Category: News

Sour Mash Boutique opens in Downtown Edwardsville, destination for reLoved line

Sour Mash Boutique owner Kenneathia Williams, of Edwardsville, had the opportunity to gift one of her favorite music artists, Drake White, with a cuff at a recent concert in Springfield, Illinois,


Published 5:57 pm, Friday, February 16, 2018

EDWARDSVILLE — Kenneathia Williams wants to bring a little bit of Nashville to town with her new store Sour Mash Boutique.

The store, at 116 N. Main St. in historic Downtown Edwardsville, opened on Valentine’s Day, appropriate since Sour Mash Boutique sells merchandise from Williams’ reLoved Leather accessory line. Williams will hold the store’s grand opening sometime in April.

“reLoved Leather is the reason for Sour Mash,” said Williams, who started reLoved Leather six years ago when she moved to Edwardsville. “I started making jewelry after I moved. I made an old belt into a bracelet.”

After she made the bracelet, several people asked where she bought it, and then asked if she could make one for them. She uses old belts and vintage jewelry for her reLoved Leather pieces. “About 75 percent of reLoved Leather is custom. People want me to use Dad or Grandpa’s belt and make some bracelets.”

Williams decided on the name Sour Mash after a friend suggested it.

“Sour mash is a mix of old and new,” she explained. “I put new and old together, to make stuff no one else has.”

Sour Mash Boutique also sells its own apparel brand and others, such as Double D Ranchwear, boots and merchandise from regional artisans. Williams also built a spot for musicians to perform, such as Lexy Schlemer, who took the new stage Feb. 14 during the store’s opening. Currently, Williams is booking artists for the April grand-opening event.

Working with Williams is Emily Whitaker and Cindy McCalla. McCalla oversees the beauty bar, which offers make-up and hair styling.

“We want women to look good and feel good,” Williams said. “She’s not cutting hair, just styling. She can do hair and make-up for special occasions.”

Williams formerly worked as a graphic designer in marketing and public relations before she moved to Edwardsville.

“I’ve been collecting vintage jewelry for a long time, since I was nine years old,” she said. “My dad was an antique collector. We were ‘pickers’ before people talked about pickers.”

Her father had a fifth-grade education, she said, but he knew how to work and make money.

“He would buy an old, broken tractor, tear it apart, fix it, put it back together, and sell it for five times what he paid,” she said. “His work ethic was instilled in me.”

Now, reLoved Leather is sold in more than 25 boutiques across the United States.

“It was time to have my own store and space,” Williams said. “I had been designing apparel and shirts in the corporate world, so I decided to do them here.”

Sour Mash Boutique’s apparel designs are created and printed in Edwardsville.

“We also have Double D Ranchwear out of Texas, and we’re the first Illinois store to sell it. We’ll have everything from T-shirts to $500 boots. We’ll also have items from artists local to me.”

Williams explained that since she grew up in the Little Rock, Arkansas, area and was there before moving to Edwardsville, local to her means both Illinois and her former home state.

“We’ll have clothes from head to toe,” she said. “I’ll get new things weekly. I don’t want everyone in Edwardsville to dress the same.”

ReLoved Leather really took off since Williams started it, especially after several celebrities and country singers discovered the hand-crafted jewelry and accessory line. Television actor William Shockley, who appeared in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and now is a producer, was one of the first people to wear reLoved Leather. Singer Drake White’s agent, who is from St. Louis, bought reLoved Leather for White.

“Erica Sunshine Lee reached out to me three years ago, on Instagram, and asked for a statement piece for a video she was shooting,” Williams recalled. “It’s now in 17 music videos of all genres.”

Williams also designed jewelry to go with some gowns worn to the Country Music Association (CMA) awards.

“I have ‘everyday’ wear to more elegant and classy things,” she said.

She also matched several custom cuffs with boots for customers.

“I was in the Golden Globes gifting lounge and swag bag,” Williams noted. “It was an honor because there were only 14 designers there.”

She still is using old belts and jewelry.

“One of my favorite things to do is treasure hunt,” she said.

Visit, follow on Twitter @sourmashboutique and Facebook or call 6I8-975-7997 for more information. Visit @relovedleather for a peak at Williams’ designs.

Theatre View Plaza PUD moves forward


Updated 12:36 pm, Thursday, February 1, 2018

EDWARDSVILLE – A new development may be coming to Plum Street, near First to the Finish.

