The Downtown Springfield Association held its annual Downtown Awards ceremony at the Old Glass Place in Springfield.
The event, which raised over $3,000 for local non-profit organizations, gave out ten awards including the prestigious Tom Billionis Lifetime Achievement Award.
That honor was created in memory of the founder of The Coffee Ethic who unexpectedly passed away in 2016. The award was handed out by Downtown Council of Champions president Brian Fogle who spoke of Billionis before presenting the award.
“Tom was an encourager, a teacher and a role model,” said Fogle while presenting the award. “Through his magnetic personality, The Coffee Ethic quickly became an entrepreneurial incubator for a wide variety of downtown businesses.”
The award was given to Terry Bloodworth, the former owner of Springfield Hot Glass who retired from the business in December 2018.
The Downtown Springfield Association held voting online for the awards for several weeks before the ceremony. The fan voted winners of awards were:
- New Office of the Year: Locke + Stache
- New Hospitality of the Year: Craft Axe Throwing
- New Retailer of the Year: Park Central Market
- New Downtown of the Year: Pets & Pumpkins
- Good Neighbor Award: Bret & Sheila McGowne
- Urban Legend-in-the-Making: Ryan Wasson, Anvil Customs Leather
In addition to the fan voted awards, three awards were given directly by the DSA:
- Volunteer of the Year: Larry Askren
- Developer of the Year: Missouri State University
- Business of the Year: Mother’s Brewing Company
The event also informed attendees of growth in the downtown area in 2018. Taxable sales were up 9 percent on the year and the Rated SGF Film Festival and Downtown Open took place for the first time.
“More people are living, working and playing in downtown than ever before,” Allen Kunkel, president of the Downtown Springfield Association board, stated in a press release. “From the Brewery District, to daylighting Jordan Creek, to a new rooftop bar, we are not short on dreamers downtown. And that’s why we are here tonight, to take a minute and celebrate how far those dreamers have taken us.”