Business of the Month 2020
Business: First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago
Congratulations to First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago for Business of the Month for November!
The First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago has been blessed by God to serve the people and community of Winnebago for more than 150 years. Their first church building was constructed in 1868. As attendance grew, there became a need for more space for worship services and Sunday School classes. A new brick church was constructed in 1914 on the same site as the old church. Due to continued growth more space was needed, therefore, the Christian Education wing was added to the church and dedicated in 1954!
Business: Party Decorators Plus
The Winnebago Area Chamber October Business of the Month is Party Decorators Plus! Elizabeth Johnson-Lovett and Heather Dunaway love to decorate for family and friend’s parties and events. When a friend asked Elizabeth and Heather to decorate for a wedding and reception, Elizabeth and Heather decided to start Party Decorators Plus. They have decorated for children’s themed birthday parties, adult birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, Christenings, First Communion parties, church events, business events, retirement parties, weddings and receptions. Please visit Party Decorators Plus Facebook page to see a sampling of the events/parties they have decorated: https://www.facebook.com/Party-Decorators-Plus-1478488732172126
Business: Winnebago Public Library
We are pleased to announce that the Winnebago Public Library is our Business of the Month! Their mission is to enrich and empower residents by providing access to information, ideas and recreation through a variety of well-organized resources and services that evolve with the changing needs of the community. The library supports residents through programming by providing a gathering place and by working cooperatively throughout the community.
Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire
Winnebago Public Library District
- When was the library established?
The idea for a library was introduced at a Senior Woman’s Club in November of 1945. Many years later with the help of the community (and grants), the library would open its doors to our current building location in 1989.
- What are you doing during this pandemic to still be of service to the public but keeping everyone safe and healthy?
Our priority is to ensure the safety of both patrons and staff. The library monitors recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and local health authorities. We are using that information to inform our reopening plans, but we will do so in phases.
The library is open. We’ve been opening in stages and slowly expanding our hours and services. August 1st we started to offer the use of our fax machine, computers, and copier by appointment. All patron computers were updated during the pandemic.
At the beginning of the pandemic although the library building itself was closed our website was uploaded with free online services and books available digitally. We continue to offer ebooks through Overdrive. Patrons can download the Libby app off their electronic device and with their library card number and a password log on and check out digital library books. If you’d like to get hands-on experience but do not own a digital device the library will start offering Ipads for checkout use in the library starting in September.
We’re also working to provide our online card catalog again on our website.
Business: Severson Dells Nature Center
Congratulations to Severson Dells Nature Center for Business of the Month for August!
We are pleased to announce that Severson Dells Nature Center is our August Business of the Month! Their mission is to link people to nature through education and research, in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin area and promote awareness of the natural world, fostering respect, enjoyment, and preservation now and in the future.
Business: Reflections Hair Salon & Spa
Congratulations to Reflections Hair Salon & Spa for Business of the Month for July!
During the COVID shutdown, Reflections underwent an extreme makeover. The entire reception/waiting area/retail space is different and the brand new shelves are full of amazing products. Whether you’re in need of an appointment, products, or just want to say “hey” – give them a call!
Reflections Hair Salon & Spa was established in 2003. They moved to their downtown Winnebago location – 112 S Benton Street – ten years ago. They are a full-service salon and spa. They specialize in goldwell cut and color techniques and attend regular training classes with goldwell educators.
Their spa utilizes the exclusive eminence organic skincare line. It is an aromatic, results-oriented experience for all skin types.
At Reflections, they strive to provide each customer with the best experience and professional service at an affordable price. They continually look for best-of-the-best products and services to bring to their clients. From hair care to total body care, it is their mission to pamper and rejuvenate each person who enters their doors.
Business: Winnebago School District
Winnebago CUSD #323 is located in the Village of Winnebago and services students from five rural communities with an enrollment of 1,380.
Students and families from Burritt, Rockford, and Winnebago Township as well as from the Villages of Winnebago and Seward are part of our education family.
Winnebago CUSD #323 is a PreK-12 grade district that provides comprehensive, strong core academic programs. The district is comprised of one high school, one middle school, and two elementary schools.
The Winnebago mascot, the Winnebago Indian, is a copyrighted mascot that was researched and drawn by local artist Tom Heflin.
