Downtown Rockford

Fire closes Rocky’s for two days

July 24, 2009 // 0 Comments

    Rockford firefighters responded to a call late the afternoon of Friday, July 17, when an ice cream machine at Rocky’s, 110 N. Main Street, downtown Rockford, caught fire. It was just before 5 p.m. when workers noticed smoke and called in the emergency. Rocky’s owners showed up quickly and watched with evacuated employees as firefighters went inside to contain any possible burning and to fan out the smoky interior.   “We’ve been here 20 years and nothing like this has ever happened,” said owner Sally Gardener. The shop itself has been a mainstay in Rockford in the summer for about 35 years. “We’re just glad no one was hurt and the building didn’t burn down,” Gardener said. She said she was very grateful the fire started during business hours or the whole building could have caught fire.             Rocky’s had to close for the next day to clean the entire interior of the shop because of smoke damage. All opened food had to be thrown out and a new soft-serve machine ordered. The business reopened on Sunday, July 19.

International musician to play at Grill One Eleven

July 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

Enjoy the music of internationally known Dana Cooper right here in Rockford on Tuesday, July 28. In a free concert starting at 8 p.m., Cooper will perform at Grill One Eleven, 111 Courtland Street, downtown Rockford. The singer/songwriter has wowed audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe recently with tunes from his newest album, “Made of Mud,” to be released on September 13 on King Easy Records. Cooper’s ingenious guitar work and gutsy harmonica continue to augment his passionate voice and insightful lyrics. This collection of 11 songs produced by Richard McLaurin features acclaimed Nashville talents Dave Jacques, Paul Griffith, Eric Fritsch, Steve Hermann and Vickie Hampton. Out of the heartland of America, the stomping ground of Truman and Twain, Cooper was playing his music in Kansas City clubs by the age of 16. Leaving behind a college art scholarship, Cooper toured the country and landed in Los Angeles. In 1973, Elektra Records released his self-titled debut solo album featuring luminary players Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar and Jim Horn. Cooper later moved to Texas to join forces with long-time friend Shake Russell. Their collaborations produced five highly successful folk-rock albums, including one on MCA in 1981. The two became one of the most popular acts throughout Texas and the Southwest, appearing together on Austin City Limits. Cooper and Russell continue recording and performing together to this day. Over the years, Cooper has released many independent solo albums, including the critically acclaimed “Miracle Mile” on Compass Records. This album was nominated for a Nashville Music Award as “Best Pop Album” and was picked by Performing Songwriter Magazine as one of the top 12 DIY recordings for the year. Cooper’s latest CD, “Harry Truman Built A Road,” was named one of the best records of 2002 by The Tennessean in Nashville and was again chosen as one of the top 12 DIY recordings for that year. Recent tours of Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Germany have gained Cooper exuberant support from audiences and radio as well as collaborations and friendships with many songwriters in these countries. Cooper has been named Best Songwriter in Houston, was nominated Best Male Vocalist by the Kerrville Music Foundation and was nominated by their Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by top-notch […]

Proposed sports fields would bring millions to area

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Millions of dollars would come to the area if a proposed sports complex is built on Ten Mile Road. According to Mike Guswiler, Executive Director of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), this area was identified in a study as being ideal for a sports complex. “We really took a look at this and had a consultant come in and tell us what the best sports fields were… They said travel amateur and youth baseball and softball leagues would use the fields Thursday through Sunday,” he stated. The WMSC is a three-year-old organization designed to promote economic opportunities for the area. They identified the site, in part, because it is county-owned. On Thursday, June 11, the WMSC approached the Kent County Board of Commissioners asking if a long-term lease of the property could be arranged for one dollar a year. Roger Morgan, Chairman of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, said their finance committee formed a sub-committee to look into the legalities of such a transaction. “Because that land was purchased by ratepayer dollars, there may be some stipulations as to its use,” he said. He added that he is entirely in support of the project. City Manager Michael Young, who is on the Ten Mile Corridor Committee dedicated to controlling retail growth in the corridor, said this use would be accepted. “We wouldn’t want any of the fast food or retail that can come with this kind of development, but we don’t oppose this use at all,” he said. Guswiler said the study the WMSC is following shows that 12 fields and a championship field would be ideal. It would cost 5.6 million to build, not including any land cost. A donor was identified who would offer a fund-matching gift of part of the amount. That offer is tentatively on hold, however, given the state of the state economy. “We are not a development organization, we are in a position to lead the discussion on this project,” said Guswiler. He said economic growth through increased hotel/motel revenue is a part of the goal in creating a project like this, but not the whole purpose. “Our studies show that people will travel within 40 miles of this complex for shopping, dining and other reasons,” said […]

