An email newsletter blasted out Friday from Downtown Springfield, Inc. began like this: “The reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.”
The statement, a play on writer Mark Twain’s famous expression, refers to the general rumblings about the state of downtown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though some prominent longtime staples have closed for one reason or another, more businesses have actually opened in the business district this year, according to DSI.
“We are still growing, we are still here,” said Kayla Graven, DSI’s program and events manager. “So we just need people to remember that we are downtown, to come visit us to help support our people that are coming here. It always is important to keep growing. We’re not just dying.”
The neighborhood came out Friday to mark the official grand opening of two businesses in previously-vacant ground level space in the Kerasotes Building at Sixth and Washington streets.
Physiotherapy Professionals, a physical therapy clinic that has operated on the city’s west side since 2007, has opened a satellite location in the space. Next door is Moxie Massage, which moved from its previous Seventh Street location in September.
Zach Boente, son of Physiotherapy owner Leah Boente-Hulcher and a physical therapist himself, will work out of the space with physical therapist Mallory Flynn, who is also his girlfriend.
“I appreciate downtown, I appreciate the history. And the stars kind of aligned,” Boente said. “We both did travel (physical therapy) for several years where we worked in Arizona and California and New Mexico and got a ton of experience. And we’re happy to bring that back and really opened up shop right in our backyard where we grew up.”
Boente said the downtown location was perfect because it’s smaller and intimate, thus allowing them to exemplify “patient-centered care.” And, it will be more convenient for patients coming from places like Rochester.
Moxie Massage owners Heather Fowler and Kayla Rowland will continue to offer massages in the space. And Fowler plans to add yoga classes to the mix once she graduates from her program at the end of the month. She expects those to begin in mid-November.
Built in 1926, the three-story building was the corporate headquarters of the Kerasotes Theatres chain until it relocated to Chicago in 1999.
The company maintained a presence until 2014, when they sold it to an investor group led by developer Chris Nickell.
Past tenants have included Urban Sasssfras and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Contact Brenden Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/brendenmoore13.