Shopping Small in Downtown Elgin

Elgin_Residents_GuideFrom Daily Herald’s Elgin Community Publication – 5/31/13


By Jason Pawlowski
DNA Managing Director

Big city amenities? Downtown Elgin has them. How about Gail Borden Public Library, The Centre of Elgin, The Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin Art Showcase, Festival Park, Grand Victoria Casino, a brand new riverwalk plus first class police, fire and public works departments?

Big time arts scene? Between the nationally acclaimed Elgin Symphony Orchestra, top flight performing arts venues hosting local theatre, music and dance groups, arts festivals, and a new residential artistic community in the Artspace Lofts, we’ve got you covered.

Big special events calendar including Elgin’s 4th Parade, Harvest Market, Art & Soul on the Fox, iFest, Nightmare on Chicago Street, and Window Wonderland.

For big social service resources, big city infrastructure, and big quality of life no one does it bigger.

Size does indeed matter. And in Elgin’s downtown smaller is better.

Downtown Elgin boasts nearly 200 businesses, including over 35 eateries and well over 75 shops and services.

From its founding, the image of the small business owner is indelibly engrained in every historic downtown façade down to very last brick. Walk our historic thoroughfares on any given day and see shop keepers sweeping out storefronts, toiling in the kitchen, or helping customers carry merchandise to their cars. That is the essence of small business. These are just some of the stories that make Downtown Elgin a small business community.

Ray Maxwell from Elgin Antiques & Uniques clearing off snow with his trusty snow blower not just from his front walkway but the entire block of Chicago Street.

Leo Urdaneta of Domani Café knowing how every one of his regulars takes their coffee.

Jerry Newman of Central Barber Shop shortening the ears of a third generation client.

Erin Rehberg and Tanner Melvin’s Side Street Studio Arts hitting the ground running by creating myriad community connections thru the arts in just a few short months.

Pete Shockey helping a lifelong customer’s granddaughter select the perfect engagement ring, with Andersen’s owner Dave Andersen customizing the wedding invitations.

Villa Verone’s namesake Pietro opening his “house” weekly to Elgin non-profits to help raise money and awareness for local causes.

Brothers Mike and Dan Butirro of Chooch’s Pizzeria transforming an historic building into downtown’s first riverfront restaurant in over 50 years.

Tom Creighton of On the Side Restaurant bringing breakfast back to the heart of downtown Elgin.

New faces such as Soulful Sparrow, Mr. Tequila’s, and IJORERE Atelier, or familiar faces in new spaces, including Danny’s Pizza, Elgin Books & Coffee, and Elgin Knit Works, are all making their mark on downtown’s shopping scene.

Rediscover Records’ Rich Wagner’s tweets, Retro-A-GoGo’s vintage seats, or AJ’s Feathered Friends’ parakeets are all a big part of downtown’s small fabric.

This year the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) is celebrating 15 years of downtown revitalization. We invite you not only to experience these and countless other success stories of our small business community but to help write the next chapters by shopping small in your downtown.

We HEART Downtown Elgin.