New kids consignment boutique coming to Downtown Rockford

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

In today’s economy you can’t go wrong shopping at Gumballs and Overalls, the new kid’s consignment boutique coming to downtown Rockford. At the upscale consignment boutique you will find name brands such as Gymboree, Gap, Tommy Hillfiger, The Children’s Place, Ralph Lauren, Limited Too, and many designer brands all for up to 70 percent off retail. Shop owner Teresa Patteuw says that shoppers in her store will not have to compromise their style and fashion preferences to get a great deal because all items are in guaranteed like new condition, except you are not paying the hefty retail price. In addition, the atmosphere is not like other second hand stores, but much like a designer boutique that is incredibly organized with beautiful displays and unmatched customer service. Teresa urges shoppers to ask themselves, “why pay the difference when you can’t tell the difference?” When families are looking closely at their budget Gumballs and Overalls offers more than just a great money saving solution.  At Gumballs and Overalls families can sell their kids outgrown clothing (sizes 0-10), equipment, furniture, and accessories and make big bucks. Sellers, also called consignors, earn 40-50 percent of everything they sell. They can receive a check for their sold items or they can use the money they earn to shop in the store at a discount. A typical consignor can expect to earn as much as $500 per season, just from outgrown items in their kid’s closets, and Gumballs and Overalls does all the work. In addition to like new kids item’s on consignment, shoppers can expect to find many new boutique gift items. New gift items will include tutus, hair bows, baby blankets, bibs, rattles, heirloom christening gowns and accessories, diaper bags, and much more. Gumballs and Overalls will also offer ecofriendly kid’s products including Earth Mama, Angel Baby all natural care products, organic laundry detergent, products with organic and hemp fabrics, as well as a large assortment of cloth diaper brands including Bum Genius, Fuzzi Buns, Bumkins, Thirsties, Happy Heinyes, and more. Throughout any month shoppers can also participate in many ongoing workshops including Baby Sign, a great introduction to learn more about the benefits of baby sign language, and the first workshop being held June 12-13 in partnership […]

Family service, pricing keeps Bangz Hair Salon a success story

May 7, 2009 // 0 Comments

Bangz is an example of a business that is doing it right. The salon is thriving in downtown Rockford and since opening in May, 2006 has had to move to a larger location. Becky Johnson, owner and stylist, couldn’t be happier or more appreciative. “Nearly all residents I talk to try to support our local businesses,” Johnson said. “I truly am so privileged to have the staff that I do. Everyone is extremely talented and I look forward to going to work every day.” Johnson believes Bangz success is because the salon is a family-friendly and affordable. The salon offers Redken, Paul Mitchell, Tea Tree and new, just for kids, a line called Fairy Tales. Fairy Tales is an all-natural, organic hair care line featuring Rosemary Repel hair care products which repel lice and other insects. It is perfect for those inevitable school break-outs. The staff at Bangz focus on hair care-cuts for men, women and children, highlights, lowlights, all-over color, corrective color, perms and up-dos. Facial waxing is available as well as conditioning treatments and eyebrow arching. “Occasionally we have promotions that Redken and Paul Mitchell extend to us and we sometimes send out discounts to our clients,” Johnson said. She is proud that the salon offers the services of more expensive places but keep prices affordable. Each staff member graduated from cosmetology school and continually attend training for cuts and coloring. Going to shows and classes keep everyone up on the latest styles and trends. On staff Johnson is joined at Bangz by Sarah Bredow, Amy Snellink, Lisa Williamson, Whitnie Snodgrass, Shanna Smallegan, Anne Galganski and Brooke McCurdy. “I never in a million years thought I would own a salon so soon after high school,” said Johnson. “Last year after I received a letter written by myself in my senior year while I was in Mrs. Avrams senior composition class. The project asked students to write where they thought they might be in five years. “I opened the letter and could not believe what I was reading,” Johnson said. “The letter said how I wanted to own a successful salon in downtown Rockford. God has truly blessed me and allowed all my dreams to come true.” Bangz Hair Salon is located at 17 […]

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