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Get to know our 2020 Local First Springfield award nominees!

As our third annual Local First Springfield Awards are fast approaching, we want to take the opportunity to highlight the 2020 nominees. In place of the event, canceled due to COVID-19, we will drop a video on Facebook on September 17 to announce our winners and thank our generous sponsors.

This award is for the members that are new businesses in operation and already turning heads.

Serious Lip Balm

Serious Lip Balm was started accidentally by two chicks who had no business starting a business. We did not mean for all of this to happen. We never researched market trends and heck, neither of us has ever been to business school. Serious Lip Balm was born with the idea that we wanted to make some kick-ass gifts to give to some kick-ass people. And we did not settle down until that lip balm was perfect.

Once we figured out the formula for (what we believe is) the most fabulous lip balm, we ventured into the lip scrub arena. Followed by healing balm, paw balm, lotion bars, whipped body butter, nipple balm, a balm to help smoosh faced dogs, etc. We never create a product that has a bunch of nonsense things that you cannot pronounce on the label, and e never release a product until we feel like it is better than what is already available.

It went from some awesome lip balms given to close friends and family and has become a thriving business with 70-ish different scents of lip balms, ten products, and sold in retail locations from Colorado to Washington, DC. Despite its growth, it remains a business that strives to give something great to people that mean the world to us.

We are all about making body products with simple ingredients as well as doing good in our community and world. We partner with a rehabilitation center that employs people who might otherwise have a hard time getting jobs. We are also involved with a foundation that educates folks about breast cancer, and another that supports families whose children are in the NICU.

We did not mean for Serious Lip Balm to happen, but we are holding on with both hands and enjoying this ride.

Three Twigs Bakery

Emily launched Three Twigs Bakery in Springfield in 2017 at just 23 years of age. Three Twigs is the recipient of several awards, including finalists for the SJR Readers Choice Awards in the category of Best Cupcakes, Best Dessert (Local), Best Donuts, and Best Pie/Cake.

Three Twigs Bakery offers made from scratch baked goods, using the highest quality local (wherever possible) ingredients. The vegan and gluten-free items options at Three Twigs Bakery are not just a business decision or trend, but come from a passion to delicious pasties that everyone can enjoy.

Emily works closely with other local businesses to support their endeavors and their businesses succeed, and to help put food on their tables.

Three Twigs Hospitality Group includes Three Twigs Bakery, Biscuits + Brunch, and The Salted Lemon.

AK Boutique

AK Boutique is an upscale resale destination dedicated to a tidy, atmospheric retail experience, meaningful relationships with customers, and conscious and ethical consumption.

Whimsy Tea Company

At Whimsy Tea Company, we believe that tea is a lifestyle. It offers us an opportunity to calm our minds and spirits while nourishing our bodies. Whimsy Tea Company provides the highest quality of teas, herbal infusions, and tea-infused products to everyone with the utmost convenience. We give our customers access to high quality, fair-trade teas, and an entire range of health and beauty products featuring the absolute best the botanical world has to offer.

This award is for members where a positive social impact is at the core of their purpose. They are creating opportunities to address social issues and better our world.

Cured Catering

Catering does not have to be boring, and it should not be. Business owner Brian Reilly takes a fresh approach to the often stale catering market. Relying on skills honed in over 20 years of management, hospitality, and special event services, Brian set out to create a fusion of fresh foods with artistic and engaging displays. The result was Cured Catering.

Serious Lip Balm

See above

Lake Area Disposal & Recycling

Lake Area Disposal & Recycling was founded in 1932 by the Donald E. Crenshaw Sr. family.

More than eight decades later, Lake Area Disposal & Recycling is the oldest and largest locally owned waste disposal service in Springfield and Sangamon County.

Lake Area Disposal & Recycling believes its customers are its greatest asset.

This award is for members that have worked together, developed, and achieved a successful collaboration.

Capital City Event Planning & Sangamon Reclaimed

Sangamon Reclaimed, owned by Brian Frieze, and Capital City Event Planning, owned by Sarah Croft, are a fantastic example of two-member businesses that have worked together, developed, and achieved a successful collaboration.

On November 30, 2019, the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, Sangamon Reclaimed hosted its first and highly successful Makers Market. The Makers Market featured local independent businesses, a Kidzeum of Health & Science make and take workshop assisted photos with Santa Claus, and drinks for purchase from Just the Basics Mobile Bar.

The Makers Market, which was a free event and open to the public, celebrated the ever-growing maker movement in Springfield in the run-up to the Holidays. Springfield residents and those visiting family at Thanksgiving welcomed the opportunity to get out, shop, grab some food, and a cocktail.

Brian and Sarah identified so many talented makers in our area - Sarah and Brian have worked with several makers on projects for clients - and the Makers Market was a great way to highlight these craftsmen and women.

