Kelly Washburn and Jeremy Durbin from Fayette County Real Estate will be hosting open houses at 1329 N. 6th St. and 1725 W. Randolph in Vandalia from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.
The September Chamber meeting is just a week away. Rep. Tom Cross (R-84th District) will be the guest speaker on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Cross is running for Illinois Treasurer and a big crowd is expected, so make sure to arrive early and get a seat in the Lincoln Room at Ponderosa Steakhouse for the noon meeting.
Operation Outing, a transportation service that helps people who can’t drive get to various events, is looking for voluntary drivers.
If you are interested, please call Wietse Schaafsma at MCS Counseling Services in Vandalia at (618) 283-2883.
In conjunction with our 100th anniversary, the Chamber is in the process of organizing at New Business Social Hour event to recognize new businesses in town and new key employees at businesses in town.
The event is tentatively scheduled for the evening of Oct. 9. If you have a new business in town or your business has new employees you'd like recognized, please call Seth at 618-283-2728 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Abe Lincoln impersonator will be at the Vandalia Statehouse from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 to discuss Lincoln's time in Vandalia.
The event will be sponsored by the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency. We'll post more details when they become available.
There are a pair of Red Cross blood drives coming up in Fayette County.
Vandalia Community Blood Drive, Sept. 16
Sponsored by the Rotary
12:00-6:00 at the Moose Lodge
Food will be provided for all presenting donors
Ramsey Community Blood Drive, Sept. 25
Sponsored by the Anderson Scroggins American Legion Post 460
2:00-7:00 at the Legion
Though ApexNetwork Physical Therapy is new to Vandalia, it is well established in our neck of the woods.
With 22 locations in south-central Illinois and the metro east, to go along with five Missouri locations, Apex’s wide variety of locations is just one reason to choose this month’s Vandalia Chamber of Commerce Spotlight Business to serve all of your physical, occupational and industrial therapy needs.
ApexNetwork also accepts a wide variety of insurance – 31 providers, to be exact – and offers a full range of therapy services.
ApexNetwork’s Vandalia branch, located at 1611 Veterans Ave Ste. C, offers physical therapy, sports rehab, industrial rehab, handy therapy, Graston technique and speech therapy services.
Experience and expertise are two more reasons to choose ApexNetwork. Vandalia clinic manager Teri Kampwerth earned her doctorate in physical therapy from Maryville University, St. Louis, and she recently attended the Graston Technique course M1 at St. Louis University and is now a preferred provider. The course has helped Teri to better understand and assist patients with scar and soft tissue mobilization.
Teri enjoys working with patients of all types, especially athletes from all sports. She has experience working the outpatient setting, as well as inpatient and long-term care settings with clinical affiliations.
Kampwerth became interested in physical therapy after seeing the quick recovery of her family members while in high school. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends and her pets. Her hobbies include rollerblading, tennis and being outdoors.
Those who choose ApexNetwork Physical Therapy can count on getting an initial evaluation scheduled within 24 hours, and the pre-certification process will be handled by ApexNetwork. You can also expect on stateof- the-art facilities with a work-hardening area and weekly updates on patient progress.
Apex Network has been a work-comp specialist since 1997, as its therapists are trained to treat and manage work-comp injuries, utilizing the successful and unique Apex Comprehensive Occupational Management and Prevention model for individuals suffering from work-related injuries.
Apex uses licensed therapists specifically trained in industrial rehabilitation to customize an aggressive therapy program, including work conditioning and work hardening, if necessary.
For more information, call 618-283-9040 or visit www.apexnetworkpt.com.
Want to be a Chamber Spotlight Business? Be sure to attend the next Chamber meeting and drop your
business card in the cardboard box near the entrance. The winner will be drawn following the meeting.
NOTE: This is the second in a series of stories that will feature longtime
Vandalia businesses in conjunction with the Chamber’s 100th anniversary.
By Seth Whitehead
Chamber Executive Director
It’s quite fitting that Allen’s Furniture Company sits just across the street from the Vandalia Statehouse and the Madonna of the Trails statue.
Like those historic landmarks, the store is a Vandalia fixture.
Allen’s has been providing quality furniture to the Vandalia area since Sam and Jeanette Allen opened the business in 1932. The store moved to its current location on the corner of Fourth and Gallatin streets in 1936, and Sam remodeled the building to include its distinct two-level loft showroom in 1947.
Daughter Lorraine now manages the longtime family-owned store, and she doesn’t hesitate when asked what has been the key to the businesses’ eight-decade run.
“We sell good, durable quality furniture and we stand behind what we sell,” Lorraine said. “That’s why we’re still in business.”
Allen’s offers top-of-the-line brands such as La-Z-Boy and Flexsteel and it has routinely been voted the area’s furniture store in the Leader-Union’s “Best of Fayette County” poll, including the 2014 survey.
“Our business is unique because of our dependability, stability and service over the years,” Lorraine said.
Lorraine and sister Rita Mae began helping their mother run the store following their father’s passing in 1950 and later returned after retiring from teaching careers to operate the store.
They have carried on their father’s business philosophy.
