Beautique Crowned Best Holiday Wreath

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street challenged local businesses to a holiday wreath decorating competition, and the results are a-door-able. The gauntlet was thrown on November 27th when over 30 downtown merchants signed on to take part in the holiday challenge. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street posted photos on social media and asked followers to “like” the photo to vote for their favorite wreath. Over 1,500 people responded, and ultimately Beautique salon was crowned the winner.

Holiday wreath decorating started as a way to draw attention to locally-owned stores and encourage shoppers to “Shop Small” this holiday season. Home to more than 100 locally-owned businesses, Downtown Lee’s Summit is a destination for shoppers looking for a special, unique gift or experience.

Rachael Dellaguardia, esthetician at Beautique, was the creative genius behind their wreath design. “I wanted to give it a Christmas ‘glam’ look with luscious lashes of its own,” said Dellaguardia. Owner of Beautique, Katie Stanfield, expressed her appreciation, saying “we love the downtown community and all the shops lining the streets; it’s simply home for us and we love watching it grow.” Guests looking for lash extensions or a fun new ‘do for the holidays can visit the staff at Beautique, located at 324 SE Green Street in Downtown Lee’s Summit.

To view all 33 wreaths designed by downtown merchants, visit

Pictured below is the The Beautique staff Christmas card. Pictured left to right: Katie Stanfield, Jami Burton, Rachael Dellaguardia, and Paige Leible.

Mayor’s Tree Lighting, Santa’s Arrival is Friday, Nov. 17 in Downtown Lee’s Summit

Santa will make his debut in Downtown Lee’s Summit on Friday, Nov. 17 for the annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting. This event is presented by Security Bank of Kansas City. Other sponsors include Summit Video Services, Cable Dahmer Kia, and the Lee’s Summit Journal. The holiday lights will remain on through the first week in January.

Dr. David Zak, owner of Zak Chiropractic in Downtown Lee’s Summit, will join Mayor Rhoads on stage to flip the switch to light downtown in over 100,000 sparkling lights. For the last 29 years, Dr. Zak has volunteered thousands of hours to coordinate the holiday lights in Downtown Lee’s Summit. The lights will be turned on at approximately 6:45 p.m. in Howard Station Park, and Santa will arrive via fire truck immediately following. Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Mark Alford, morning anchor with Fox 4 News.

Free hot apple cider and cookies will be served prior to the lighting while supplies last. Children can begin lining up to visit Santa at 6 p.m. The Lee’s Summit Elementary School Cougar Choir will entertain the crowd with holiday favorites at 6:30 p.m. prior to Santa’s arrival.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will make their grand entrance to Howard Station Park at 7:00 p.m. and will stay for visits with children until approximately 9 p.m. Parents may bring a camera to take photos with Santa. Carriage rides also will be offered for a small fee next to Equity Bank at SE Main and Third Street. Over two dozen Downtown businesses will stay open late for holiday shopping.

Participating businesses include:

  • @jolly’s
  • A Thyme For Everything
  • Blue Heron Design
  • Bricks
  • Budget Blinds Lee’s Summit
  • Cameron’s Home Furnishings
  • The Cigar Room
  • Fringe Beerworks
  • GOT Art Gallery
  • Grains & Taps
  • Henry’s Antiques and Tearoom
  • Ki Chi Healing Arts Center
  • Libations & Company
  • The Living Stone
  • LLywelyn’s Pub
  • Luxxe Apparel
  • Main Slice
  • Razzberry Wimzy
  • Red Door Wine Store
  • Red Racks Thrift Store
  • Smoke Brewing Company
  • Third Street Social
  • Very Violet Boutique
  • Wedding Expressions by Geri
  • Whistle Stop Coffee and Mercantile


Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Board of Directors Elect New Officers

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Board of Directors elected new officers on August 1, 2017.

Dave Eames, owner of Fossil Forge Designs, was elected to the position of president. Eames has served on the DLSMS board of directors since July 2014 and serves as the chair of the Design Committee along with serving on a number of other committees for the organization. Eames received the Downtown Lee’s Summit Dale Hartley Service Award in 2016 for his tremendous service and dedication to the downtown community.

