Tag Archives: Leslie Flint

New Chamber president ready to step up

Editor’s Note: Leslie Flint is the Design Director of the Elburn Herald.
by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Supporting a community isn’t difficult when you enjoy the people and the town. Leslie Flint will take over the reins as president of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce in January.

“She’s been a very dedicated and active member and leader in the chamber for years,” former Chamber president Bob Britz said. “She’s never been afraid to step up and take the initiative to see the job through. If only all chamber members were that active.”

For the past nine years, Flint has been volunteering her time and energy to help promote businesses in Elburn. She has been active in organizing the annual pork chop dinner, the Christmas Stroll and the Day in the Park, along with many other chamber events. She has also acted as Vice President of Marketing and then Vice President of Committees.

“I like helping out with community events,” said Flint, who is the Design Director at the Elburn Herald. “It’s an easy way to meet people and get involved.”

Growing up in the Kaneland area, Flint was active in 4-H, volleyball and softball. It wasn’t until she started working at the Elburn Herald that a co-worker who was active in the chamber asked Leslie to help with events.

“Growing up in a large family, it’s not hard to get to know people. We enjoy being supportive of the community. It’s something we value,” Flint said.

Flint summarizes the skills she has honed over the years of handling events into two necessary elements.

“Organization is key, and getting volunteers. If you’ve got that, you can put on any event,” Flint said. “If you can get people excited about an event, you can get them to volunteer. It doesn’t take a lot of time or labor (to volunteer). It just takes an hour here and an hour there.”

With those persuasive skills in tow, Flint has succeeded in orchestrating not only events that volunteers can get excited about, but also a vision for businesses in Elburn.

“Obviously, we want to bring more businesses to town. It’s hard to do, so we ask ‘What can we do for you?’” Flint said. “This year I want to work on getting businesses to work with each other. We want to work on businesses cross-promoting.”

Flint cites Paisano’s Pizza and Grill as being exemplary in both giving back to the community and joining with other businesses and helping them out.

She also says that the chamber has been working on improving its communication with the village and the Lion’s Club. She said that the organizations now talk freely and can coordinate efforts.

Even though the chamber has taken a hit in the last few years, especially last year’s Day in the Park fundraiser for the fireworks, she looks forward to taking the time to revise its goals.

“Now’s the time to regroup, to try to get some new volunteers to help with events that don’t cost much to put on,” Flint said. “We want to come up with a new game plan. We want to offer something for the community but not kill the chamber in the meantime.”

No fireworks for Elburn, without a new sponsor

Chamber cancels Day in the Park
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—It costs money to put on a free event: $16,000, to be exact, when you’re talking about paying to execute the Day in the Park and the fireworks display in Elburn.

Day in the Park has taken place every weekend after July 4 but one since 1997. Sponsored by the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, it has been a chance for people to enjoy a day of free, family-oriented activities at Lions Park and stay to watch the fireworks at night.

However, because of the event’s cost, the Elburn Chamber of Commerce is saying “no, thanks,” to staging Day in the Park in 2011. The chamber recently suspended its sponsorship and has no solid plans to start up the event again in the foreseeable future.

“We took a $6,000 hit this year,” Day in the Park chairperson and Elburn Herald Design Director Leslie Flint said. “Unfortunately, it rained on Sunday afternoon, and we weren’t able to charge for parking. We usually bring in $5,000 to $7,000 from parking. We asked ourselves, ‘Is it worth losing the chamber for the fireworks?’ We decided it wasn’t.”

Besides the $10,000 the chamber needs to pay for the fireworks, the organization requires even more money to pay for portable toilets, trash receptacles, park rental, and insurance for Day in the Park. Police protection and traffic control, alone, cost $1,000. Add that to the work involved in putting on the event, and the event takes a toll on chamber members

“We put in a lot of hours, a lot of time and a lot of money, and with no gain to the chamber,” Flint said. “We have never made money, but we’ve at least broken even, and we’re OK with that.”

The chamber itself survives on membership dues from local businesses and events like Aleburn, mud volleyball at Elburn Days, an annual golf outing and a winter dinner. Due to the weak economy, the organization has seen the business donations it usually counts on dwindle.