As discussed at Tuesday’s Public Services Committee meeting, Public Works recommended the approval of the Theatre View Commercial Plaza Subdivision Planned Unit Development. If approved, the site will consist of three lots that will contain offices and multi-tenant retail buildings with a minimum of 216 parking spaces surrounding the buildings.

Director of Public Works Eric Williams addressed committee members and said the developers of the site are also making accommodations for bicyclists in the community.

“The project has been through Plan Commission, going through their concept review as well as their formal hearing process. As part of that, some of the items that have been incorporated – they’ve included pedestrian accommodations, pedestrian bike accommodations to improve on pedestrian circulation throughout the site,” Williams said. “There’s crosswalks and actual bike trail connections. They’re providing for some bike parking along the storefront, especially the retail center that’s in the northwest corner.”

The development will also have a connection to the Goshen trail, similar to that of First to the Finish.

The PUD as a whole consists of approximately 5.67 acres and is located west of Plum Street and north of Center Grove Road. All three lots in the PUD will include two retail buildings, one building either office or retail and one more building which use has yet to be determined, for a total of four buildings. One drive-thru will be permitted on the site as well.

 The developers of the project are Contegra Construction and Williams said a traffic impact study has been submitted for review, alongside the PUD proposal.

“They have submitted a traffic impact study. We’ve been through a couple of iterations with that. We’re reviewing it, the (IL) Department of Transportation is currently reviewing it. IDOT has the ultimate jurisdiction to the entrance of 159 and Plum Street,” Williams said.

Access to the site will include two entrances from Plum Street and one from Center Grove Road.

Both Land Use and Plan Commission are on board with the PUD’s approval and alderwoman Janet Stack said she too is excited for the new development.

As discussion came to a close, aldermen Jack Burns, Stack and Craig Louer were in favor of its approval. The motion was approved unanimously and will be reviewed again at Thursday’s Administrative and Community Services meeting.

For more information about the development plan, visit the city’s website at


Edwardsville City Council approves resolution for Whispering Heights development

by Steven Spencer

Future of current public safety facility discussed

North Main Street building could be redeveloped or sold
Published 11:37 am, Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The old public safety building, located on North Main Street, could have a new purpose.

The Administrative and Community Services Committee approved a resolution Thursday, authorizing the mayor to request proposals for potential sale and redevelopment of the older building. Approved Monday by City Council, the old facility could be redeveloped or repurposed following the completion of the new public safety facility this fall.

City Attorney Jeff Berkbigler said there has already been some interest in the development.

“Basically this would allow the city to send out a request for proposals. I think Walt (Williams) has about 20 developers from a database in the area to solicit proposals for redevelopment/reuse of the current public safety building fire station on North Main Street. He’s suggesting a floor of the appraised value of $1,040,000 as the minimum bid requirement,” Berkbigler said. “(They’re going to) try to see what we want, as far as whether it’s just going to be office space, mixed-use residential/retail, strictly retail. All of those items and then hopefully come to a consensus and a recommendation to the Council. The first step is actually issuing a request for proposals and this resolution would allow that.”

 The received proposals will be evaluated and the final selection will be made based off of what can be the most advantageous to the city of Edwardsville. City staff will take into consideration all information, qualifications, proposals, financial resources, and other information that will be presented. The recommendation will then come back to the ACS committee prior to Council approval.

Alderman Tom Butts said the redevelopment will be a beneficial project for the city.

“It’s more than just a price to me,” Butts said. “Is it going to generate more sales tax? What kind of use can it be? How are you going to score it? I think that would be an interesting challenge,” Butts said.

Also included in the property is a 1.34 acre parcel of land and a cell tower used by both police and fire departments.

Berkbigler said the chosen proposal would be obligated to take part in the cell tower lease.

“The cell tower – the proposal would be subject to that cell tower lease, which is still in effect. We would assign that to the prospective developer, I would imagine. There is some cash flow there; I think there’s around $13,000 a year that they would be getting, in addition to the property. It’s our land but we are leasing it to the tower – the tower is owned by a separate entity that leases the land and we do have some equipment but we are relocating our antennae equipment to the new place because of line-of-sight issues,” he said.

Committee members also expressed concern in regards to the mural on the outside wall of the police department.

Director of Parks and Recreation Bob Pfeiffer said the Historic Preservation Committee has already discussed ways to preserve the piece. Berkbigler said there’s also a possibility to get the county involved.

“The mural depicts the county in the area. We talked about maybe getting the county historical museum involved with displaying or repurposing that,” Berkbigler said.

