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.
DreamMaker showrooms, delicious food at networking by BETH ALTENA Bill and Jayne Wolf of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen know how to host a networking event. The September 12 Rockford Chamber After Hours held at the showrooms, 4658 West River Drive in Comstock Park, featured games for prizes and a Mini Taste of Rockford with samples from local restauranteurs and chefs. With a “treasure hunt” sheet directing visitors through the many showrooms at the DreamMaker building, Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) members learned about the options available for kitchen, bath, living and dining spaces and throughout the home. A large flatscreen showed examples of before and after projects completed by the builder and remodelers and show what a difference a new exterior can make on a home’s appearance. Food was provided by Twisted Vine, with owner Laura DeWilde offering her signature Cherry Peach Pumpkin Chili. The Grist Mill provided chicken wings that were a big hit, Herman’s Boy brought two smoked dips and crackers, and Polly VonEschen brought a large selection of her candy confections of Polly’s Passions. Jayne Wolf had cooked up a shrimp bisque that was amazing but, she noted, probably not a good food for those watching their weight. “You don’t want to know,” she said of the ingredients for the base. She admitted it involved cream cheese and milk. It was worth the calories anyway. RCC offers many opportunities for networking and business promotion throughout the year, as well as sponsoring such community-wide events as Harvest Fest, the Start of Summer Celebration and the annual Community Business Expo. Find out more by visiting the Chamber online at Rockfordmichamber.com, or in person at 598 Byrne Industrial Drive, Rockford. DreamMaker specializes in bath and kitchen design and remodeling. They can be found online at dreammakergr.com, in person at their showrooms, open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. You can also or call (616) 632-2284 to discuss options for your own home remodel. DreamMaker’s consultants can discuss all types of home improvements, from additions to basement remodel, master bedrooms, sunrooms and specialty rooms.
Owner will stay surprisingly near as Polly’s Passions by BETH ALTENA The Baskets in the Belfry famous chocolate fountain may be gone forever with the closing of Baskets, a Rockford icon of business, but owner Polly VonEschen and her candy business Polly’s Passions, will remain remarkably near. When Baskets’ doors close forever by the end of this month, Traci Webber of Grand Cakes will transition from her current Courtland Street location to 18 Bridge Street. There VonEschen will use the kitchen to create her amazing sea foam, toffee, peanut brittle, turtles and a wide variety of truffles. “Once I made the decision, it was a relief,” said VonEschen, taking care to point out that she is all right with the decision to close, although it is bitter sweet. VonEschen came to Rockford because of job transfer for her husband’s work. New in town, she first met Chi Chi Rogers, former mayor and city council member. Rogers begged VonEschen to put her name down as entertainment chair for the Start of Summer Celebration, claiming the work was all done and they simply needed a name on the form. VonEschen has been an organizer for Start of Summer ever since, and this is her 24th year. “They had me in charge of the entertainment, and the band for the dance tent was the German Oompahs,” VonEschen said. “I couldn’t leave and let them think I’d done that.” Turns out the German Oompahs, while amazing, aren’t the best choice for a dance tent band. VonEschen, like Baskets, is a fixture in Rockford, and extremely involved in the town, the business community and service groups. She is a Lion, is active in the Heart of Rockford merchants association, an organizer for the Girlfriends Staycation, has organized Think Pink, and been an organizer for Rockford’s Harvest Fest. She is a board member of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the Rockford Area Community Endowment (which brings the West Michigan Healing Fields to the area this year for an amazing 9/11 memorial), is on the Downtown Development board, and the Healing Fields board. Baskets was purchased from the store’s original owner, Paula Sedrowski, in 2005. “Paula was ready to retire and I wasn’t,” VonEschen said. She had worked in the business for […]