“It’s always been a fight to get money to do the fireworks,” Flint said. “We’ve seen fewer and fewer volunteers, fewer donation and lesser amounts in the donations we receive. There are only so many things you can do to raise money without stepping on the toes of other groups.”

The chamber put on two pork chop dinners in an attempt to raise funds for Day in the Park expenses. Flint said while it’s a good way to benefit both the Lions Club and the chamber, the Chamber only makes $2.50 on each dinner.

“We have to sell a lot of pork chops to make $16,000,” she said.

Despite efforts to get the word out about how expensive this free event is to put on, the results were disappointing, as were some comments the chamber received after this year’s event.

“We put forth effort over the last two to three years and put in a lot of work,” Flint said. “It’s been disappointment to everyone in the chamber. It’s disappointing to hear the negative feedback; that people would complain about a free event. We can’t change the weather.”

The chamber will not stand in the way of any other organization that wants to assume sponsorship of Day in the Park in the future.

“We don’t want to deprive Elburn of fireworks,” Flint said. “If someone comes up with a check for $15,000, why would we not have the event?”

Annual Aleburn set for Saturday

by David Maas
ELBURN—The Elburn Chamber of Commerce, the Elburn American Legion and the Elburn Herald will host the third annual Aleburn beer and wine event Saturday, Sept. 18. It is an Oktoberfest-style event.

“It’s a fun little beer garden, and a fun way to spend the afternoon,” said Leslie Flint, coordinator for the event.

Aleburn will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Elburn American Legion Hall on Main Street in downtown Elburn. Admission is free, and parking is available throughout downtown Elburn.

In the beer garden, offerings will include light beer, Sam Adams Octoberfest beer and a wine selection. Local food vendors, including Ream’s Elburn Market and Paisano’s Pizza and Grill will be present, selling brats, cheddarwurst, pizza and other food items ranging from $2 to $5.

Aleburn also will feature live music, raffles, a bags tournament and Touch-a-Truck.

The bags tournament will take place at 3 p.m., with sign-up starting at 2 p.m. A $30 entry fee is required for each two-person team.

Touch-a-Truck is an activity for kids, featuring fire trucks, ambulances, tractors and other vehicles children may climb aboard. Children also will have an opportunity to meet local firefighters.

A new Aleburn feature this year is a barbecue cook-off, a contest starting on Saturday morning. Anyone from Kane or DeKalb counties may participate. The winner will receive a cash prize. The entry fee is $25. Pre-registration is required. Call the Elburn Chamber of Commerce at (630) 365-2295.

Beer and wine event
2 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 18
Elburn American Legion
parking lot
Free admission

Day in the Park, fireworks are back

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Because of public support, the Elburn Chamber of Commerce can once again host its fireworks and Day in the Park at Lions Park, with this summer’s event taking place Sunday, July 11.

The fireworks had run continuously since 1997, but when there was not enough funding in 2009, the chamber could not hold Day in the Park.

This year, the chamber got the word out that the event would not return unless it could raise enough money for the fireworks. People responded generously, attending the chamber’s porkchop fundraisers and donating money in canisters at downtown Elburn businesses. [quote]

“The public was more aware that they wanted it (back) this year,” said Day in the Park Committee Chair Leslie Flint.

As a result, the chamber raised most of the $10,000 needed to stage the fireworks and will make up the balance through Day in the Park vendor-booth rentals and parking fees.

New at the event will be a health fair. In addition, a SummerFest sponsored by Dr. David Foss of Vital Chiropractic will feature water balloons, a bubble station, Baggos and corn toss, a magician and balloon artist, face painting, coloring, the Smoke House by the Elburn Fire Department and finger printing. By having a Fun Card stamped by each vendor, kids will receive free popcorn and snow cones and admission to the fun station with a moon jump.

Among the festival’s food vendors will be Suzie’s Fun Foods and Hill’s Country Store.

Flint said approximately 2,000 people attend the event each year, with people watching the fireworks at the park at dusk and lining the sidewalks to see the show with their neighbors.

Admission at the park is free, with a $5 parking charge.

