Grassroots Cleanup Efforts Tackle Winter Trash

By the time the spring season rolls around, most people in Kalamazoo are ready to ditch their heavy coats, tuck their boots away, and welcome all that comes with warmer weather. As the mercury rises the melting snow oftentimes reveals trash that has stayed hidden during the winter months. Seeing the need to tackle trash head-on, volunteers took charge this month and donated their time to keeping downtown clean and beautiful.

A handful of volunteers braved the cold and wind on April 10th to help Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. during their annual Cleanup Day. Volunteers, who ranged from a young entrepreneur studying at Loy Norrix High School to a gentleman visiting from California, picked up everything from old blue jeans and cigarette butts to car parts and soda bottles.

Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. volunteers enjoying lunch as a group after their cleanup efforts

Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. volunteers enjoying lunch as a group after their cleanup efforts

“It’s much easier to tackle trash as a group rather than on your own,” volunteer and downtown resident Brendan Von Koss said.

While he jumped at the opportunity to join the group to lend a hand, Von Koss has been known to head out on his own to grab stray pieces of debris that have evaded trashcans. When asked why he takes it upon himself to pick up trash now and then, he’s quick to point out that downtown is his backyard and he wants it to remain beautiful.

Greenleaf Hospitality Group employees picking up trash on April 15th

Greenleaf Hospitality Group employees picking up trash on April 15th

A new grassroots beautification effort was cooked up this year by staff of the Greenleaf Hospitality Group at the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites. Led by Derrick Ricca, Senior Sales Manager, staff set out to clean a 36-block section of downtown. Some may be surprised by Greenleaf’s commitment to tackle trash, but for a hotel that was awarded the 2014 Responsible Business Award, their take-charge approach is business as usual.

“We’re in the hospitality industry and it’s not in our culture to complain,” Ricca said. “We saw a need and we knew we could make an impact so we put our heads together and came up with a plan.”

Ricca and staff spent the afternoon of April 15th in and around downtown cleaning up, and introduced a bit of friendly competition by awarding prizes to those with the most interesting find and the most trash collected. He was pleased to share that there was far less trash to be collected than he and staff anticipated, but what was on the ground is now in the trash.

Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. would like to thank all volunteers for their efforts in keeping downtown Kalamazoo litter-free. For more information about how you can get involved in keeping downtown Kalamazoo beautiful, contact Meg Gernaat at mgernaat@dki.org or 269.344.0795. For other volunteer opportunities, click here.

Greenleaf Hospitality Group employees volunteering to beautify downtown Kalamazoo

Greenleaf Hospitality Group employees volunteering to beautify downtown Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Welcomes Two New Studios

A new year means new goals for most people. If you are looking for a fun and challenging way to stay fit this year, be sure to check out the new Pilates and Barre Studio located on the Kalamazoo Mall.

It didn’t take very long for friends and studio owners, Mary Saxton and Amy Hamilton, to bring their studios to downtown. They felt downtown Kalamazoo was best fit to showcase their urban workout studios due to it’s great demographics and urban feel. Kzoo Pilates & Barre 041

Amy, the owner of The Pilates Studio, is truly trained by the best of the best.  Amy’s hard work and training took about a year and half, which included over 800 hours of seminars, apprenticeship hours and both written and practical tests. She is certified through Romana’s Pilates and studied under the tutelage of Juanita Lopez and Rhonda Celenza out of Evanston, Illinois and other facilities around the United States.

Amy specializes with working one-on-one with her clients as well as working with duets, using her Gratz equipment-the original manufacturer of Joseph Pilats apparatus’. During a pilates session with Amy, you will improve your core strength, which will create flexibility in your spine and continue throughout the rest of your body.

Mary is the owner of The Barre Studio, located right next door to the Pilates Studio. Barre is an urban workout, inspired by ballet and pilates. Mary and other certified instructors, run group classes that are fast paced with upbeat music.  The classes combine fat burning and interval training with small isometric movements that lift, sculpt, and tone. You use your own body weight to create resistance, lengthening muscles creating a great workout with muscles that you’re not use to using.Kzoo Pilates & Barre 061

Everyone is welcome to both of the studios and no experience is needed. Taking pilates or barre classes will help you achieve a powerful core and good spine health, the secret to a better life style. The Barre Studio offers 50 minute classes Monday through Saturday. Reserving a spot is suggested, since class size is limited. The Pilates Studio offers private and duet lessons that are by appointment only.