“We want to do anything to satisfy our customers,” Lorraine said. “That was my dad’s way of doing business and we’re carrying it on.”
The business overcame its biggest challenge in 2010 after lightning struck the building, sparking a fire that destroyed three floors of furniture.
“It was terrible,” Lorraine recalls.
But Allen’s Furniture after briefly closing in order to clear out the showroom and repair the building, the store has soldiered on.
Allen’s inventory includes sofas, loveseats, reclining sofas, recliners and much more. The staff consists of bookkeeper Ruth Ann Summers, salesman/truck driver Steve Adams, salesman Marion Torbeck and truck driver Brian Sapp. Customer service is the entire staff’s top priority.
“We want to take care of our customers and we take care of anything that isn’t correct,” Lorraine said. “And we have very good merchandise. We have the best.”
Allen’s Furniture is located at 330 W. Gallatin St. Contact Lorraine and the staff at 618-283-0123.
After 80-plus years in business, Allen’s Furniture expects to be going strong for many more years to come.
Priority Staffing Group in Vandalia would like to announce a pair of job openings in the area...
Pinnacle Foods in St. Elmo is looking to hire for a maintenance/mechanic position. The position will pay $21.36 an hour.
There are a pair of openings in Centralia. One is an administrative assistant position ($12.14 and hour) and a production position ($9 per hour to start, and $10 an hour after 90 days w/benefits).
For more information, call Priority Staffing Group at 618-283-9533 or stop by their office at 1442 N. 8th St.
By Seth Whitehead
Chamber Executive Director
Money and resources.
You have to have plenty of both to make a business work, but you can’t get the latter without the former.
It’s a common conundrum for upstart and fledgling businesses. But for those who fit that description in the Vandalia area, help is on the way.
Kaskaskia College Small Business Development Center Director Steve Groner shared details of the school’s business incubator program during his presentation at the Aug. 6 Vandalia Chamber of Commerce monthly members meeting.
Business incubators are basically highly affordable, fully-loaded, 120-square foot offices that can be rented by businesses that qualify. That rent includes a desk and chairs, a desktop PC with internet access, an inkjet printer, a phone with voicemail, a four-drawer locking file cabinet, a bookcase, two-drawer lateral/locking files, utilities and access to conference rooms, classrooms and training facilities.
KC has also paid for copies and long distance calls at its existing incubators, even though it isn’t obligated to. Tenants have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to the facility and get their own keys and security codes.
Rent is just $120 to $125 per month.
“It’s not meant to be a profit-making venture (for the college),” Groner said. “It’s actually meant to be something that is beneficial to the startup business community. For a small business owner it’s meant to not add stress to their life.”
Three such incubators will be available in Vandalia once the Phase II extension of the KC Vandalia Campus is completed. Construction will begin as soon as the state kicks in its financial obligation for the project.
There are two requirements for businesses interested in renting an incubator. First, they need to meet with Groner. Second, the prospective tenant must have a business plan. A written plan is preferred, but a verbal plan will suffice unless it is determined to be a questionable endeavor.
“The idea of that is to make sure it’s a good fit for where that person is in the development of their idea and the expansion of their business,” Groner said.
Groner said good fits for the incubators include: financial service companies, part-time attorneys, family counseling services, accountants, manufacturing reps for product lines and computer service firms.
Groner indicated the incubators are ideal for those looking to move their business out of their homes.
“If the noise, distractions and space just aren’t working out for them, that’s a perfect time to come to us,” Groner said.
The goal is for businesses to be self-sufficient enough to leave the incubator program in two years, although exceptions are made based on economic conditions.
Non-profit organizations are not eligible to participate.
“I feel very strongly about helping those organizations,” Groner said. “But by college rules the incubators are for businesses that are trying to make a profit.”
For more information, call Groner at 618-545-3260 or email him at email@example.com.
In other business:
• Chamber president Brock Brannon announced plans to print a 100th Anniversary Vandalia Chamber of Commerce cookbook. The book will include recipes from current Chamber members and their families, current Chamber employees and their families, past Abe Award winners and their families, and past Chamber presidents and their families. Recipe submission forms are available at www.vandaliachamber.org and are due by Aug. 25.
• Brannon announced plans to team up with WKRV/WPMB for a “shop local” promotion in November.
• Brannon announced that the New Business Breakfast event once hosted by the Chamber would be changed to an evening event at the country club and be more of a social hour. The event is tentatively planned to be held in the late fall.
• Brannon asked the crowd for any suggestions for the annual Chamber banquet, which will be held Jan. 29.
• Chamber Director Seth Whitehead welcomed new members OCD Cleaning Services and Pro-Comp Case Management.
• Brannon gave a special thanks to Sally Emerick and Holiday Inn Express for sending their landscaper out to the Chamber building to do extensive work prior to the Illinois Tourism Commission’s visit to Vandalia.
• Tourism Secretary June Mahon reported that 284 visited the tourism center in July, representing 23 states and two foreign countries, Israel and Chile.
• Brannon reminded members that State Rep. and candidate for Illinois treasurer Tom Cross will be the guest speaker at the next Chamber meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3.