May 19 2011

Rockford artist celebrates milestone anniversary

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Sally Charnley has seen many businesses come and go, and business owners along with them, in her 35 years working in downtown Rockford. She never intended to start a store of her own back then and, ironically, having two was part of her key to success. Charnley has given up The Candle Shop and Burlap-N-Rags to her daughter and her husband, Meg and Charlie Frantz, but she still keeps a hand in her craft, holding a monthly rug-hooking hook-in. Divas-by-the-Dam meets the third Monday of the month in the upstairs room at Arnie’s, and a good dozen people talk about technique and style as they work at projects with rich roots in American history. Rug hooking is a craft at which Charnley is gifted, and she certainly can claim a wealth of experience. This May, Charnley celebrated her 35th year as a Rockford professional, a feat few can claim. “I had no intention of starting a business,” Charnley said. She came to town to get a piece of red glass from Gayle’s Stained Glass, back in the day when Rockford was a “mecca for arts and crafts.” She found a small shop for rent in The Grainery building, now long gone, but would not have had the courage to open a store alone. She decided to give it a go because Betty Szyszko, who worked with Charnley for the Grand Rapids Recreation Dept., and her husband, Gerry, a teacher, potter and macrame artist, agreed to share the tiny store. That gave her encouragement. Surrounded by other artists—those working in glass, pottery, weaving, leather, quilting and watercolors—Charnley grew her rug-hooking business. In 1980 she bought a building that had been The Village Munchies, an ice cream shop, and moved in at 52 Courtland Street. Soon after, The Candle Shop, started by Dorothy Anglin in 1973, moved in to share the building. Dorothy made candles, taught candlemaking, and stayed with the Charnleys until 1985, when she retired and sold her business to Sally and Pete. Charnley remembers the day a woman popped her head in the door and asked, “Don’t you have a basket shop in town?” It was Paula (then Mikulak) who opened Baskets in the Belfry, literally in a belfry. She took up most of the […]

Goodwill announces grand opening of Rockford store

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Marks second LEED certified Goodwill store in Michigan Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids Inc. will celebrate the grand opening of its second LEED Certified retail store in Rockford on Saturday, May 21 at 9:00 a.m. This marks the second Goodwill Store in Michigan to be LEED Certified and is the 15th retail store for the Grand Rapids organization. The new store is located at 8390 Belmont Avenue at 10 Mile Road. “We are excited to bring a new shopping experience to the Rockford community,” said Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Jill Wallace. “At a time when consumers are feeling a hit with the economy, we are glad to provide another affordable and fashionable shopping option.” The Rockford Goodwill Store features a similar design to the Standale Store that opened in December 2009. The build-out with Pinnacle Construction Group followed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) commissioned components. Guidelines were followed in building products, energy usage, water usage, and more to earn the certification. “In addition to the LEED certification being environmentally conscious, this Goodwill Store is important to supporting our mission,” said Wallace. “Revenues from our retail stores help fund our 20-plus training programs for individuals with barriers to employment.” Last year, employment services were provided to over 4,000 people, and over 1,300 individuals were placed into local employment. Now more than ever, Goodwill is in need of donations to support its 15 retail locations. With mission based programs of assisting people with barriers to employment through job training and placement, the call for donations is great.  

Tale of trust in strangers an inspiration

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Only in West Michigan—a morality tale by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last Saturday tickets to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Summer Concert Series went on sale to the general public. Even though five popular acts on this year’s bill have already sold out to Meijer Gardens Members, good tickets still remain for 17 other scheduled shows. There is no such thing as a bad seat location at the beautiful outdoor Meijer Gardens concert venue. Being Meijer Gardens members, we were able to take advantage of a special two-week presale available to Gardens members only. So two weeks ago, Saturday morning, April 30, we found ourselves in line at the Gardens’ front door entrance at 7:45 a.m. Tickets were to go on sale at 9 a.m. and we wanted a good shot at securing two tickets to the June 26 performance of Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers. Everyone knows Martin for his comedic ability, but he is also an award-winning banjo player. Now when we entered the line that morning, there were already at least 200 people ahead of us. They had arrived, apparently, at the crack of dawn as the Gardens’ gates opened! Why did we do this? We also knew that phone orders would begin being accepted also at 9 a.m., but past experience had told us it was difficult to get through on jammed phone lines. We thought our chances would be better in person. So apparently did hundreds more, who found themselves in an ever-lengthening line that reached upwards of 1,000 eager ticket buyers, that morning, by the time ticket sales commenced. As the line slowly inched forward, it didn’t take long for us to realize that we’d be spending a good deal of the morning attempting to score a pair of Steve Martin concert tickets. From the buzz around us, we soon came to the conclusion we weren’t the only ones seeking the very same tickets. After about 45 minutes, Meijer Gardens’ volunteers began circulating down the line telling everyone that the Martin ticket sales were very brisk and if we had our cell phones, we might want to try to secure tickets over the phone. Many in line around us, including ourselves, began to do just that. […]

Fashion show a sold out success for Sassy Pants Boutique

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

photos courtesy of Trudy Holtz Photography Sassy Pants Boutique owner Lynette TenBrink likes working with other downtown shop owners and a recent fashionshow she put on featuring her clothing and accessory items was a good example of team spirit. Held at Reds on the River with desserts catered by the same, the Sassy Pants fashion  show featured flowers by Flower Garden  Floral and a fruit  tray from Twisted Vine. Christine Gualt from A Charmed Life Salon donated finger and toenail painting to make the day a luxurious one, Polly VonEschen supplied her delicious truffles and Sweet Tooth provided complimentary bags of caramel corn for visitors as they left. “It was just wonderful,” TenBrink said of the first-time event for the boutique. Her business has been booming since she opened in downtown Rockford and the shop recently relocated to a roomier space at 51-1/2 E. Bridge Street. Models ranged in age from two months to 12 years in age and in addition to plenty of cool outfits and classy combinations of clothes, visitors were entered into drawings for prizes and gift certificates. “It was sold out before the event. Everything went so well I couldn’t be more thrilled,” TenBrink said. The store features fun and funky yet sweet and girly clothing from infant through size 16 as well as a line of baby gifts. The boutique can  be visited online at or on facebook.    

Annual arts show highlights local talent

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rogue River Artist Association held its annual Spring Sale and Show on Saturday, April 30 at the Rockford United Methodist Church in downtown Rockford. There were thirteen participating artists displaying watercolor paintings, oils, acrylics, fabric arts and hand-crafted cement bird baths. A nice flow of shoppers enjoyed the displays throughout the day. Light refreshments and home-made goodies were available. Look for this talented group of individuals and their works at their next event, the Start of Summer with artists working at Herman’s Boy, and the annual Garden Art Show July 9 at 9620 Summit Avenue in Rockford. For artists that would like to consider becoming part of this friendly organization, feel free to sit in on meetings the second Tuesday of the month at the Rockford D&W in the upstairs dining area (stairs or elevator near the east entrance of the store). For more information contact Lila Harmon at (616) 866-0523 or email  

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