Dorothy Simon Elementary hosts PreK- 2nd grade students
Jean McNair Elementary hosts 3rd – 5th grade students
Winnebago Middle School hosts 6th – 8th grade students
Winnebago High School host 9th – 12th grade students
The Winnebago School District Office is located inside Jean McNair Elementary
at 304 E. McNair Rd., Winnebago.
The Winnebago School Board meets the Third Monday of the month at 6 p.m in the Jean McNair Library. Public is welcome.
School Board Members are:
Christopher Schoeneweiss – President
Nichole Smith – Vice-President
Elizabeth Johnson-Lovett – Secretary
Michael Rossol – Treasurer
Jamie Gray – Board Member
Wendy Schneider – Board Member
Dennis Daly – Board Member
More School Board Information Here
Winnebago District #323 is an equal opportunity employer. Discrimination in employment practices on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, handicap or veteran status is prohibited.
Although the last two months have been challenging for our teachers, staff, and community, I continue to be impressed by our resiliency and the adaptive skills of our staff, students, and parents. As Superintendent of the District, I greatly appreciate the ongoing support and partnership between our District and community.
– John Schwuchow, Ph.D., Winnebago CUSD #323 Superintendent
Business: Winnebago Animal Clinic
Congratulations to Winnebago Animal Clinic for Business of the Month for April!
Winnebago Animal Clinic has been in existence since 1946. While the building, clinic name and owners have changed the dedication to our clients and community have not wavered. We are honored to be a part of this community, serving so many of the people and their furry family members.
Winnebago Animal Clinic, located in Winnebago, Illinois, is dedicated to providing quality, friendly veterinary care to the dogs and cats of Winnebago County. Each veterinarian and team member loves animals as much as their customers do and are deeply committed to the health and well being of your pet.
Professional affiliations include; American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA), Greater Rockford Veterinary Medical Association (GRVMA) and Village of Winnebago Chamber of Commerce.
Clinic History Winnebago Animal Clinic celebrated its 70th year of veterinary service in 2016. Dr. Paul T. Gambrel founded the clinic in 1946 primarily as a food animal practice. His father Dr. Earl T. Gambrel an equine practitioner from Byron joined him soon after. In 1955 Dr. Gene Gambrel joined the practice. Dr. Gene expanded the practices development in the area of companion animal practice. Dr. Dave Tanaglia worked in the practice as a veterinary student thru his first year as a graduate veterinarian in the late 70’s.
In 2000 Dr. Tanaglia purchased the Gambrel Animal Clinic as part of a 4-clinic practice group. Shortly thereafter an extensive remodeling of the building took place. The lobby, exam rooms, and treatment areas were expanded and upgraded. The old boarding facility was completely demolished and a brand new spacious climate controlled facility was built. At the same time, Dr. Jared Williams joined the 4-clinic practice. With Dr. Gene Gambrel’s retirement in 2005 after 50 years of veterinary practice, Dr. Jared became the primary veterinarian at the Winnebago practice. In 2008 the Winnebago Animal Clinic became a separate entity again with Dr. Dave Tanaglia and Dr. Jared Williams as partners. The clinic continues to go through renovations with upgrades in diagnostics services, digital x-ray, surgical monitors and structural upgrades.
The Staff would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Jared Williams for all his hard work in taking such great care of us during this unprecedented time. When things got serious in March, Dr. Jared made sure our most susceptible staff members took time off to be at home and stay safe. We adjusted our hours during that time to protect the rest of our staff and still try to serve our clients. That was a trying couple of weeks. We have since returned to our regular hours and are operating with all our staff. Our faithful community provided us with masks (Shout out to Beth Cote and her sewing warriors!) and with a curbside service method we are back to a new “normal” practice. Dr. Jared has been our constant through all of this. He is here more hours than any of us and stays long after the clinic closes. We are all so thankful to be able to work and support our families throughout this time. We are aware that would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Dr. Jared. We hope you know how much you are appreciated.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, The Staff at Winnebago Animal Clinic
Business: Crossroads Community Church of Winnebago
Congratulations to Crossroads Community Church of Winnebago for Business of the Month for March!
“It’s not by accident that you are here. And it won’t take you long to discover that we at Crossroads Community Church are truly a family, rich in the relationships that matter most. We aim to help each other succeed in the journey of life. We are real people worshiping a real God. We serve, we laugh, we cry, we worship, we learn, and we reach out to our world with life-transforming truth. We reach out to you as well. Our doors are open. Our hearts are open, too, and we’re eager to know you. If you’ve been thinking, praying, searching or hoping for a place to belong, we say again – welcome home. Please join us this Sunday morning at 10:00 AM for our weekend celebration.” -Crossroads Community Church
Join Crossroads community Church in celebrating the Grand Opening of their new building!!!!
