Elev815 welcomes After the Vine wine boutique and Live R.E.A.L Foundation


Wanda Albert, elev815 president Toni Brown, and Heather Dobnick enjoyed a glass of wine at the After the Vine wine shop, 163 Hawick St. in Rockton. The after-hours event on Thursday evening, April 28, welcomed new elev815 members, Connie Kieffer (After the Vine) and members of Live R.E.A.L. organization.

After the Vine and Live R.E.A.L are new members of elev815. They combined forces on Thursday evening, April 28, to educate elev815 members and friends about how they got started and what their businesses offer the public.

Bev Pomering started the Live R.E.A.L program after the death of her son, Alex. About three years ago, Alex passed away due to a drug overdose. Pomering wanted to keep her son’s memory alive and bring awareness of drug addiction and the consequences of abusing drugs.

Although Pomering was unable to attend the after-hours gathering, Chris Doering, president of the organization, spoke on her behalf.

Doering said Alex was his son’s best friend. “Alex was like a son to me, in and out of our home all the time.”

Doering joined the Live R.E.A.L board to be part of a mission to decrease the number of deaths from the rampant drug epidemic now taking place and to help erase the stigma of mental illness and dependency.

The organization offers free Narcan training sessions. Volunteers are taught how to use Narcan kits. Narcan is used for opioid overdoses and can save a life.

Doering said a grief group meets the second Monday of each month, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Hope Evangelical Free Church, 5656 Elevator Rd in Roscoe.

A benefit concert, Rockin for Live R.E.A.L, is scheduled for Sept. 24, at the District Bar and Grill in Rockford.

Connie Kieffer, owner of the After the Vine wine boutique, talked about how her wine shop came to be.

Kieffer said she had been employed in county government for 36 years. “I was looking to start my own business in Rockton.”

“First, I was thinking of opening a coffee shop, but after Dee Dee’s opened, I decided to open a wine shop instead.”

Stenstrom Construction owns the buildings along the east side of Hawick Street. Several stores have opened in the shopping area, directly across from Settlers Park. Kieffer liked the location and decided to open her shop there.

She said Stenstrom was very helpful in building out the space. The shop features a warm and eclectic décor and a large assortment of wines. Tasting events and wine by the glass or bottle are available.

The shop is located at 163 Hawick St. in Rockton and is open 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 11:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday during the summer months.

elev815 spotlights local business events throughout the year. The organization’s focus is to help and encourage small business in the area, and to support education. Each year, elev815 sponsors college and trade school scholarships for graduating high school students.

Connie Kieffer is the owner of After the Vine, 163 Hawick St. in Rockton. The wine shop offers a wide selection of wine by the glass or the bottle. elev815 hosted an after -hours social event, Thursday evening, April 28, to learn how Live R.E.A.L, a not-for-profit drug prevention organization, and the After the Vine wine shop got their start.

Chris Doering, president of Live R.E.A.L, talked about drug addiction and the efforts of founder Bev Pomering to bring about public awareness of the problem.  (L - R) Chris Doering, Christine Doering, Lori Taylor, and Bob Nowicki were at elev815's April 28 event held at After the Vine in Rockton.

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