Saturday, March 29, 2008

New things are sprouting up all over downtown Elgin

The birds are chirping. The squirrels are frolicking. And the construction workers have come out of hibernation.

Spring is in the air in downtown Elgin.

OK, it doesn't really feel like spring. But the new businesses sprouting up throughout downtown are a good sign.

Those of you who read my column regularly (all five of you, thank you) have heard me rave about the new Italian restaurant, Villa Verone. If you haven't tried it yet, go on a Thursday night and stay for the live jazz entertainment. And if you stay late enough, you may even get to hear owner Pietro sing Sinatra.

Hand & Sole Nail Spa is now open for business at 19 N. State St. Owner Janet Schmoyer is a longtime downtown neighbor, having worked at The Razor's Edge for many years. Janet also is a very active volunteer with the Downtown Neighborhood Association. She serves on four committees -- and she gives a heck of a pedicure.

Coming soon to downtown is The Braiding House at 119 W. Chicago St. The Web site says it all: "There are days we feel beautiful and days we don't, and when we don't, we do something about it." I just love that. Stop in and see owners Cecile and Gislaine on one of those not-so-beautiful days.

Looking for video production services for your business or organization? D. Hudson Productions at 164 Division St. is a full-service video production company specializing in commercial and industrial videos for broadcast and Web. Owner Dave Hudson is great to work with, and I'm not saying that because we have the same last name.

In addition to new businesses, downtown also has some existing businesses that are trying some new things.

Elgin Public House at 217 E. Chicago St. now has live music a few times a month, usually on Friday nights. Bluesman Keith Scott quickly is becoming a downtown Elgin favorite.

Salon Couture at 167 E. Chicago St. has taken up the cause of promoting clean water for all during Earth Month in April. The salon is planning to raise at least $1,500 for the Alliance of Great Lakes through a variety of fundraisers.

Gasthaus Zur Linde is transitioning from its roots as a German restaurant to becoming more of a German pub with food and spirits and live music on the weekends. You will see some major changes to the pub's interior in the coming months.

If you are looking for a new networking scene, check out the DNA's Downtown Mixers. The first mixer will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 10 at Elgin Public House and is sponsored by Everyware Inc.

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