Business: Middle Creek Presbyterian Church
Congratulations to Middle Creek Presbyterian Church for Business of the Month for February!
The history of Middle Creek Presbyterian Church began when a group of Presbyterian families from Perry County, Pennsylvania, settled in this area. They desired a church near their homes, and on June 24, 1855, a preaching service was held. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered and a church with 16 charter members was formed.
The name “Middle Creek” was selected the same day of the first service. The charter members of Middle Creek had previously attended the church in Millerstown, PA. In the country near Millerstown was the old Middle Ridge Church and burying ground. The name “Middle Ridge” was considered as a reminder of their former life, but there were no ridges here, only three creeks. Since the church was organized near the middle of the three, the name “Middle Creek” was chosen instead.
Our seventh and current installed pastor is Reverend Anita Stuart-Steva. Yet another former Pennsylvanian, Pastor Anita came to Middle Creek in December 2004, and was installed on February 13, 2005. Music is a very influential part of Pastor Anita’s life, and it definitely shows during worship on Sundays. Middle Creek has been blessed with her enthusiastic worship style and looks forward to many years with Pastor Anita and her husband Patrick here at Middle Creek.
Business: Cunningham Construction
Owner/Operator: Cunningham Family
Congratulations to Cunningham Construction for Business of the Month for January!
The history of Cunningham Construction goes back over 50 years. Robert Cunningham began doing carpentry work in conjunction with his hardware store in Winnebago, Illinois in the 1940’s. His sons, Warren and Raymond, joined him after they served in the military service in the 1950’s. Together they built many of the homes and farm buildings around rural Winnebago. Bob and his sons were well known for their quality work and attention to detail. Each job was completed from start to finish by Cunningham Construction; from the foundation and rough framing to the cabinets and trim, they did it all.
Today Bob’s sons, grandsons and great-grandsons are carrying on the Cunningham tradition of quality craftsmanship. Each hopes to continue to bring this quality service to you well into the future. Bob’s grandson, Guy, has been around construction all of his life, working in both commercial and residential. In 1994 his wife, Darla, joined him in the office of Cunningham Construction. Her experience in office management has helped Cunningham Construction become what it is today. She communicates on a daily basis with the customers and subcontractors and passes this information onto Guy on the job site. Guy works on the job site to make sure the job is done to the customers satisfaction. Cunningham Construction has been around for over 50 years and we plan to be here for another 50.
Business: Winnebago Preschool
Owner/Operator: Mrs. Tina
Congratulations to Winnebago Preschool for Business of the Month for December!
The Winnebago Preschool has been around for over 30 years. It was established in 1987, by a group of parents that wanted to make sure there was preschool available for their children in Winnebago area. We are a non-for-profit business. Our purpose is to provide opportunities for the growth of each child in the areas of social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Each child is an individual and will be encouraged to progress at their own rate. We accept any child between the ages of 3 to 6, and you do not need to live in the Winnebago School district. We offer a three- year-old class which meets on Tuesdays and Fridays and a four- year-old class which meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Our Staff is made up of Mrs. Tina- who is the director/teacher and has worked at the preschool for over 20 years and Mrs. Tori- who is the aide and is on her second year with the preschool. One of our biggest fundraisers- Breakfast with Santa, is coming up on Saturday, December 14th from 8 to 11 at New Life Church. We will have pictures with Santa, continental breakfast, children’s raffle, children’s games, vendors and adult raffle. If you would like more information, please feel free to call Winnebago Preschool at 815-335-7445 or email at email@example.com or visit us at winnebagopreschool.com!
Business: Reflections Salon & Spa
Congratulations to Reflections Salon & Spa for Business of the Month for November!
“Reflections Hair Salon began in my home, in Pecatonica, in 2005. An opportunity presented itself that I couldn’t refuse. I purchased my building from a family friend, and was thrilled to put my spin on the place. I’m so thankful to the community for supporting Reflections over the years! I’ve watched my business grow into a fully operating salon and SPA! Having my business in Winnebago inspired me to buy my home here, and raise my family! Though my goals are constantly changing, I feel my main goal is keeping up on education. In this industry, if you can’t provide the latest trends and techniques, you become irrelevant, and Reflections will never be that! To say that I love my job and running my business is an understatement. I’m blessed to have 5 hair stylists, 2 nail technicians, and an esthetician. Most recently, Tricia, our esthetician completed massage school, and now is a licensed Massage Therapist! I’m beyond excited to add massage back to our service offerings! Tricia is trained in various techniques and can’t wait to dig her hands (literally) into her newest adventure.” -Megan Sisler
Be on the lookout for new Fall specials & add-ons that will be available in November!
