Downtown Sparkles with Gem Award Winners

The Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street annual meeting and awards night was held Monday, February 6, 2017 at Old Towne Hall.  Members and guests celebrated with a delicious dinner, music, and lots of neighborly fun!

Businesses and individuals were recognized and honored with a Downtown Gem Award from the Crystal Lake Main Street organization.  The Downtown Gem Awards recognize the businesses and people that have been instrumental in making our downtown the heart of Crystal Lake.  These are the gems that make our downtown sparkle.

The following is a list of our winners and we’ve included some of the wonderful comments made:

Best Dressed Window Holiday – Lulu’s Wiggin Out
Lulu’s received an overwhelming number of nominations for their Pink Holiday Window.  Comments such as “amazing”, “eye-catching”, “spectacular”, and “looked like a Michigan Avenue display” described Lulu’s 2016 Holiday Window.

Best Dressed Window Year-Round – Lulu’s Wiggin Out
Lulu’s changes their front window every couple of weeks to keep the display looking fresh and inviting to downtown.  Their windows are always creative and fun.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Most Attractive Interior – Yours & Meyn
Comments received included: “Love the mini displays and everytime you go in it’s different”, “No store compares”, and “I love the WOW factor when you walk in the door”.  Congratulations to Yours & Meyn!

Front Door Award – Kitchen Outfitters
Comments about Kitchen Outfitters included how cute the front looks with welcoming flowers and often a table with chairs in the summer.  Additionally, several people mentioned how nice it was to enter the store, as they are always greeted by the ever-smiling Mary Behrens!

Best Outside Space (It’s a Tie!) – The Cottage AND Goal Line Sports Bar & Grill
Last year, The Cottage greatly expanded their outside deck, adding a retractable awning, lights, and even a flat screen TV.  Goal Line Sports Bar & Grill carved out space in front for a beautiful new patio. Both of these outside spaces are inviting and comfortable.

Most Improved Exterior – The Teckler Building and Heisler’s Bootery
The current building owners are Jeff and Carol Heisler, although the building has been owned by the Heisler family for half a century!  The front façade which is clad in architectural terra cotta was in desperate need of repair.  The restoration took place last summer, and here are some of the comments we received: “Major beautiful improvement!”, “Big improvement on the downtown anchor corner”, “Beautiful and carefully planned to preserve the original historic exterior”, and “New sign is up to date, and looks great too!”

Most Improved Interior – Blush Salon
Adjectives like, “stunning, sophisticated, beautiful, sleek and stylish” were used to describe the new Blush Salon.  What a transformation from an old, ugly furniture store to a beautiful hair salon!  Congratulations, Blush Salon!”

Best Customer Service – Wear Did U Get That
From the long list of nominees, you can tell our Downtown is known for its great service!  Comments submitted for Wear Did U Get That included: “The girls are always helpful, cheerful, honest and of course fashion-forward”, and “No high-pressure sales” and “They will help you find the perfect outfit”.

Best Business Neighbor – Mary Batson, Out of the Box
Mary is described as a willing and helpful neighbor who is always making sure things are going well.  She encourages other business owners and is kind and supportive.  Thank you, Mary Batson, for all you do for your neighbors!

Rookie of the Year – Crystal Lake Brewing
Having been in business for less than three years, Crystal Lake Brewing has already claimed a World Cup Beer prize with its “Beach Blonde” golden lager.  Congratulations, Crystal Lake Brewing!

Outstanding Business Volunteer – Lori McConville, Marvin’s Toy Store
Lori has joined the Design Committee and helped to increase recycling awareness among downtown businesses.  This past year, she was successful in working with the property owner of Brink Street Market to renegotiate their waste hauler and install a recycling receptacle in their garbage area.  Thanks to Lori, thousands of pounds of downtown recyclables are no longer being added to the landfill!

Outstanding Individual Volunteer – Dawn Goerger, Suran Built
Dawn continues to co-chair our Ladies Night Out events with remarkable organization and a professional manner.  Although she herself does not own a business, Dawn volunteers her time to help many downtown businesses enjoy a successful retail event.  Congratulations and “thanks” to Dawn Goerger!

Outstanding Sponsor Award – Georgio’s Pizza
Owner Brian Coli believes in the importance of giving back to his community.  Georgio’s Pizza sponsors nearly all of our Downtown events from Lunch with the Bunny to the Johnny Appleseed Festival to the Festival of Lights Parade.  Additionally, Georgio’s is always one of the first businesses to step up and donate food when there is a need in our community.  Thank you, and congratulations to Georgio’s Pizza.

Manager’s Choice Award – Mark & Char O’Meara
Executive Director Diana Kenney says, “I first met Char & Mark many, many years ago when they opened their business, Uncle Fat’s Attic.  From the very start, they both jumped in, feet first, volunteering at numerous downtown events, activities and committees.  Long after their store closed down, Char & Mark continue to volunteer their time to Downtown Crystal Lake.  Char serves on the Board of Directors and Promotions Committee.  She is also chairperson of the Festival of Lights Parade – a HUGE job!  Mark volunteers as our Easter Bunny, assists Char with the parade, and keeps the music going as our downtown DJ and announcer.  Their dedication to Downtown Crystal Lake is unmatched, and so I wish to acknowledge their service.  Thank you to my good friends, Char & Mark O’Meara.”

Main Street Spirit Award – Mike Wasz
Downtown Crystal Lake really is a community of caring individuals and businesses who work together to build each other up, cheer for each other’s successes, and help each other when there is a need.  We laugh together, and we cry together.  We’re a team and that’s the Main Street spirit!  As a reminder to us all, nominations for all of the Gem Awards were submitted the last week of January.  The Gem Awards determination committee met and reached their decision for each award right after that.  Through good times and bad, there never was a doubt that the winner of this year’s Main Street Spirit Award is our beloved mailman, Mike Wasz.
Note: Mike was unable to attend the Gem Awards presentation, but we captured his presentation on video.

View Photos of Gem Award Winners:

  • Gem Award Trophies

View Other Photos from the Annual Meeting: