Alton Main Street Board of Directors
Stephanie Schrage is a lifelong resident of Alton. She has had her eye on Main Street since she first heard of the organization and was very excited to be a part of the process and join the board of directors in January of 2018. As the daughter and grand-daughter of small business owners, she feels that she is familiar with the struggles that local small businesses face and what it takes to overcome them. She wants to help.
She has worked as the practice manager at the Spay and Neuter Clinic in Bethalto since it’s reopening in March of 2015, and her passion for the environment has led her to marketing for Illinois Solar Inc.; a residential and commercial solar company, also in Bethalto. Stephanie is a graduate of Marquette High School and holds a degree liberal arts from Lewis & Clark Community College with a focus in mass communication and public relations. She hopes to bring the community and small business owners together to continue to grow and promote the city and all that it has to offer.
Her previous volunteer experience includes fundraising, promotions, and various community support programs. Animals are a passion of hers as well, and she previously served on the Board of Directors for SNIP Alliance as their Clinic Operations Adviser. You have probably seen her at an event somewhere around downtown with one of her Yorkshire Terriers at some point.
In her free time moments. she enjoys exercising, yoga, gardening, crafting, cooking, and spending time with her pets and family.
It’s been clear since to Chris even before he moved back to Alton that Alton Main Street is the backbone of both the community and business economies of the Riverbend. For years his company, The Mission Center L3C, and AMS have partnered on programming and events that have spurred entrepreneurship and aim to maintain the momentum inspired by The Small Business Revolution.
Chris specializes in community and economic development – specifically, social and commercial entrepreneurship. He’s had the privilege of working with thousands of nonprofits as a community organizer, advisor, founder, and board member and looks forward to bringing his broad base of experience in the nonprofit sector to Alton Main Street.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Science from Truman State University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Political Studies from the University of Illinois, Springfield. He is currently the Director of Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship at University of Missouri-St. Louis, and is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
I have lived in the Riverbend Area for over 20 years; born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., becoming a teenage entrepreneur until my adult life, which lead to wanting my own business.
I have taken my knowledge from corporate America where I have done administrative work, accounts payable, receivable, payroll, design staff development for St Louis Public Schools, open Harrah’s Casino; until the next chapter in my life which lead me to the opening of a retail store in 2011 (Granny’s Uniforms Work Fashions and More!) It’s there I offer a complete line of workwear, nursing scrubs and medical supplies and school uniforms. My pasts experience has played a valid role in my life, I have grown as a small business owner. I love giving back and being a part of this Riverbend town which I have chosen for my location. I like the feel of the community, and felt that I could provide a service that would be an enhancement.
I am looking forward to serving on the board, networking and building a strong relationship with team members. The more interested volunteers there for Alton Main Street, the stronger our community will be. “Because great things happen when people choose to work together”.
Emily Keener lives in Alton with her husband Nate, daughters Violet and Meera, and dog Frank! Emily is an instructional designer at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she plays a behind-the-scenes role in instilling the values of SIUE – citizenship, excellence, inclusion, integrity, and wisdom – in thousands of students each year. Emily loves spending time outside, playing with her daughters, squeezing in a short story here and there, and exploring the hidden gems around Alton.
Organization Committee Chair
Roger was born in Alton and raised in Wood River. After graduating from SIUE he worked in clinic administration at the SIU School of Dental Medicine. From there he moved into the legal field where he spent his career as a paralegal and executive assistant in four law firms, the primary one being Simmons Hanly Conroy where he worked for twenty years.
Roger has lived in East Alton, Cincinnati, Atlanta, St. Louis and Edwardsville. He moved to Alton in 2011 and declares Alton is where he is supposed to be. With a deep appreciation for the people, the history and the future Alton offers he embraces his involvement with Alton Main Street.
Having volunteered with numerous charity events and nonprofit organizations over the years, he now serves on many boards, and is an emeritus board member of Jacoby Arts Center. Formerly an amateur artist indulging in ink sketches, oil painting and watercolors, Roger maintains an interest in art. He is also an avid reader, automobile enthusiast, and a lifelong student of mindfulness and meditation.
Organization Committee Vice-Chair
Team Building Committee Vice-Chair
Design Committee Chair
Rachel Lappin is an Alton native and lover of art and #OurAlton. As Jacoby Art Center’s Executive Director her mission is to engage imaginations and enrich lives in our community through the arts. Her work with Alton Main Street as Design Committee Chair is an extension of her mission at Jacoby. She brings to this work her experience as an artist with a Bachelors of Fine Art in Metalsmithing and Museum Studies and over 10 years of organizational development and communications experience.
Promotions Committee Chair
Sydnie Rushing grew up in Brighton, Illinois, where she attended Southwestern High School. She continued her education at Eastern Michigan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising. For the last 10 years she has put her career focus in women’s specialty retail and management. In 2019 she opened Rushmore, a brick and mortar women’s clothing store in Downtown Alton. She and her husband, Steve, love living in Downtown Alton where they get to enjoy all that Alton has to offer.
Promotions Committee Vice-Chair
Originally hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Michael attended Indiana University and the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. His past work experience includes City Museum in St. Louis, land surveying, Harley Davidson mechanic, and home remodeling. Michael moved to Alton in 2003, and is currently a full time Artist on earth to spread good will and peace. Michael’s specialty is assembling large interactive and conversational works from items found in nature and found objects which have often been discarded.
His involvement with Alton Main Street has given him the opportunity to collaborate with others that share creative and forward-thinking ideas, and continue Alton’s evolution as a funny, quirky, artsy and poetic place that is a destination for creators of all types.
Economic Vitality Committee Chair
Jackie began her career at the Telegraph in Alton, Illinois twenty years ago. After learning the dynamics of marketing and advertising, she moved to the automotive sales division at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A few years later, she was managing that 22-million-dollar division through the biggest shift in the newspaper industry as automotive dealers around the country were filing bankruptcy. In the observation that the landscape was changing, she moved through various divisions helping to strategically grow with mergers in the recruitment, retail, and classified division. She managed the growth of Stltoday.com, contributing to a 10-million-dollar growth program.
Over the next several years, Jackie would manage the digital divisions at 11 radio stations across St. Louis with a team of over 50 sales reps across the radio brands. She also invested time learning the dynamic of television as she worked at Fox 2 News. With her passion to really understand how to grow companies, she launched her own marketing agency. This created opportunities for her work with many communities on big projects such as the Great Race in Kirkwood and with every media company across the St. Louis Metro area. During this time, Jackie served on the Board of Directors for the Kirkwood/Des Peres Chamber of Commerce.
She has worked as a media seller in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, radio, television and all emerging digital technologies. She also experienced the other side of the table as a media buyer for many companies across the region and the country. Once she sold her marketing agency, she worked with a high-level team of entrepreneurs to help the city of Alton with the Alton Encore group.
Over the last several years, Jackie has invested her time in helping to build an international preparatory academy. She traveled the world recruiting students to travel to the U.S. to further their education in the United States. She currently teaches an economics and entrepreneur program at a preparatory academy. Her economics class focuses on teaching students real world skills with a process of selecting a job, housing and living situation and applying it in a real working budget. The entrepreneurship class builds real companies with emphasis on driving revenue and overcoming challenges that every business owner faces. With this effort, she understands what it really takes to build a company’s marketing plan to get results on a very limited budget.
Today, she owns multiple companies that include a digital agency and media corporation. She is the owner and publisher of the Collinsville Daily News. Her passion is to lock arms with a community and help business owners from every background find creative solutions to tell their story and grow their company.
Economic Vitality Committee Vice-Chair
Hugh Halter moved to Alton in 2016 and renovated the old post office into Post Commons. Hugh is the president of Lantern Network which is the non-profit umbrella for Post Commons and other micro business ventures such as Ground Works co-working space, Idle Roasting Co., Commons Yoga, PC events and Cafe, Ground Floor Collective photography studio, Shift Marketing Agency, Harbor Music Label, and Soul Craft. Lantern and Post Commons loves to be the ‘living room’ for Alton and give space to anyone who needs a place to gather, connect, work, or just enjoy a cup of coffee.
Sara McGibany has been the Executive Director of Alton Main Street since December of 2006. She graduated from Marquette Catholic High school and holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology. Besides working on various events and projects that promote and improve Downtown Alton, Sara also enjoys serving on the Board of Directors for the Mustard Seed Peace Project, and the Steering Committee of the Upper Alton Association. She enjoys volunteering for environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, and is an avid community gardener. Sara has been active in Alton’s Community Policing strategy and in the Community Builders Network of St. Louis. In 2018 she was elected to a seat on the Democratic Precinct Committee, and in 2019 she was appointed to the Community Development Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Her spare time is spent playing guitar with her bands, as well as creating clothing, jewelry and paintings.
Betsy Allen – 1st Ward Alderwoman
Ray Strebel – 3rd Ward Alderman
Lori Bockholdt – Deputy Comptroller, City of Alton
Debbie Frakes – Upper Alton Association
Zeke Jabusch – North Alton-Godfrey Business Council
In Loving Memory of Yvonne Campbell
Board Member 2021-2022
Yvonne Campbell was the owner and operator of My Just Desserts, a destination restaurant in Downtown Alton known for having the best pie along the river road! Their historic building dates back to 1845, My Just Desserts opened its doors in 1989, and the business was purchased by Yvonne in 2018 after spending most of her adult life as an employee there. She expanded their specialty retail offerings with a spice shop and kitchenware, and the restaurant boasts over 150 recipes that make up their daily lunch specials which rotate on a monthly basis. Yvonne graduated from Alton High School and earned a culinary degree at Southwestern Illinois College. Tragically, our friend lost her life in an automobile accident while vacationing in Jamaica in 2022. She will be forever in our hearts and memories, and her legacy restaurant lives on operated by her friends and family.