Business: NITE Equipment
Owner/Operator: Jim & Jenny Sacia
Congratulations to NITE Equipment for Business of the Month for October!
“We are long- time residents and members of the Winnebago and Pecatonica communities. We moved to our present home in the Winnebago School district in 1972. Our business developed from Jim’s farming background and love of tractors, farm equipment, and cars and trucks. Jenny always had to answer the phone calls on items Jim would buy and then advertise in the papers. His sons have followed his footsteps with the oldest, Jerry, and youngest, Jesse, building and growing the business after each graduated from college.
We incorporated in 1997 and are now employing 13 fine fulltime employees. Our first goal at NITE is to provide a variety of products accompanied with excellent service. It is an on-going challenge to keep up with technology and daily tasks involved in running a business. An equal goal for us as owners is to provide very good salaries and benefits to our family of employees.
Raising horses and working on tractors has been a part of our life here from the beginning. That is what brought us to our little farm between Pecatonica and Winnebago. Jim loved to restore old tractors and Jerry is very involved in the tractor pulling world. We hold consignment auctions giving the public an opportunity to buy or sell items they need or need to get rid of. Hopefully the taxes generated by every business are an asset to all communities.
Nite cherishes the joy of many friendships and business relationships built over these 22 years at our present location and the 20 years before at our original location at our home.
The mission of NITE Equipment is to provide competitively priced new and used trailers, trucks, farm tractors and implements, heavy construction equipment, and related accessories and services in an honest and professional manner.
Business: Sullivans Foods
Owner/Operator: John Sullivan
Congratulations Sullivans Foods, here is Seth Holmgren (Ace Hardware Manager) Bob Miller (Store Manager) and Craig Engelbarts (Store Assistant Manager) being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of September!
Sullivans Foods is a family owned and operated grocery retail business that was started in 1967 by John & June Sullivan. John Sullivan married June in 1959 and then went off to serve in the United States Army. While serving in the army he took a part-time job as a meat cutter. After his military service, John and June returned for a short time to John’s hometown, Stockton, Illinois where he became a full-time meat cutter. Then they moved to Platteville, Wisconsin, where John worked for another grocery store.
During his seven years in Platteville he learned more of the meat cutting trade and other valuable tools for success. Most significant was how important it is to be fair to your employees, vendors, and customers. In September of 1967 John and June moved to Savanna, Illinois where they decided to purchase their own grocery store. For a short time in the beginning he had a partner and eventually ended up buying his share out and then built a new store – tearing down the older structure to make room for a larger parking lot. The Savanna location became a success so in 1973 they expanded their business with an additional store located in John’s hometown, Stockton, Illinois. Keeping up with the ever growing market, John and June ventured out in 1978 and purchased two more locations, then in 1980 they increased their stores again with the purchase of another two locations. They now own and operate 11 locations in Northern and Central Illinois.
In addition to building his successful grocery chain, John and June were also raising six children Kathryn, Scott, Bryan, Susan, Mike, and Julie; all of whom followed in Dad and Moms footsteps and are a part of the company. Each of them started off either as a cashier, meat cutter, or stocker and now help run the company. Today, John is still the CEO, Scott Sullivan is the President, Kathryn Christensen is the Vice President of Human Resources, Bryan Sullivan is the Vice President of Advertising, Susan Sullivan-Dauphin is the Property manager, Mike Sullivan is Vice President of IT, and Julie Sullivan-Mensendike is General Merchandise Manager as well as being a teacher.