Letter: Elburn fireworks still needs help

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who made the Pork Chop Dinner on March 31 such a great success. Through the generosity of the Elburn Community and its friends, we were able to raise just under $1,400 which will go towards the Day in the Park fireworks display for this year. Through the 540 tickets sold, we were also able to donate 41 meal tickets to the Elburn Food Pantry.

At this point the chamber has reached their half-way point of the $10,000 goal. So it will take a joint effort of the community and the businesses to keep Day in the Park alive. We only have two months left, and could really use your help.

The next Pork Chop Dinner will be on Wednesday, June 23, with pick-up from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore St., Elburn. Tickets are available now at the chamber and select Elburn businesses for $12 each. Our goal for this dinner is 800 tickets, and I think with your help, we can easily reach that goal.

All profits go towards the fireworks. If you are unable to purchase Pork Chop Dinner tickets, but would like to donate money, please call the Chamber office.

Every little bit helps.

We are also looking for volunteers to join the Day in the Park committee as well. It is a great way to share ideas for fundraising ideas, or volunteer your time. The next Day in the Park meeting, will be at noon on Monday, June 7, at American Bank and Trust in downtown Elburn. Anyone interested in joining should e-mail me at ads@elburnherald.com or call (630) 365-6446.

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce is a volunteer-driven organization committed to serving local businesses and helping to foster a spirit of community in the Elburn area.

For more information on the Pork Chop Dinner or the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, feel free to call the Chamber office at (630) 365-2295 or e-mail us at info@elburn.com.

Leslie Flint
Day in the Park Committee Chairman

Day in the Park cancelled due to lack of funds

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Chamber of Commerce has hosted a fireworks display and Day in the Park each summer since 1997. But this year, the organization will not put on the celebration because of a shortage of sponsorships, Chamber President Bill Brauer said Tuesday.

“We regretfully decided to pull the event. We waited as long as we could, hoping for a last-minute donation,” Brauer said.

The chamber needed $15,000 to $20,000 for the fireworks and Day in the Park it had planned for July 5 at Lions Park.

“To have the event, you need that kind of funding, and we weren’t even half-way there,” Brauer said.

The Day in the Park typically features entertainment, carnival games and food, followed by the evening fireworks.

Costs are for bands, set-up, sound system, park rental and the fireworks, which is the biggest expense, Brauer said.

Chamber member Leslie Flint said the fireworks already had been scaled back in recent years because of cost. The organization used to spend $20,000 on the display alone.

The economy kept some consistent sponsors from helping out.

“They said they couldn’t do it this year,” Brauer said.

Photo: Residents take in the 2007 Day in the Park fireworks display. The event, which has been held for 12 years the Sunday after the 4th of July at Lion’s Park in Elburn, was canceled this year due to lack of funds. File Photo

Editorial: Elburn Herald recognized for advertising excellence

Each year, Illinois newspapers compete in the Illinois Press Association’s Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Contest.

This year, reflecting on the advertising and marketing efforts made in 2008, the Elburn Herald had its best year at the annual conference.

Under the direction of Design Director Leslie Flint, the Elburn Herald’s two-person ad design department earned 10 awards in total. Newspapers compete against their fellow papers within their division, broken down by frequency of distribution and circulation.

The Elburn Herald competed in Division A, earning three first-place awards, four second-place awards, one third-place award, and two honorable mention. Overall, the Elburn Herald earned 31 points, just two shy of overall division winner, The Village Voices.

Flint earned first place in the most important award given to an individual, Best Ad Designer. The judges comment, “Solid design work; nice commercial print jobs.”

She and photographer/ad designer John DiDonna combined to earn first place in the most importment award granted to a design staff, Advertising Excellence. “A very clean, neat product. All ads were sharp and easy to read. Good use of color and good registration,” the judges commented.

Flint also garnered first-place honors in the Best Small Ad category, for a happy second birthday ad. “Great use of the whole picture; very readable, very creative,” read the judges’ comments.

Flint earned second-place honors for a Dynamic Tanning ad in the Best Full Color Ad category, as well as third place in the Best Small Ad category for a Trim Craft ad, and an honorable mention in the Best Ad Less Than a Full Page category for Dynamic Tanning.

