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Taste of Downtown: A Boost for Local Businesses

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 10:18 AM CDT
SPRINGFIELD -- The 15th annual Taste of Downtown is happening tonight in the capital city. The event will showcase 14 food vendors, with more than half being brand new businesses in the Springfield area.

Sille Slices is just one of many participating in their first ever Taste of Downtown event.

"We're super excited about the Taste of Downtown," said Sille Slices owner, Brandon Ellis. "It actually helps promote small businesses, which is great."

Sille Slices is just one of about seven new businesses to come to the city of Springfield within the last year.

Opening their doors and ovens to the public last September, Ellis says it is risky for any new business that is just starting out.

"Every mom and pop shop that has been open for 15-20 years seems to be struggling right now and to be closing up shop," said Ellis. "It was a big risk but I think that we have a really great location and we draw a really great crowd here."

Mom and pop shops like the Dew Chilli Parlor, which opened in 1909, closed their doors in 95' and recently re-opened after an almost 20 year hiatus.

"You know, it's been 20 years, so a lot of history has gone on with the parlor and we get our name out there, let everyone taste our original recipe, and the big thing is keeping it local and letting everyone try what we have," said Kenny Micheletta, Dew Chili Parlor Chief of Operations.

Getting a taste and hoping you will be hooked is why businesses like Dew Chilli Parlor and Sillie Slices take advantage of events like the Taste of Downtown.

"When you have the opportunity over two days to have potentially seven-or-so thousand people come by your booth and sample your product, and you can also hand out menus, business cards and things like that so they can actually go out and visit your restaurant," said Ann Frescura of Downtown Springfield Inc.

The Taste of Downtown brings an estimated seven to eight thousand visitors to the Springfield area, which organizers say continues to grow year by year.

The event begins on 5th Street between Jefferson and Adams at 5 p.m. until midnight Friday, July 11.

It will continues Saturday, July 12 from noon to midnight.Taste of Downtown: A Boost for Local Businesses

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