elev815 – promoting education and small businesses in the area


Members of elev815 get a backstage tour of Main Street Meats in Roscoe on August 15, 2019. Photo: Jean Seegers

In 2018, a group of about a dozen like-minded Roscoe business owners decided to create a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting small businesses in the area, exchanging information, and supporting youth education opportunities through scholarships.

Being business people, they knew how to put together a plan. The idea was to give back to the Roscoe community and beyond, and to encourage others to do the same.

The name elev815 was chosen, signifying the goal of personal and business elevation in the 815 area.

The first step was becoming a not-for-profit organization. Once accomplished, officers and board members were recruited: 

  • Toni Brown, Stepping Stones Child’s Center - President
  • Jeremy Jones, Covenant Insurance Group- Vice President
  • Keith Wicklund, Cornerstone Financial Planning - Treasurer
  • Marge Bauch, Roscoe Rock & Sand- Secretary

Today elev815 has 64 members and growing. Businesses from Rockton, South Beloit, Beloit, Loves Park, and Rockford are now part of the elev815 family.

“Our goal is to foster relationships that develop into business opportunities,” Wicklund said.

Each month, members (elev8tors) are invited to attend a business open house where old and new friends can network, tour the facility and enjoy refreshments. On Wednesday, September 15, elev8tors are visiting Main Street Cabinets  for a tour of their beautiful showroom and to learn about their business.

Seminars and motivational opportunities such as “Lunch and Learn” are offered throughout the year. In June, Angela Ketelsen, a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty Signature, gave members a market update at Firehouse Pub.

Membership fee is $50 per year. As one of the membership benefits, elev815 promotes and supports each member business through social media, personal contact, and community activities.

Awarding scholarships to Hononegah Community High School seniors has been a major goal. Fundraising events such as pumpkin sales in the fall and Christmas tree sculptures in the winter, plus membership fees and corporate sponsorships, made it possible to award ten $500 scholarships in 2020 and sixteen $500 scholarships in 2021.

The group is hoping to extend the opportunity for scholarships to Harlem High School and South Beloit High School in 2022.

To join elev815, you can download a membership application from the elev815.rocks website, email [email protected] or [email protected], or call 815-494-4131. You can learn more about the group on their Facebook or Instagram pages.

Added bonus! Members of elev815 receive a $50 discount each month when they advertise on Rockton-Roscoe News. For details, email [email protected] or call ‪607-765-4000‬.

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