Discussion came to a close and all members of the ACS committee were in favor of the proposal’s approval. The motion was moved forward and approved at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Commercial development in works at I-55 and Route 143 in Edwardsville

EDWARDSVILLE – Pangea Development Co. has announced it has secured a master developer for its newest endeavor, a 95-acre mixed-use commercial development to be located in Edwardsville at the southwest corner of the Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 143 interchange.

The project, named Pin Oak Plaza, will be a joint partnership between C.W. Byron Properties, L.L.C. and Plocher Construction Co., which will own, manage and perform the site development work. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

As currently planned, Pin Oak Plaza will combine a light industrial and logistics business park component with an attractive mixed-use commercial frontage plaza that will include a hotel, one or more restaurants and related amenities.

The development will contain a dedicated entry off Illinois Route 143, tree-lined streets, a 2-acre lake and green space buffers. Pin Oak Plaza will be a major facilitator of new commercial business on the east side of the city, Sean Goding, president of Pangea Development, said.

In addition, the development will result in new infrastructure improvements in that area and will serve as a connector from Route 143 to the planned Plummer Family Sports Park, a 78-acre state-of-the-art sports park that will be located adjacent to Pin Oak Plaza and include multiple soccer, baseball and softball fields.

“Pin Oak Plaza is a good example of a project that balances the city of Edwardsville’s vision and goals contained in the I-55 Corridor Plan as well as the evolving needs of commercial end users by providing a centrally located site with attractive economic incentives, a high traffic count and ready access to multiple forms of intermodal transport,” said Goding. “One of the primary development goals is to help the city continue to develop its role as a corporate relocation destination while creating interstate travel-related amenities and new jobs, all while highlighting the role of Southern Illinois as the logistics and transport center of our nation.”

“We look forward to working with Plocher Construction, Inc. and attorney Christopher W. Byron from the Edwardsville law firm of Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC. Mr. Byron has extensive experience in assisting clients in real estate development ventures. Additionally, Scott Plocher, president of Plocher Construction Inc. is the president of one of the area’s fastest-growing regional construction companies that focuses on industrial, commercial, and utility construction,” said Goding.

Pangea Development, LLC was formed in 2005 as a land investment, development and management company specializing in the development of ecologically sensitive and LEED certified commercial and residential real estate projects.

The municipality of Edwardsville was aware of Pangea’s efforts to develop the site and expects its involvement to pick up with this announcement, Economic Development Director Walt Williams said. Pangea has requested that the land be included in the area’s enterprise zone, he said.

Pangea has offices in Mascoutah and Hazelwood, Mo.

— From the Illinois Business Journal

Council approves Montclaire Business District Special sales tax will be used for upgrades

The Montclaire Shopping Center will receive a major overhaul in the near future.  

Redevelopment within the Montclaire Business District was approved with a 5-2 vote at last week’s Edwardsville City Council meeting.

Aldermen Barb Stamer, Tom Butts, Art Risavy, Jeanette Mallon and Will Krause were in favor of the motion; aldermen Craig Louer and Janet Stack were opposed.

The approved resolution authorizes an agreement for the city to encourage redevelopment and renovations in the district, anticipating a cost of $2.2 million. The improvements will include new facades on buildings, rotomill and resurfacing of the parking lot, retaining wall by the Rapid Lube building, rear screening, landscaping, lighting upgrades and storm water drainage improvements.

The developer, Jones Edwardsville Properties, has requested reimbursement from the city in the amount of $1,393,566 after the improvements have been made.

As discussion ensued, Louer said he was opposed to the resolution, as he was concerned about surrounding neighbors and taxpayers.

“If we were to do it, which I hope we don’t, I’d like to see a commitment to all parts of that project. With regard to the estimated costs…what we’re doing is taxing the people to shop there; we’re taxing our citizens to make improvements to private property. In some instances, I think I can justify it in my mind and those instances are instances where we’re asking a developer to go over and above what he would normally have to do in order to provide some extra protection or some amenities for our neighbors — one of those is a wall,” Louer said. “When you get to the façade for buildings, I look at those as investments that an owner should make on his own property. I want higher rent for a house I own, I clean it up and I get higher rent for it…I think it’s inappropriate for us to tax citizens to support the improvements on private property. I think that’s the owner’s responsibility.”

The city has no direct financial obligation with the developer and the costs that will be reimbursed must be eligible through the collection of business district taxes. Taxpayers who shop at the facility will also face a 1 percent Business District Tax.

“I can’t support it,” Louer said. “This is $1.3 million that we are going to tax our citizens and we are going to use approximately $600,000 of to improve private property. As I’ve said before, I’d be willing to vote for this if we limited the cost to the things that I think we’re asking for over and above.”

