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Despite Flooding, Davenport is Open for Business

Posted in General Information, Uncategorized with tags , on July 2, 2014 by Tory Brecht

Signs indicate Pershing is closed, but open to business traffic

Front Street Brewery’s signature beer is called Raging River Ale.

The name is hitting a little close to home for the long-time Davenport business, which boasts two riverfront locations – one between Pershing and Perry streets on River Drive and the other in the riverfront Freight House building.

The muddy Mississippi may be knocking at the front door, but manager Jenny Ash says both locations are open and serving.

“It was a little slow at lunch today, probably because parking is hard to find,” she said. “But this flood is typical and manageable.”

Ash has worked at Front Street for 22 years and has been through seven major floods. Improvements in the city’s flood protection plan over the years have made them much easier to deal with than the deluge in 1993 that knocked the brewery out of business for an extended period.

“When we see the Hesco barriers going in, it’s very reassuring to us,” she said, as several patrons stepped in to order lunch and gawk at the rising waters just outside the large picture window out front.


Downstream a bit, Ed Kraklio Jr. of Nostalgia Farms Deli said the lunch rush today was more like a trickle. Too many people don’t realize that despite River Drive being closed, you can still access businesses south of the road. Still, he’s pleased with the flood protection measures in place.

“We’re still prepping and getting ready for the weekend,” he said. “Although we will be closed on the 4th because they cancelled Red, White and Boom.”


Michelle Magyar, one of the co-owners of Mid-American Glass on River Drive, said they are coping with this flood much better than the last major flood in 2011.

A recent $5 million expansion, with a new building on their site, allows them to ship out a new dock to the north, meaning they no longer need access from River Drive.

“We are an island, but it’s business as usual although it’s hectic,” she said. “The city helped us put this new building in and we can now get in without going through the water.”

Any business owner that needs assistance with flood fighting should contact Public Works at (563) 326-7923.


Calling All Entrepreneurs: $5,000 Prize Available for Your “Big Idea”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2014 by Tory Brecht


Where would we be without the dreamers, innovators, inventors and big thinkers whose ideas drive business? Here in the Quad-Cities, we know that more than 80 percent of all economic growth is home-grown. And we want to see our entrepreneurs thrive even more.

Quad Cities Fast Pitch is a new business idea competition open to anyone in Scott or Rock Island counties with a great business idea or dream. We are looking for bright ideas in the categories of Manufacturing/Industrial; Web/Technology; Retail/Service and Restaurant/Entertainment.

The grand prize winner will receive $5,000 cash and thousands of dollars worth of in-kind business services. Three category semi-finalists will receive $1,000 cash and in-kind services.

The Quad Cities Fast Pitch competition is a joint effort between the economic development departments from the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline and several other partners, including: Ignite Quad Cities, the Iowa and IllinoisSmallBusinessDevelopmentCenters, the University of Illinois Extension, Iowa State University Extension, AugustanaCollege and WQAD-TV. The Riverboat Development Authority is sponsoring the cash prize for the contest.

Quad Cities Fast Pitch is a three-stage competition. The first stage is an open application period, where contestants submit their ideas in writing to the contest committee in one of four categories: Technology/Web, Manufacturing/Industrial, Restaurant/Entertainment and Retail/Service. The application period is Feb. 10 through March 15. Applications can be found at the Quad Cities Fast Pitch website at

Five semi-finalists from each of the four categories will be chosen to present at the Quad Cities Fast Pitch live event, hosted by AugustanaCollege and WQAD.   Semi-Finals and Finals Event: April 5, 2014, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Gävle Room in Augustana College’s Student Life Center. Semi-finalists will give a 10 minute live presentation to the judging panel in the semi-final round between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Four category winners will be selected from those presentations and will be required to present live in front of an audience beginning at 4 p.m. The grand prize winner will be selected out of the four finalists.