Business of the Month 2019
Business: The Brauer Barn
Owner/Operator: Jason & Molly Brauer
Congratulations to Jason and Molly Brauer owner of The Brauer, here is Molly being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of August! Jason and Molly Brauer are the owners of The Brauer Barn; they renovated the barn for their own wedding in 2016. When they decided to renovate it they had no intentions to rent it out until they saw the excitement from the community and surrounding area about it. Once they knew they had the support of the community behind them they decided to turn it in to a venue that allowed others to plan their dream weddings, host all types of events, or be used for photographs. The Barn operates from April to November, due to not having heat or air conditioning, allowing the barn to stay in its original form and give families a true barn and rustic feel. Both Jason and Molly were both raised in Winnebago, graduated from Winnebago High School, and still have family ties in the area. They love the idea of having an event center in their hometown to support local businesses and families. The Barn has been in the Brauer Family since 1906, Jason and Molly are the 5th generation to own it. This past year the Barn was recognized as being a Centennial Farm. When Jason and Molly are not working at their full time jobs or doing events in the barn they enjoy spending time with their children: Parker, Landon, Everly and Kora, family and friends.
Jill Gettle ; Molly Brauer
Business: Mary K Gottman Embroidery
Owner/Operator: Mary Gottman
Congratulations to Mary Gottman owner of Mary K. Gottman Embroidery, here is Mary being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of July!
Mary Gottman is the owner of Mary K. Gottman Embroidery. Mary and her husband moved to thier current address twenty-five years ago while all of her children went to school in Winnebago, IL. Mary Gottman started her business in 2004 when she purchased her first commercial embroidery machine, at this time she was only doing embroidery and clothing alterations. In 2011, she purchased three more commercial embroidery machines, a vinyl cutter, and a heat press from the previous business in Winnebago. Mary decoration offerings are embroidery, heat transfer vinyl, rhinestones, vinyl decals, sublimation, patches and recently she added glitter spangle decoration. Along with all the machines, she has a lot of business coming in from Winnebago. Mary has enjoyed servicing the Winnebago School District but in the last two and a half years she has started receiving work from other areas. Mary’s goal is to grow her business and eventually she would like to hire outside help to give her more time for designing. When she is not working in her business, she enjoys gardening/yard work and reading, along with one day a week she babysit her beautiful 3-year-old granddaughter!
Jill Gettle ; Mary Gottman
Business: Cimino’s, Winnebago
Owner/Operator: Vince Cimino
Congratulations to Vince Cimino owner of Cimino’s in Winnebago, here is Vince being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of June! Cimino’s has been family owned and operated since the early 70’s, by Frank Cimino. Vince has grown up in the restaurant industry, and is where he is today because he has a passion for what he does. Stop by Cimino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria to experience the incredible flavor of their pizzas, sandwiches, fresh salads, pasta dishes, and desserts. Did you know Cimino’s has recently started selling draft beer, and is working on serving a full bar!
Jill Gettle ; Vince Cimino
Business: The Post, Winnebago
Owner/Operator: Tom and Michele McDonald
Congratulations to Tom and Michele McDonald owner of The Post here in Winnebago, here is Heather Roach (Bartender at The Post) being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of May! The Post Sports Bar & Grill, located at 119 South Benton Street, Winnebago, IL opened March 2019. They are the first bar in over 100 years to serve beer and cocktails in the downtown district. The Post is owned/operated by Tom and Michele McDonald. Offering a full menu with a variety of burgers, wings, tacos, Irish Nachos, onion rings and specials coming soon. There is a full bar with six beers on tap, seven big screen TV’s to catch all of your favorite sports, darts, and a jukebox!
Jill Gettle ; Heather Roach
Business: Garden Arts, Winnebago
Owner/Operator: Shirley Crawford
Congratulations to Shirley Crawford owner of Garden Arts here in Winnebago, Shirley is being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the month of April! Shirley opened her doors on July 8th, 1989 and will be celebrating her 30 year anniversary this July bringing over 40 years of experience to the community. In almost 30 years Garden Arts has touched our lives somehow whether it being a special occasion, anniversary, birthday, wedding, funeral, or just because someone wanted to brighten up your day! You continuously see Garden Arts at community events from center pieces at the Awards Night Dinner held by the Chamber, or stopping in to a local business to drop off some of their fresh cut flowers. Needless to say that Shirley gives back to this community in more ways than can be counted. Congratulations again Shirley, and thank you for all you do!
Shirley Crawford ; Jill Gettle
Business: COUNTRY Financial
Owner/Operator: Erica Kielty
Congratulations to Erica Kielty with COUNTRY Financial Insurance, she is being presented Business of the Month by the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce for the month of March. Erica has recently taken over COUNTRY Financial here in Winnebago, in her short time here she has already done so much for the community. Stop in her office at, 102 N Elida Ste C today if you are in the market for Auto/Home/Life/Business/Retirement insurance!
Jill Gettle ; Erica Kielty