The staff of the Elburn Herald worked together to earn second-place awards in Best Shared/Signature Page, for its Inside/Outside promotion. In addition, the staff earned second for Best Classified Section, as well as Best Community Focus Special Section for its 100-year anniversary commemorative section. The staff also earned an honorable mention in the Best Community Focus Special Section category for its Summer Guide section.

All in all, we at the Elburn Herald are both happy and proud of everyone involved in the advertising, marketing and printing processes. Because the newspaper is predominantly funded through advertising revenue, it is essential that the product looks clean, that the ads are creative, inviting and readable, and that both the reader and the advertising partner are satisfied with the product at the end of the day.

Because of people like Design Director Leslie Flint, we are able to not only meet those goals, but exceed them.

There are few people who can combine a high level of skill both in terms of efficiency and creativity; people who can overachieve in terms of the quantity and quality of their work are rare and highly valuable.

That is why the Elburn Herald is lucky to have such dedicated members of the team like Leslie Flint and John DiDonna.

Thank you for serving the Elburn Herald and our communities so well.

Maintaining Mayberry

Elburn wants to keep historic downtown alive
by Martha Quetsch
Many Elburn residents wish their historic downtown was still as bustling as Mayberry. In response, locals have adopted strategies to make it happen.

The latest initiative to boost downtown vitality is the Shop Elburn First program, which the village is working on with the Elburn Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s to promote businesses and let residents know what we have here,” Community Development Director Erin Willrett said.

Through the program, residents will receive coupons for local shopping, highlights about new and existing businesses, and information about how retail sales tax can help the village. The promotional materials will be enclosed in residents’ water bills, so the program will not require mailing costs.

“It’s all about getting the word out,” Willrett said.

Panel’s advice pans out
Elburn was the subject of a study on growth planning conducted in 2004 by the Technical Assistance Panel of Campaign for Sensible Growth. As part of the study, residents shared with the panel characteristics they wanted to preserve in Elburn, one being the village’s hometown “Mayberry” atmosphere.

The fictional TV community of Mayberry, which some people compare to Elburn, had a barber shop and a diner downtown, just like Elburn does. Mayberry also had a lot of other stores, including a pharmacy and a grocery, which downtown Elburn no longer has.

After Jewel-Osco opened at Route 38 and Main in 2007, downtown Elburn lost two retailers, Gliddon’s Pharmacy and The Grocery Store, both in the 500 block of North Main Street. Another store in the same block, Sears appliance store, shut down in 2008 after less than two years in business.

The advisory panel suggested that the downtown not try to compete with new big-box stores; instead, the village should promote a niche market in its historic business district, keeping it vital with specialty shops.

Indeed, stores that specialize have fared well in downtown Elburn, while other non-niche shops have struggled or closed. Among those specialty-shop successes are Ream’s Meat Market and Party Animals. Ream’s owner Randy Ream’s decision to specialize in sausages has been a boon for business, he said. Party Animals, a gift shop that also hosts children’s parties, is doing so well that its owner, Cindy Thul, moved it down the block last fall to a larger space at 166 N. Main, the former Gliddon’s.

More measures designed to boost retail
To ensure that if retailers want to open in Elburn they have prime space including downtown sites, the village adopted a new ordinance in 2008. The ordinance prohibits new financial institutions from locating in prime retail sites or within 1,000 feet of the same type of business. The village’s goal is to keep retail space available for stores and restaurants that will produce sales tax and draw people to town, Planning Commission Chairman Pat Schuberg said. The village already has five banks in Elburn, and two others are slated for construction.

To make the downtown more attractive to new businesses, the village several years ago started a façade improvement program. Through the program, the village splits the cost with business owners for improving their storefronts.

Organizations help promote downtown
Elburn Lions Club is doing its part to bring more people to the downtown. In 2007, the Elburn Lions Club hosted a farmer’s market every Sunday during the summer at Lions Park. Opening the farmer’s market was among suggestions four years ago from the Technical Assistance Panel for community revitalization. The Lions had such success with the first farmer’s market that the club brought it back again in 2008.

The chamber created a new event in 2008, Aleburn. Chamber member Leslie Flint said the beer festival last fall had a good turnout, so the organization may hold it again this year.

Photo: By Sarah Rivers