Renwick Building – UPDATE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 20, 2013 by Tory Brecht

Doing It in Davenport logo

324 Brady Street

Total Investment: $4.2 million
Federal Historic Tax Credits: $834,000
State Historic Tax Credits: $1 million
City bridge loan: $1.8 million
Private Funds Leveraged: $2 million
Status: Residential complete, commercial nearly complete

The exterior of the renovated Renwick Building shines at night

Christmas decorations adorn the inside and outside of nearly every single one of the 18 new apartment units in the just-completed Renwick Building renovation and new exterior lighting brightens this once dark edifice on Main Street. Work is continuing at a breakneck pace to get the first floor tenant space finished. The new live music venue – the operator of which is still officially under wraps although it may be the worst-kept secret in the Quad-Cities – is scheduled to open by the end of January.

Developers Amrit and Amy Gill of Restoration St. Louis said they are pleased to see work nearing an end on Renwick, as they gear up for their massive $60 million mixed-use City Square project on 2nd Street which gets underway in early 2014. The couple gave City staff a tour through the nearly completed building earlier this week, pointing out some of its unique features and architectural touches.

One of the centerpieces is the shared-use “penthouse” that offers some of the best views of downtown Davenport around. The penthouse features a gas fireplace, comfortable seating areas, and outdoor deck and workout room.

The Renwick penthouse offers stunning views of downtown Davenport

The Renwick penthouse offers stunning views of downtown Davenport

The first-floor live music venue will be state-of-the-art, with one of the most modern recording studios in the entire country and other high-tech touches that should deliver amazing concert experiences in an intimate setting. The gigantic front windows will give passer-by a great view into the building, which should be a hotbed of activity downtown.

Work continues on the live music venue in the Renwick Building

Work continues on the live music venue in the Renwick Building

All 18 of the apartment units are rented, further evidence of the growing demand for downtown living. Each feature high ceilings, top end appliances and individual balconies.


The Gills say the building should be fully complete and the first-floor tenant should be open for business by the end of January.

PhotoFROG – (new business)

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2013 by Tory Brecht


1601 Harrison Street

Total Investment: $10,000
Total Public Investment: None
Private Funds Leveraged: $10,000
Status: Opening Jan. 11
Projected jobs created: 5

The new photo studio in the Hilltop Campus Village is at 1601 Harrison Street

One of the most iconic and architecturally interesting buildings on Harrison Street in Davenport is the latest to be rejuvenated in the city’s Hilltop Campus Village neighborhood. The North Harrison Trust & Savings Bank, built in 1910, will re-open as PhotoFROG, a photography studio owned and operated by Ranae Fenner. The century-old building, constructed in the neoclassical style, was most recently the home of the Hilltop Theatre, but has been empty for several years.

Fenner has been in the photography business for 10 years, but needed to find a new home for her studio due to plans to renovate the Pierce School Mall in the Village of East Davenport (check Doing It in Davenport a little later in 2014 to hear about those plans!) She said she fell in love with the look of the building, including its original tin ceilings painted red and high visibility location at the corner of Harrison and 16th streets.

The original tin ceiling at 1601 Harrison still shines

The original tin ceiling at 1601 Harrison still shines

Fenner specializes in senior class pictures, weddings and family portraits. She will have ample space in the former bank building to build all types of interesting sets for interior shots. The name of her studio comes from her strong reliance on faith – the “FROG” stands for Fully Rely on God – which she had to do after her previous professional career was derailed by a layoff and she took a leap of faith that she’d make it as a full-time photographer.

Now, she has a steady list of clients and shares her space with four contract photographers as well. She feels the building on Harrison will take her business to the next level.

“I like the uniqueness of the building and I like that the City is focusing on the Hilltop area,” she said.
“That attracted me even more. My target clients are in the 17 to 30-year-old range with senior pictures and weddings, and now I’m highly visible to two colleges and Central High School. When my business was in the Village, I relied solely on word-of-mouth. I think this spot will provide so much more exposure.”

Ranae Fenner poses against one of her studio backdrops

Ranae Fenner poses against one of her studio backdrops

Building owner Jim Lind helped Fenner ready the new studio, which features new flooring, fresh paint and other improvements. It also offers off-street-parking around back, off of 16th Street, which will be helpful, Fenner said. She is already working with some clients, and will hold an official grand opening in early January.