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Year brought businesses, achievements to downtown St. Charles

ST. CHARLES – Lynne Schwartz of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership understands residents may not be aware of the changes to and achievements by the downtown community this year.

So her staff put together a 2012 year in review that highlights the business improvements, events, entertainment and recognition the downtown community experienced this year and the new businesses that moved in.

“If we don’t tell people, they may not know something is new or different,” Schwartz said. “There is so much going on.”

More than 17 new businesses opened in 2012, including La Vie Encore on Third Street, Treasure Broker on State Street, Wild Monk on First Street, Alibi Bar and Grill on Third Street and Chicago Turtle Factory, a sweet shop featuring popcorn and candy.

Other businesses included David Charles Salon, Spring Salon and Spa, Integrated Medical Options, Chicago Body and Chrome, Circa Vintage Gallery, Kryias Art Studio and Classical Atelier, Lighthouse Behavioral Health, Riverside Insurance Associates, InNetwork, Law Offices of Jotham S. Stein and NOVO: Renewing Joy in Life.

Michael Mertes, the city’s economic development coordinator, said he is happy to see diverse businesses in downtown. The offices add to the daytime population, he said.

“I’m happy with the additions we’ve had in the downtown this year,” he said. “It’s nice to see more and more spaces being filled.”

Next year, the city and partnership expect at least three more businesses to open downtown: Acquaviva Winery and growing franchises Biggby Coffee and Forever Yogurt.

“It’s exciting for St. Charles to be one of the very early destinations for those two franchises,” Mertes said.

The Downtown St. Charles Partnership noted these other highlights from 2012:

• The city awarded these facade grants: $5,950 to Bill Grossklag, owner of 201-203 W. Main St., to repair the metal cornice on the building; $11,400 to Doc Morgan of 108 S. 2nd St., for improvements to the entrance stairs; and $18,650 to Dave Gary, owner of 117 W. Main St., for storefront facade improvements.

• The first St. Charles Jazz Weekend was held in September.

• The Electric Christmas Parade drew a record 13,000 spectators.

• Claudia’s Closet was recently featured as the designer/clothing provider for a photo in “Italian Vogue.” The daughter of store owner Karla Sitko was featured in the photo.

• The Warehouse Antiques and Confectionery celebrated its 40th anniversary in St. Charles.

For the full 2012 year in review, visit

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