 

The Pilates Studio                                                          The Barre Studio

356 South Burdick Kalamazoo Mall                            356 South Burdick Kalamazoo Mall

Kalamazoo, MI 49007                                                   Kalamazoo, MI 49007

269-303-1949                                                                269-303-2245

 

Chili-Cook Off

How do you like your chili? Hot and spicy, thick and meaty, vegetarian? Every January, downtown businesses show off their cooking skills at the Chili Cook Off, and every style of chili is put forward in the hopes of catching the popular vote. This year’s event will be Saturday, January 25. Just come downtown and walk around to the sites offering up their own versions of this cold-weather staple. c82c12b5-b377-4d1d-a063-42a83d3c4926

Patrons stop by the locations and get a sample, and then vote on their favorite. You’d think that the restaurants would have an edge, and they certainly do push the envelope. In 2013, Central City Tap House made theirs with wild boar (20 pounds worth), and the Beer Exchange made a delicious Sweet Potato Chili, but it was the fire-roasted chili in Mangia Mangia’s traditional recipe that won the restaurant category.

The retail and office businesses fight back with their own tricks. A perennial contender for the title, Nature Connection, makes their Michigan Cherry Chili in both meaty and vegetarian versions. “It’s very Michigan to put cherries in chili,” says one patron, “And the fruit works really well to balance heat they put in the dish.” The recipe for the Uno, Dos, Tres Chili at Michigan News has lasted generations, traveled the continents, and survived a war. Read more from this MLive story from last year: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/01/michigan_news_agency_st…

Some locations, like Sticks and Stones, have a line out the door. “We spend all night making chili by the gallon,” says owner Susan Diffenderfer. “Our goal is to not run out until the last person come through the line.” That may be why her chili is named Another Hot Mess.

The event begins at 11 AM and lasts as long as the chili – which sometimes can hold out until after 1 PM. It’s a sampling event, so be sure to make lunch plans at your favorite downtown restaurant.

This year’s participants include:

How do you like your chili? Hot and spicy, thick and meaty, vegetarian? Every January, downtown businesses show off their cooking skills at the Chili Cook Off, and every style of chili is put forward in the hopes of catching the popular vote. This year’s event will be Saturday, January 25. Just come downtown and walk around to the sites offering up their own versions of this cold-weather staple. Participants include:

 

Beer Exchange Michigan News Tempo Vino Winery
Bella Patina MLive Terrapin
Bell’s Eccentric Café Monaco Bay The Station
Burdicks Nature Connection Tudor House Tea and Spice
Garden Gate Cafe Old Peninsula Brewpub The Union Cabaret
Gazelle Sports Optimed Pharmacy Water Street Coffee Joint
Gonzo’s…at Tibbs Brewing Spirit of Kalamazoo Websters Prime
Harveys on the Mall Sticks and Stones Wine Loft
Keystone Bank Taco Bob’s Zazios
Mangia Mangia Central City Tap House

DECEMBER 16 LOOK CLOSER

December 16, 2013
Event Calendar
December 20,21,22
Old Dog Tavern
Friday, 5:30-10:30pm

London Grill

Friday, 7-10pm

 

Gingerbread Decorating

The Union Cabaret & Grille

December 20, 21

 

Rumpelstiltskin: The True Hero

Fancy Pants Theatre

December 19-22

 

I love a Piano

Farmers Alley Theatre

December 19-22

 

Gallery Talk

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Thursday, 12:00-1:00pm

Washington Square
Monday, 2:00-3:00pm
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Sunday, 2-3:00 PM
Upcoming Events
Downtown Locations
December 31
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
December 28
Food Dance
December 31
Look Closer
DOWNTOWN KALAMAZOO

Downtown for the Holidays
For a memorable holiday experience head downtown because the city is full of holiday spirit and fun. Santa’s Workshop is a free program where children can visit with Santa, make crafts, and write letters to Santa. The Holly Jolly Trolley is a free way to get around downtown. Our holiday programming is generously supported by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.

