Program helps businesses improve storefronts

Pictured are façade improvement program facilitator Michelle Knight, community development director Michelle Pease, business owner Frank Smardo, façade improvement committee member Chris Cardott, and frank’s grandchildren Alayna and Owen, stand in front of the newly redone business front.

ROCHELLE – As part of its façade improvement program, the City of Rochelle awarded a longtime local business with the funds needed to improve the front of its building.
Bill’s Trading Post received a check in the amount of $5,000 Thursday that was used to pay for the tuck-pointing to the brick on the front of the building. Tuck-pointing is the process of taking the cement out from under the bricks, cleaning it and replacing it with a new color to improve the look of the building.
The city says that this façade improvement program is a great way to let businesses know that they are here to help.
“When a business is planning a project to improve their building, this is a nice way for us to say that we want to help you do this,” explained community development director Michelle Pease.
Last year the city had $15,000 allocated to present to local businesses, but this year the budget has allocated $30,000 to be spent city wide and not limited to the downtown area.
Bills Trading Post has been in business since 1943 and has been providing the community with a place to find quality new and used furniture, apparel and many other treasures. Owner Frank Smardo says he is very pleased with how the work turned out and he has more improvements planned for the coming spring.
“Oh, yea I am pleased with how it turned out. And then hopefully by spring I will be able to change out the windows,” Smardo said.
Smardo is gracious for the support from the city and hopes his business will make it to 100 years serving the community.

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