See the most unique front desk of any business in Rockford at Advanced Aquariums, 11 N. Main Street, but even the hand made ships bow can’t steal the show from the real stars, more than 50 different kinds of fresh and saltwater fish in dozens of tanks. John and Heather Richardson are helped in the family business by their five children, who range in age from 13 to 21. The company celebrated a grand opening on Friday, September 24 after taking some time to settle in after an earlier move. “We have three times the space at this location,” Heather said of the new digs. “Plus we have the downstairs and we plan to propagate our own coral down there.” The space features the creaky wood floors of many of Rockford’s older buildings and is owned by Tom Cronkright. Formerly it housed G. Wilikers and before that it was briefly a second-hand furniture store and was part of the building Ace Hardware occupied. Advanced Aquariums moved from its earlier spot next to Peppinos Pizza at the intersection of Northland Drive and East Main Street, and the business was operated prior to that out of the Richardson’s home. “We were slow to grow but we don’t owe anyone,” Heather stated. The shop was a hit from day one during Rockford’s first ArtCapsule event, where one youngster voted for the puffer fish, even though it wasn’t one of the art event’s entries. The other denizens of the store include a unicorn tang—a pretty blue fish with a long nose. According to Kevin, 19, one of the couple’s boys who was helping out during the grand opening, you can tell the age of a unicorn tang by the length of its “nose.” Find helfrichi fire fish, cocoa worms, Christmas tree or feather duster anenomie within the waters of Advanced Aquarium. Clams, corals and dancing shrimp which work for their living and don’t even get minimum wage, are all fun to watch if not bring home. Some of the fish are like family. “None of these are for sale,” Kevin said of the long tank which features coral, which are for sale and are arranged according to price, but also some of the larger fish in the store. “I’ve […]
StayCation offers reasons not to leave town The HEART of Rockford Business Association invites women to grab their girlfriends and head to Rockford for the ultimate StayCation on Friday, April 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thirty downtown Rockford businesses will be offering free samples, prizes, take home gifts, unbeatable deals and specials, pampering galore, and much more. The two-day event is another example of how a business community can work together to promote a vibrant retail environment despite challenging times. Luckily for shoppers, there is plenty to do and experience and a great time to pick up some freebies and special pricing on unique items. In addition to sales and discounts, many participating shops offer free samples and activities. Baskets in the Belfry offers free samples of hand and body crème, and a drawing Friday evening at 8 p.m., and again on Saturday at 5 p.m. Dar’s Gems & Jewelry is giving a free ring cleaning to customers. Double Take ReSale is holding a drawing for a free Silpada jewelry piece. Great Northern Trading Company, celebrating its 33rd anniversary, is offering a free gift with purchase on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. J. T. Stitchery & Frame Shop invites shoppers to learn a fun simple “short row” scarf on Saturday at 1 to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. You may sign up to win Potato Chip Scarf Kit as well. Learn what to do with your new scarf at Jade with a scarf tying demo from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Have a taste of imagination at Old World Olive Press where free samplies of exotic oils and vinegars will be available, and learn more about looking your best at Paperdoll with scarf demos and a free drawing. Treat your tastebuds at Poindexters Specialty Marketplace with food samples on Friday night and an Amish cheese demo on Saturday, and test your brain power with a Reading Books scavenger hunt. Take a break at Reds on the River, offering a free hummus and wings bar, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, and don’t miss Rockford Dry Dock, with a specialty snack tasting for your pleasure. Rockford Flower Shop is […]
Darlene Albertson hopes holiday shoppers will be drawn to her wares and continue to visit after the traditional season of giving. Dar’s Gems and Jewelry opened for business on November 12 at 67 Bridge Street, downtown Rockford. With a motto of “quality at low prices,” Albertson is firm about informing her customers when making a fine jewelry purchase. She points out her array of diamond rings. “Diamonds can be almost any color of the rainbow,” she said. She said most diamonds are heat treated, sometimes right at the mine, but most diamond shoppers are never informed of this. Her diamonds—black, yellow, champagne and other colors—are irradiated to be the way they would a million years from now. “I will not sell a stone without telling people most stones are treated,” she stated. “If they were a natural yellow, they would cost five times this.” Diamonds are not all Albertson’s gem store has to offer. With a fondness for amethyst and quartz, especially quartz mixed with other properties, the 16-foot display case glitters with color and texture. She buys from cutters in Thailand, New York and around the world. Thailand, she said, is the cutting capital of the world and provides some of her favorites. “It is all real jewelry. There is no fake or fraud behind this display case,” she stated. On the other side of the display, Anderson stocks some fun costume jewelry for the lighter purchase. Her store also has room for plenty more, and friends and family will offer some other wares. In stock on the second day for business were also soaps, candles, bath salts and woodcrafts. Albertson came into the business after her father died. A stone cutter for over 20 years, he had product left. “I was not at all interested,” she said. Later, she was able to look over what he’d left and became fascinated with the beauty of the stones and jewelry. Looking for a location in Rockford to open her store, Albertson seemed just a little too late each time she considered a spot. “Every time, the location had just been rented,” she said. She had her eye on a neighboring storefront to her current location, but it was twice rented before she could talk to […]
People of all ages will enjoy the Norman Rockwell-like evening of ceremony that marks the holidays in downtown Rockford. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. to enjoy music, speeches and the “flipping of the switches” that turn on downtown’s holiday lighting. The event takes place by the dam at Peppler Park. Pictured at last year’s event is Robin with daughters Lauren and Leah.
Community effort Andrew Kersting is still rounding up recruits and working to keep the Rogue River clean. This year the crew actually saw a smaller amount of trash in the river south of the dam in downtown Rockford. Kersting asks for help each year and is gratified to see how many people will volunteer their time and jump right in (literally) for their community. Kersting said BC Pizza is always generous and donates a pizza party for the crew after the clean up. D&W provides drinking water and trash bags. “I hope the word is getting out about not throwing trash into the river,” Kersting said. This year saw a larger number of volunteers, who deserve a thank you. See you next year and bring a friend.