I love a Piano
Farmer’s Alley Theatre is now playing the musical, “I Love a Piano”, featuring music by Irvin Berlin. Berlin’s classics such as “White Christmas” are performed by an outstanding cast, which includes the estimable Lori Moore. I Love a Piano will be playing at through January 5, but shows are selling out. Click here to buy tickets.

Ugly Sweater Tour  
This Saturday is a perfect time to take out the ugly holiday sweater and head downtown. Take a fun holiday tour of Kalamazoo’s new local breweries while spreading holiday spirit. The crew will be meeting at Old Dog Tavern then heading to Ruppert’s Brew HouseGonzo’s BiggDog Brewing, and Boatyard Brewing. For more information, click here.

New Year’s Fest  skyline fireworks 2011
Whether you are continuing the tradition or starting a new one, mark your calendars for the always fun-filled New Year’s Eve Fest held on December 31. This fest includes events for the whole family including live music, jugglers comedy acts and more. All performances are held indoor at various locations downtown. Click here to read more about the event.

Holiday Video

Our very talented friends at Rhino Media Productions produced this video for us which features our friend Shelagh Brown. This will put you in the mood for a Trolley ride and a visit to Santa, both of which continue every weekend until Christmas. Check out the video here.

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Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.
141 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
269.344.0795

DECEMBER 9 LOOK CLOSER

December 9, 2013
Event Calendar
The Civic
December 12-15
Cakes Boutique
Saturday, 11am-2:00pm

December 13,14,15

 

Sip and Shop

Cakes Boutique

Wednesday, 6-8:00pm

 

Rumpelstiltskin: The True Hero

Fancy Pants Theatre

December 12-15

 

I love a Piano

Farmers Alley Theatre

December 12-15

 

Student Recital

Crescendo Academy of Music

Saturday, 2:00pm

State Theatre
Saturday, 8:00pm
City Hall
Monday, 3 PM
Upcoming Events
The Alamo Drafthouse
December 22
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
December 28
Food Dance
December 31
Look Closer
DOWNTOWN KALAMAZOO

Downtown for the Holidays
For a memorable holiday experience head downtown because the city is full of holiday spirit and fun. Santa’s Workshop is a free program where children can visit with Santa, make crafts, and write letters to Santa. The Holly Jolly Trolley is a free way to get around downtown. Our holiday programming is generously supported by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.

New Businesses Open Downtown
We’ve had a slate of new businesses open just in time for the holidays. We’ll be featuring each on Facebook and our newsletter, but with limited space, we’ll link to them here so you’re in the know: Tibbs Brewing CompanyHite House CoutureThe Station Shop,Styles for all SeasonsKalamazoo Pilates & Barre Studios.

About Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc.  Luminary Lone
Ever wonder what we do here at DKI? It’s never the same day twice. Newsletters, social media, maintenance programs, management of the Festival Site, events, the parking system…just for a start. Here’s a quick reference page on our website so you have an idea of our responsibilities.

Peter Pan Continues 
The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre presents Peter Pan as an annual holiday tradition. MLive calls director Nicki Poer’s production “a magical dose of fairy dust for families,” saying that you will adore the lively and passionate cast. Peter Pan will runs until December 15.Click here to read the wonderful review from Mlive.

Food Dance Opens New Market

Last week, Food Dance opened their new and updated market. The market is full of house-butchered meats, cheeses, breads and pastries made at the restaurant, and many other delicious items that can be found when dining-in at Food Dance. Click here to read more about what the market has to offer.

Holiday Video

Our very talented friends at Rhino Media Productions produced this video for us which features our friend Shelagh Brown. This will put you in the mood for a Trolley ride and a visit to Santa, both of which continue every weekend until Christmas. Check out the video here.

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter
Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.
141 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
269.344.0795

DECEMBER 2 LOOK CLOSER

December 2, 2013
Event Calendar
The Civic
December 5,6,7,8
Food Dance
December 4 & 5

December 6,7,8

 

Holiday Art Sale

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

December 5,6,7

 

Art Hop & More

Downtown

Friday, 5:00pm

 

I love a Piano

Farmers Alley Theatre

December 6,7,8

 

Love to Dance

Epic Center

Saturday, 2-4:00pm

Olde Peninula Brewpub
Sunday, 9am-noon
Upcoming Events
The Alamo Drafthouse
December 22
State Theatre
December 14
Food Dance
December 31
Look Closer
DOWNTOWN KALAMAZOO

Art Hop & More
Art Hop & More-May13This Friday is going to be the biggest Art Hop yet! There are 77 sites hosting artwork by local painters, photographers, sculptors, and more. It’s a chance to meet the artists, see their work, and show support. Bring the family down to this free all-ages event.

