Sterling Main Street Recognized for Outstanding Revitalization Efforts at 2023 Illinois Main Street Conference

Sterling Main Street is pleased to announce being awarded The Lieutenant Governor Award for Economic Vitality recognizing the Shoppes at Grandon Plaza.

The Lieutenant Governor Award for Excellence in Revitalization is one of the most notable recognitions for Illinois Main Street communities to achieve for their work in bringing economic prosperity to their communities. Work highlights projects, activities, and events focused on the Main Street Approach™, as well as outstanding volunteers and board members.

“Main streets across Illinois showcase the very best of small businesses and revitalization efforts. I’m so proud of the 2023 award recipients for their hard work and talent to create positive change in our Main Street communities,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “That positive change will spark economic opportunities and jobs that build purpose and a sense of community throughout Illinois.”

On Wednesday, November 15, Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton alongside Illinois and Chicago Main Street Coordinators Jim Miller and Frankye Payne, respectively, of Main Street America recognized sixteen (16 awardees. Twelve (12) awards were given for program efforts, two (2) for outstanding volunteers, and one each for Board Member and Volunteer of the Year.

Awards were announced by Tasha Sams, Manager of Entrepreneur and Small Business Support and Joi Cuartero Austin, Sr. Program Officer for Economic Vitality, with a special welcome by Dionne Baux, Vice President of Field Services, Neighborhood Commercial Districts, all representatives of Main Street America.

Full list of recognitions as follows (details can be found on Illinois Main Street website):

Awards for Design
  • Alton Main Street Alton, IL | Mini-mural grant program
  • Greater Freeport Partnership | Freeport, IL | Chicago Avenue Streetscape Project
  • Jacksonville Main Street | Jacksonville, IL | The Plaza Project
Awards for Economic Vitality
  • Action Brown County | Mt. Sterling, IL | Start-Up and Business Innovation Competitions
  • New Covenant CDC BFD | North Lawndale | Chicago, IL | Business Financial Dashboard
  • Sterling Main Street | Sterling, IL | Shoppes at Grandon Plaza
Awards for Organization
  • Austin African American Business Networking Association | Austin Area Chicago, IL | When Soul City Met Black Wall Street
  • MainStreet Libertyville | Libertyville, IL | Oktoberfest in Libertyville
  • Calumet Area Industrial Commission | Pullman/Roseland Community Chicago, IL | Community Bike Ride
Awards for Promotion
  • Batavia MainStreet | Batavia, IL | Increased Merchant Engagement & Promotion Strategy
  • Six Corners Association | Portage Park/northwest side Chicago, IL | Go Local – Six Corners
  • The District Quincy | Quincy, IL | Blues in the District Concert Series
Outstanding Volunteers
  • Batavia MainStreet – Suzy Ray
  • Dixon Chamber of Commerce & Main Street – Beautify Dixon – Preservation and Beautification Committee
Volunteer of the Year
  • Greater Freeport Partnership – Devin Mielke
Board Member of the Year
  • Greater Freeport Partnership – Josh Elliott

“Throughout the year, Illinois Main Street communities work tirelessly to build relationships with businesses, property owners and other economic development partners to create a vibrant place for residents and visitors alike,” Jim Miller, Illinois Main Street State Coordinator. “Collectively, these recognitions showcase just a portion of what can be accomplished when using the Main Street Approach™ as a method for economic development.”

The 2023 Illinois Main Street Conference was hosted alongside the Chicago Main Street program, and in partnership with the office of Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the City of Pontiac.

“We are honored to receive this recognition. Sterling has a long-established history in cultivating local entrepreneurship. In developing this retail incubator, we are excited for the opportunities these spaces will be able to provide our community as another tool to help continue to grow the local entrepreneurship pipeline,” said Janna Groharing, executive director for Sterling Main Street.

All projects, activities, or events submitted for recognition must have been completed in 2022 through June 30, 2023. Volunteer nominations reflect an amalgamation of work done with the Main Street organization and community.

Learn more about Illinois Main Street and view a full list of award winners at

Pictured L-R: Dionne Baux, Vice President of Field Services, Neighborhood Commercial Districts, Main Street America; Janna Groharing, Executive Director, Sterling Main Street; Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton
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