Brian and Sarah believe strongly about investing in and supporting local independent businesses like their own.

Johnson & Johnson and Bailey Family Insurance

At Johnson and Johnson Auto Service Center, we are family owned and operated. Carolyn is the fourth generation that works alongside her father. We are almost 90 years.

Christine and Mark Bailey opened Bailey Family Insurance in January 2017. They have been pursuing their mission of, loving the community through protection and education, and take great pride in doing insurance differently because of their passion for helping people. Specializing in home, auto, life, and commercial, they can shop you with multiple carriers to find the right coverage at the best price to suit your unique insurance needs. Welcome to the BFI Family echoes through the office regularly, as they treat employees and clients and their own.

Adams Family:

Café Moxo

Just The Basics

Itty Bitty Fashion Trunk

Kidzeum of Health & Science

Buzz Bomb Brewing

We are a collaboration of five different businesses, creating together to support all things local.

This award is for members that have applied innovative solutions to overcome obstacles and experienced positive change as a result.

Illinois SBDC at Lincoln Land Community College

The mission statement of the Illinois Small Business Development Center network effectively captures what the organization does. “Providing Guidance for Business Growth,” sums up succinctly what the advisors and staff of Illinois SBDCs across the state do for their clients. From feedback on the price of rib tips (an actual request) to assist in securing million-dollar loans (a regular occurrence), clients of the ISBDC receive the advice and counsel they need to make their business plans and dreams reality.

The local office, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College, has adopted a motto that carries that mission even further. To inform people how the Center can help, we remind people interested in starting a business, as well as those already in business, don’t try to go it alone.

.One of the selling points of running your own business: that you get to make your own decisions, ironically also means that you are the only one there who can make decisions. Even those people closest to a small business owner seldom understand the burdens, pressures, and demands that come with turning on the open sign every day.

We hope no business owner in Central Illinois ever feels that way. The Illinois Small Business Development Center exists to guide people at all stages in their business process. Since the Center locally is funded by the US Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Lincoln Land Community College, and Small Business Growth Corporation, nearly all the services are no charge to our clients.


Engrained Brewery & Restaurant is a small and independent farm to table brewpub. Engrained is built on the concept that business can and should be about more than making a profit, that businesses can do good. The four cornerstones are sustainability (minimizing environmental impact), sourcing local, sourcing natural (the way mother nature intended it), and creating a positive culture where the employee experience is our number one focus.

Springfield Electric Lighting & Design

Springfield Electric Lighting & Design has applied innovative solutions to change with the trends and needs of our customers. As a result, the business, its associate owners, customers, and the community have experienced positive change.

The locally owned and operated independent business, with showrooms in Springfield, Bloomington, and Champaign, cater to residential and light commercial markets. Although processes and procedures may be different for each, the goal is always the same – happy customers.

This award is for established member businesses setting the standard for their industry in and around the city.

The Storyteller Studios

The Storyteller Studios is a premium service, which is why clients choose to work with Josh and the team; because of the quality of work they do.

The Storyteller Studios specializes in video for websites and landing pages. These are story-driven messages designed to tell the story of small business products and services. 80% of visitors on websites watch video, but only 20% read text. Clients can get their message in front of the right people.

The Storyteller Studios’ approach to video is all about authenticity. In Josh’s own words, “Americans have been marketed to in the same way for 50 years, but our work is about genuinely connecting with people and getting away from scripted narration and putting passion and culture on display.”

AlignLife of Springfield Chiropractic & Natural Health Center

We are a natural health center that offers services of chiropractic care, muscle rehabilitation, massage therapy, nutritional support, and acupuncture to help our patients reach their health goals.


INB provides a full range of traditional banking services to individuals, businesses, and government entities and operates from 13 branches and a remittance processing center. The bank is locally-owned, privately held, and led by a team of shareholders, directors, and senior managers who all reside in central Illinois.

Rogers HR Consulting

Rogers HR Consulting (RHRC) was founded by Donna Rogers Skowronski in January of 2001 as a sole proprietor doing business as (DBA) Donna Rogers Consulting. Soon after, the company name was changed and a logo designed to identify as it is today, almost twenty years later. Since that time, RHRC won the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Home-Based Business of the Year award in 2008. In 2017, RHRC was recognized by United Community Bank and the Springfield Business Journal as one of the 15 Under 15 recognizing excellence in small business. While the company focuses primarily on providing human resources services from a business to business perspective, it has also enhanced the career and resume search skills of individual job-seeking clients over the years. RHRC has an existing client base of over 150 clients, primarily in the central Illinois area, expanding throughout the state and country. The owner is highly skilled, educated, and maintains three certifications in human resources management.


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