shop in an actual shop. Right next door to Kimberly’s Boutique is Squire Street Mercantile, also owned by Kimberly. In the back room she showed off boxes and boxes with contents destined for Sidewalk Sales. In addition to the work of putting it all together, Kim notes, “And then you pray for no rain or where will you put it all?” Inside the Mercantile find clothing, including many Rockford and Michigan shirts. […]
Aunt Candy’s Toy Company
Lending Library for youth staying at St. John’s Home by BETH ALTENA Every spring graduates of Rockford High School wrap up a major part of their lives to date: saying goodbye to friends who are off to spend summer elsewhere, leaving for college at different schools, realizing the group they have grown up with for the past 12 years are beginning a new phase of their lives. For Stephani Sawicki, the ending of her high school career coincides with her last days as a Girl Scout, another part of her life that has been so important to her. She will spend this summer making sure the legacy she leaves as a Scout is an excellent one that will improve the lives of kids in this area. Sawicki is working on creating a lending library for St. John’s Home in Grand Rapids—a project that will earn her the Girl Scout’s highest honor, the Gold Award, which is the equivalent of the Boy Scout’s Eagle Award. Ultimately, it will do much more than that. “I want to have books, chairs, posters, globes, to make a place where kids can go and escape into a world of reading,” she described. St. John’s home is a residential care home for children who have been removed from their family life due to severe neglect or abuse. With separate programs for younger kids, ages 6 to 12, and another for older kids, ages 13 to 17, the residences offer a place as youth either prepare to return to a rehabilitated family or for permanent placement. According to Sawicki, she heard about St. John’s from Candy Lancioni of Aunt Candy’s Toy Company. Lancioni had an uncle, now deceased, who was devoted to helping the boys and girls who found themselves at St. John’s, and would spend every weekend doing chores or spending time with the kids. According to Sawicki, there is little in the way of books there now, just a few on shelves, and no library. St. John’s has offered her a space to recreate with shelving, rugs, comfortable chairs, posters, bean bags, puzzles and games or other amenities to help the kids enjoy their reading time. From Aunt Candy’s she received a selection of books and a bright blue butterfly […]
Call it what you want—it comes down to being nice! During the month of February, Rockford local businesses will be partnering with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan (MHF) to spread the message of be nice. within the Rockford community. The be nice. campaign was initiated by the MHF in 2011 to create awareness surrounding the issues of bullying in schools, workplaces, and community-wide. Rockford community member, Kristen Bloem, became aware of the be nice. initiative when she attended an event for the Mental Health Foundation. Bloem states, “Just two simple words, I felt inspired to help and bring this Rockford.” With her help, Rockford businesses are jumping on the be nice. bandwagon by selling be nice. t-shirts, bumper stickers, and wristbands in their stores. First to jump on board are Kimberly’s Boutique and Aunt Candy’s Toy Company. All proceeds from be nice. merchandise sold by Rockford local businesses will go toward bringing the be nice. Campaign as well as the Live Laugh Love Mental Health Education Program to Rockford schools. Christy Buck, Executive Director, of the MHF started the Live Laugh Love Mental Health Education Program six years ago to combat the overwhelming statistic of high school students becoming victims of suicide in West Michigan. Buck reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among high school students in Kent County. The Live Laugh Love curriculum is designed to educate adolescents about mental health illness, focusing on the themes of mental health stigma, the effects of bullying, recognizing signs of depression and anxiety, recognizing signs of suicide, and knowing how friends can help friends find help. Over the past six years the MHF has educated over 10,000 adolescents about mental health. In its newest endeavor, the MHF is bringing the community together to increase awareness of treating people with civility community-wide by partnering with Rockford, Grandville, Grand Rapids, and East Grand Rapids to proclaim February 24 as be nice. day. Be nice. is more than just saying “don’t bully,” it is a strengths-based perspective and a positive way to minimize bullying in our schools and communities. It is also a proactive way to encourage kindness among kids, parents, coworkers, and community members. By supporting the be nice. campaign, Rockford local businesses […]
More than 50 children showed their incredible talent for The Rockford Squire newspaper’s coloring contest for Harvest Fest. The judges had a difficult time selecting the winners, because everyone did such a great job. However, after much discussion, the following claimed the prizes for the contest: • ages 3-5: first place, Liliana Dunbar, 5; second place, Caitlin Brechting, 3 • ages 6-8: first place, Hayley Nowak, 8; second place, Isabelle Rogers, 7 • ages 9-12: first place, Elise Jendritz, 10; second place, Drew Modzeleski, 10. A special thanks goes to Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, D&W Fresh Market, and Polly’s Passions for donating prizes for the winners.