Wednesday, August 31 | Submitted by Brett Johnston | Downtown Central
Downtown Springfield Association celebrated a historic year August 30 at The Veridian with the 2016 Downtown Awards. Reformed landmark buildings (Heer’s, Vandivort, Woodruff, The Sterling) were reopened with great presence, and new businesses developed; fabulous dining (417 Taphouse, BYOPizza, Civil Kitchen, Druff’s, Golden Girl Rum Club, The Order, Vito’s Kitchen), shopping (Anvil Customs Leather, Dapped at Haberdasher, Inspired Boutique, Lush at Bartique), work spaces (Artist Signal, Equality Healthcare, IntrinsiQ Specialty Solutions), plus the creation/growth of other events and amenities (Trolley Bike, First Friday at Park Central Square, Downtown Wiffle League).
Downtown celebrated, too, the life of a pioneer for the district. The Lifetime Achievement Award was named for Tom Billionis, owner of The Coffee Ethic and member of the DSA board, who passed unexpectedly in April. Billionis was a great leader and friend for downtown.
Prior winners of the Downtown Business of the Year include Gailey’s Breakfast Café and Five Pound Apparel. The 2016 honoree—Hotel Vandivort—was carefully crafted by brothers John and Billy McQueary. Together with John’s wife Karen, they had a dream to bring the first boutique hotel to Downtown Springfield. They renovated the former Masonic lodge using local artisans and craftsmen. The $13 million project in the heart of Downtown has become a point of pride for all of southwest Missouri and elevated the areas’ expectations for hospitality through its high quality finishes, exceptional service, and commitment to local products.
A vacant Heer’s Building loomed over Downtown for 20 years. Jim Nichols and the Dalmark Team acquired it in 2014 and brought new life for the iconic building that celebrated its 100th anniversary last September. Zac Nichols, Jim’s son and a graduate of Missouri State University, coordinated the historic renovation with Straub Construction. The building’s first floor is now the home of IntrinsiQ—a nominee for New Downtown Office of the Year, and the 80 lofts in the upper floors are 100% leased. To many Ozarkers, Downtown’s revitalization would never be complete without a renovated Heer’s. Thanks to the vision and expertise of Dalmark, that milestone has been achieved.
Seville. The Brentwood. Ozark Camera. Kresge. Oliver’s Garage. Olive Place. Central Shoe. Lofts at Jordan Creek. Lofts at College Station. Owner of Gailey’s Breakfast Café and Urban Cup. His tenants include Coffee Ethic, Park Central Square Library, Vision Clinic, Campaignium, The Moxie, Hawthorn Gallery, Bookmarx, and J Mark. Downtown Springfield has been forever changed in a positive way because of the investment of heart and soul by Craig Wagoner. He started renovating properties in high school with his father. Over the past 15 years, his creative utilization of federal and state tax credits has resulted in millions of dollars in revitalized properties and hundreds of new Downtown residents. He gives back to his community by actively serving on the boards of the Downtown Springfield CID and DSA. Craig is the long-time CID Treasurer and chair of the CID safety and security committee.
Prior winners of the Downtown Lifetime Achievement Award include owners of the Downtown Dairy Queen Les & Julie Rohr, architect and developer Allen Casey, and developer Scott Tillman. Tonight we culminate our celebrations by recognizing a friend who left an enduring legacy for Downtown Springfield. Tom Billionis opened his dream business, The Coffee Ethic, in 2007. He quickly created an environment that was simultaneously a social magnet, an artistic and design showcase, and a testing ground for local entrepreneurship. Swagbot, Dapper, Hotel Vandivort, and Cherry Picker Package & Fare are just a few of the businesses that were nurtured with Tom’s friendship and support. Tom gave of his time and talent by serving on the boards of the Downtown Springfield CID and Downtown Springfield Association. He co-chaired the Park Central Task Force. He loved cheering on his daughters at their Center City schools. Tom died unexpectedly April 16, 2016 at 44. He was a Downtown pioneer and we are grateful that he was able to see many of the successes Downtown Springfield celebrates. As a token of DSA’s appreciation of the fingerprints that he continues to leave on our Downtown, DSA presented Michelle and daughters with the first Tom Billionis Downtown Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ryan Wasson brought his thriving Anvil Customs business to the first floor of the Woolworth Building last year. His highest quality products are handmade from leathers from American tanneries in Missouri and Pennsylvania. Ryan’s variations on color and textures intentionally make each piece a one-of- a-kind.
Haberdasher at Dapper
Mike, Billy, and Sara Jalilly ushered a new era into the former Bijan’s space and the Downtown scene with gourmet burgers, boozy shakes blended with Andy’s Frozen Custard, and even their fries have delicious twists. The open kitchen and designer décor have drawn big crowds and rave reviews.
Golden Girl Rum Club