My Downtown: Betsy Couture

I remember a thriving downtown in the 1960s when my parents brought me as a young girl to Grohs Leather Shop for a leather jacket with the long fringe. When I moved to Elgin in 1978, downtown had become a mall, but I still enjoyed coming to Ackeman’s and Spiess department stores. It was fun to shop there because the sales people always remembered you. But then Spring Hill Mall opened, the stores moved out and downtown became empty.

In 1998, the Downtown Neighborhood Association along with other partners came to the rescue. I joined the cause immediately eager to assist in the revitalization efforts. Through the years we have seen businesses come and go, but more continue to come and downtown is changing constantly. Will it ever be the downtown of the watch factory days? I doubt it. But it will be a downtown for a new generation to enjoy.

When I drive down Douglas Avenue every morning and see the sun rising on the Tower Building, it is saying to us “I’m still here, I will thrive, and I will prosper again.”

That is my downtown.

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