Butts was in favor of the motion and said he believes this is the best way to get the needed improvements completed.

“I think this is our best hope to get that blighted area. To the question of would we allow it for somebody else who wanted to come in and form a business district? I think we’d give it the same consideration we gave this – absolutely. We did it for Dierbergs,” Butts said. “This does not cost the city anything; it does cost our taxpayers who shop there an additional 1 percent. We had the same thing at Dierbergs. Dierbergs has been a huge success. If we can increase more sales, that’s more sales tax that the city gets as well.”

The additional Business District Tax, according to Butts, will not have a significant impact on the taxpayers who utilize the district.

“All the risk is on the developer. If he doesn’t have sales, if he doesn’t have tenants, if he doesn’t have people going to the cash register, he does not get his money back. I think it is not corporate welfare; I do not think we are putting a burden on our citizens. If they don’t want to shop there, they don’t have to shop there,” he said.

Discussion came to a close and the resolution passed.

For more information about the Montclaire Business District, visit the city’s website at

Montclaire Business District plan moves forward

Cody King Published 4:07 pm, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An ordinance establishing the Montclaire Business District and Business District plan was approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This will establish the Montclaire Business District in order to provide a funding source to the developer to pay for infrastructure and façade improvements to the site. If approved, another ordinance will make its way to the Administrative and Community Services Committee to establish a tax rate and a development agreement.
City Attorney Jeff Berkbigler said this ordinance is just to pave the way for a future development agreement between the City and the developers.
“This would be adopting the plan. We don’t have a development agreement. This has been held in the ACS Committee in the hopes of having a development agreement concurrently to pass this. We’re very close on our development agreement, but timing wise, we are requesting that the business district be established because we have 90 days from the date of the public hearing, which was on December 6th. This is the last meeting before the expiration of that 90-day period,” Berkbigler said.
If the approval of this ordinance didn’t go through, Berkbigler said the developers would have to go back to the drawing board.
“If we didn’t get it established in that time, then we would have to go through the process of notice of publication for additional public hearing. Staff felt that the public hearing we did have that there weren’t any comments averse to the business district at that time. So one of the comments that came out of ACS though was there be a ‘shock clock’ on this and we did amend the ordinance after ACS to include that if we don’t have a development agreement passed by March 22, which is the last meeting in March, that the business district would not be filed with the state and the ordinance would be terminated,” he said.
By establishing a business district, this will allow for the city of Edwardsville to pledge tax revenue towards redevelopment within the district. However, in order to qualify, the area must meet one of the following criteria: constitute an economic or social liability, have the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire or other causes retards the providision of housing accommodations, or it can be defined as a ‘blighted area,’ meaning it’s an area that has inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements, improper subdivision or obsolete platting.
As the Montclaire Shopping Center is classified as a ‘blighted area,’ it qualifies.
Berkbigler said he believes the development agreement following this ordinance will be available at the next ACS meeting.
“I’m fairly confident we will have a business district development agreement to be presented at the next ACS meeting. On March 2, there’s only a couple of exhibits that we need to get from the developer so we should be able to get that through and get that done in plenty of time if it’s approved. If it’s not approved, for whatever reason, then the business district itself will go out,” he said. “This does not give the developers any money. It just establishes the district to give us the vehicle or the foundation to be able to entrance into the development agreement with the developer.”
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said it’s important to move the motion forward and make changes after the development plan is received.
“In the meantime, they’ve got to know that the Council is supportive for the development of a business district so they can go out and do the diligence and get the numbers and present the develop agreement with facts. On those facts, if you don’t like some things about it and the aldermen agree to strike this maintenance or the roof here or those types of aspects, fine. This is just step one and we’ve previously done this at Town Centre,” Patton said.
As discussion closed, alderman Janet Stack addressed her opposition to the ordinance.
“Some businesses that are in that district, because I go there, have made improvements inside of their businesses on their own. They are going to be, let’s face it, it’s things that not as many people with a lot of money go there. So we’re hurting the people that have less money and we’re taxing them to have a decent shopping center. I just have a real problem with it,” Stack said.
Alderman Janet Mallon was in agreement with the ordinance moving forward, and said, “I understand what you’re saying Janet, but this is our city and our community and I think that we strive to have something a little bit nicer than what’s there now. I think if this is the only way to achieve that goal, then I think it’s a good idea.”
Discussion closed and there was a 6-1 vote in favor.
The motion passed, although Stack was against its approval.