SYCAMORE – Downtown Sycamore is growing in tenants, thanks to Ryan and Karen Weckerly of Morningstar Media, who are moving their business to the former Knodles Appliance Store on the 200 block of South California Street, and opening a new coffee shop, too.
Sycamore City Council voted in favor Monday to award a $5,000 Downtown Facade Improvement grant to the Weckerlys, who own Morningstar Media, currently at 240 E. Sycamore Street. The Weckerlys will also establish California Street Coffee, which will also have its own roastery, according to a City of Sycamore Facebook post.
Ryan Weckerly is also running for a spot on the Sycamore District 427 Board of Education against board Vice President Steve Nelson.
“What’s exciting about [the project] is the building has been vacant for a number of years, and it will have two different businesses occupy it,” said Brian Gregory, Sycamore city manager. “It helps extend the downtown, and it does have dedicated parking with it.”
According to the council agenda, the Weckerlys recently purchased the former Knodles, which has been vacant for seven years. Knodles Appliance Store is now at 117 S. California St.
In the coming months, the Weckerlys will move their business and plan to conduct a full interior renovation and build-out for Morningstar Media, as well as exterior improvements using the city grant.
According to the agenda, the build-out will include a full interior renovation, and improvements to the building’s exterior, including a new roof, facade, awnings, lighting, paint, and windows.
“Morningstar’s business has been in operation for a number of years in Sycamore,” Gregory said. “When the Weckerlys were planning to make the improvements, they reached out to the city because they knew we had this program.”
The facade improvement program grant is funded through hotel/motel tax revenue, which uses funds that come from visitors to the community for downtown economic development.
“When people come and stay [in Sycamore], the tax that’s generated is put to several different uses,” Gregory said. “And one of them is to transfer to this fund.”
Gregory said the application period for 2020 facade improvement grants will open April 1, and applicants can find the proper forms online at cityofsycamore.com.
The Weckerlys did not respond to requests for comment.