Holly Jolly Trolley Route
The Holly Jolly Trolley is a wonderful way to take in the holiday decorations and lights downtown. To ride, just wait at one of the stops shown on the map. To help you plan, it leaves Bronson Park at the top and bottom of every hour. Thanks to MLive Media Group and theIrving S. Gilmore Foundation, it’s free!

Artist Spotlight: Jon Reeves
Kalamazoo is populated with many talented individuals, including one of our favorites, Jon Reeves. Come see his works of steel, brass, copper and other materials at the Park Trades Center this Friday during Art Hop. You can see some of his work on our Facebook page or click here to read our latest blog on Jon Reeves.

Santa’s Workshop

Bring your children for a memorable holiday experience. Santa’s workshop is a place to enjoy the holiday spirit while making crafts, writing letters to Santa and other special events. Be sure to bring your camera to capture pictures with Santa and his elves. This is a free program  with support from the Irving S. Gilmore FoundationClick here to find out more information.

Holiday Video

Our very talented friends at Rhino Media Productions produced this video at last Friday’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. You may have missed us switching on the lights, but they’re still lit, the Trolley’s still running, and Santa is downtown every weekend until Christmas.Check out the video here.

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Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.
141 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
269.344.0795

NOVEMBER 25 LOOK CLOSER

November 25, 2013
Event Calendar
The Civic
Begins November 29
Kalamazoo Public Library
Begins November 29

Begin November 30

 

Bizarre Bazaar

Bells Eccentric Cafe

Saturday, 11am-4pm

 

Live Music

Old Dog Tavern

Saturday and Sunday

 

The Last Laugh

Shakespeare’s Pub

Friday, 8:30pm

 

Matisyahu- Festival of Light

State Theatre

Sunday, 8pm

London Grill
Sunday, 4-6:00pm
Upcoming Events
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Begins Dec. 5-7
State Theatre
December 14
Olde Peninsula Brewpub
December 8
Look Closer
DOWNTOWN KALAMAZOO

Theo and Stacy’s 35th Free Thanksgiving Meal
Restaurant owner, Stacy Skartsiaris, along with family members and volunteers have been busy preparing a Thanksgiving meal that is expected to feed 1,200 people this holiday. This will be the 35th year that Theo and Stacy’s have been providing free Thanksgiving meals. Click here to read more about this tradition.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday

Holiday events begin with the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6pm on Friday. City Commissioners will read The Night Before Christmas, the lights will be lit for the first time this year, and the festivities of the holiday season will begin. Click here to find out about Holiday Events Downtown.

Small Business Saturday, November 30
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, a chance to enjoy a more relaxed day of holiday shopping. Park the car downtown and stroll the shops to find the perfect gift. Stop for lunch, maybe a movie, visit Santa, and take a ride on the Holly Jolly Trolley. Be sure to pick up an I Shop Local sticker to enjoy some special perks! Click here for more info.

Holly Jolly Trolley Route, Begins Friday
The Holly Jolly Trolley is a wonderful way to take in the holiday decorations and lights while getting around downtown. To ride, just wait at one of the stopsshown on the map. To help you plan, it leaves Bronson Park at the top and bottom of every hour. Thanks to Mlive Media Group and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, it’s free!

Santa’s Workshop, Begins Saturday

Bring your children for a holiday experience that they are sure not to forget. Santa’s workshop is a place to enjoy the holiday spirit while making crafts, writing letters to Santa and other special events. Be sure to bring your camera to capture pictures with Santa and his elves. This is a free program of Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc with support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. Click here to find out more information.

DKI Strategic Review

During 2013, Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc. went through a deep analysis of our structure and programs. As a primarily tax-funded organization, we’ve felt the pinch of the recession, and we need to stay focused on how we continue to improve YOUR downtown. We’ve posted thestrategic review on our website for you to read, and we look to hear from in our upcoming Public Conversations.

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Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.
141 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
269.344.0795