Sheila Clark, sales executive with Kansas City Real Estate, was elected to the position of vice president. Clark has served on the DLSMS board of directors since 2015 as treasurer and currently serves as the chair of the Economic Enhancement Committee. Clark received the Downtown Lee’s Summit Mary Stacy Ambassador of the Year award in 2015 for her advocacy and promotion of downtown.

Courtney Stoddard, sales consultant with Budget Blinds, was elected to the position of treasurer. Stoddard is newly elected to the board of directors and has served on the DLSMS Promotions and Cultural Arts committees. Budget Blinds was the 2014 Downtown Lee’s Summit Business of the Year.

Tony Olson, owner of Neighborhood Café and Snax Management, was elected to the position of secretary. Olson has served on the DLSMS board of directors since 2015 and currently serves as co-chair of the Promotions Committee.

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Board of Directors is a nine member board and, in addition to the newly elected officers, includes at-large members; Kim Berwald-Viar with Celebrating Personal Treasures, Chad Godfrey with Summit Video Services, Lynn Hinkle with Great Southern Bank, Nick Swearngin with John’s Barber Shop and Don Ploeger with the United States Postal Service.

Now Hiring Creative Content & Design Coordinator

Who We Need:

We’re looking for a creative person that loves a challenge. We need someone that can find fun in bouncing from designing an event poster to crafting content for social media that showcases the unique character of our downtown. We need someone that loves working with others and investigating new & innovative ways to promote downtown. The right person needs to be comfortable using InDesign, Illustrator & Photoshop, meeting new people, meeting deadlines and maintaining a flexible work schedule.

Who We Are:

We’re a small, close-knit staff that, with the support of our community, works hard to make our downtown a vibrant and inviting home for locally owned businesses. We’re the cheerleaders and the support system for our downtown businesses. We host over 100 days of community events that help to draw hundreds of thousands of people each year to Downtown Lee’s Summit. We rely on the support of volunteers donating thousands of hours of service each year to help make it all possible. No two days are ever the same and that’s part of the excitement and the reward.

Purpose of Position:

The Creative Content and Design Coordinator works collaboratively with staff and volunteers to create high quality content that serves to raise awareness of Downtown Lee’s Summit and supports our mission to promote, enhance, and preserve the heart of our city.

About DLSMS, Inc.:

Founded in 1989 by a group of visionary business and civic leaders to revitalize the heart of their community, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. is a nationally-recognized and accredited 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Lee’s Summit. DLSMS implements the National Trust Main Street Center Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization, a community-driven effort to create strong social cohesion and economic opportunity. DLSMS has won multiple state and national awards for excellence in downtown revitalization and management, including the 2010 Great American Main Street Award®. The National Trust Main Street Center presents this award to only five communities across the nation every year.

Think you are the perfect fit? Please email resume, work samples and references to

Position is part-time, up to 30 hours per week, $20 per hour.

More details here.

And in case you were curious, this is us:

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Honors Volunteers and Businesses at Annual Awards Event

Volunteers, community members and local business owners were honored during the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, June 27 at The Aspen Room at the Stanley.

The following individuals and businesses were recognized for their commitment to the revitalization and preservation of Downtown Lee’s Summit.

  • Very Violet Boutique, Outstanding Window Display
  • Smoke Brewing Company, Top Façade Rehabilitation
  • David Zak, Dale Hartley Service Award
  • Eric Vospette and Jim Clayton, Downtown Champions
  • Chad Godfrey, New Member Dynamo
  • Haunted and Historic Spaces Tour, Top Special Event
  • Melissa McGhee, Volunteer of the Year
  • Grains and Taps, Business of the Year
  • Jen Steller, Award of Appreciation
  • Donnie Rodgers, Jr., President’s Award

Three seats on the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Board of Directors were up for election at the annual meeting. Current investors of the organization voted on a slate of candidates put forward by the organization’s nominating committee. The newly elected board members, to serve a three-year term, include:

  • Dave Eames, owner of Fossil Forge Designs
  • Chad Godfrey, owner of Summit Video Services
  • Courtney Stoddard, sales and design consultant at Budget Blinds Kansas City/Lee’s Summit

The event’s theme was “BIG Things Ahead.” Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street announced its role in helping Missouri Main Street Connection to bring the 2018 Main Street Now Conference to Kansas City, Missouri. Main Street Now is the annual conference of the National Main Street Center, a national organization that advances comprehensive downtown and commercial district revitalization, working with a coast-to-coast network of Main Street America programs.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street will host the Big Bash, which is the closing celebration of the Main Street Now Conference. DLSMS anticipates hosting over 600 conference attendees that evening with a mix of shopping, dining and entertainment that showcases our community and the power of Main Street. The 2018 Big Bash will be Wednesday, March 28 from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

“When we found out that Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was chosen to host the 2018 Main Street Now Conference, we immediately began plans to bring the conference to Downtown Lee’s Summit. We knew Lee’s Summit was a place we wanted to showcase with The Big Bash event, and now our conference attendees from across the country will get to experience one of the very best communities in America.  As a former GAMSA winner, Downtown Lee’s Summit is the perfect venue for this group of people. We are thrilled that DLSMS will be our hosts and we know they will do an amazing job!” said Gayla Roten, Director of Missouri Main Street Connection.

First-Ever Downtown Movie Nights Starting This Summer in Lee’s Summit

The National Main Street Center, Project for Public Spaces, and ioby hosted the Cultivating Place on Main Streets Crowdfunding Challenge to award matching dollars to proposed placemaking projects in 5 states that focused on activating community spaces. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on the preservation of historic Downtown Lee’s Summit, was selected as one of the pilot communities for this crowdfunding challenge. Proposed funds for the placemaking project were raised from public support through a crowdfunding campaign, and the new event, Downtown Movie Night, will begin this summer.

The crowdfunding campaign raised $3,900 from almost 50 community members and businesses. $1,500 of that was matched by the hosts of the crowdfunding challenge, allowing $5,400 total to be devoted to the project. These funds will be used to buy the rights to the films and to purchase the necessary equipment for hosting outdoor movies.

Each movie night will feature a classic movie appropriate for all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, and picnics to enjoy during the event. The event will be held in the City Hall Plaza area near 3rd and Green streets.

The Downtown Lee’s Summit Facebook page hosted a post to let the public vote on which movies would be shown. The dates and movies for the 2017 season are:

Thursday, July 27 | 9PM, Grease
   Sponsored by Midwest Property Resources, LLC

Thursday, August 24 | 8:30PM, The Sandlot
   Sponsored by Arvest Bank

Thursday, September 28 | 8PM, Princess Bride
   Sponsored by Douglas Auto and Tire


For more information on this and other Downtown Lee’s Summit events, visit

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Now Hiring: Communications Coordinator

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, an accredited Main Street program through the National Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street Connection, is searching for a Communications Coordinator for its award-winning, 28-year-old nonprofit organization. The Communications Coordinator helps coordinate communications and media relations efforts for the organization and provides support to events and promotions within the downtown revitalization program, which utilizes historic preservation as an integral foundation for downtown economic development. The Communications Coordinator helps supervise volunteers, interns and community service workers. This position is part-time, up to 30 hours per week. To apply, send cover letter, resume, work samples and references by June 30, 2017, to:

Downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo., a community of more than 90,000 residents just outside of Kansas City, is a recipient of the Great American Main Street award.

Full job description can be viewed here.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Advances to the Top 10 Main Streets in Nation

The national small business movement, Independent We Stand, announces the Top 10 semifinalists, including Downtown Lee’s Summit, in the 2017 “America’s Main Streets” contest. As the lifeblood of our cities and towns, Main Streets play an important role in the long-term success of communities and help build a sense of place. Downtown Lee’s Summit, advancing to the Top 10, is one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street was founded in 1989 by a group of visionary business, civic and city leaders to revitalize the heart of their community. At the time, there were 19 empty storefronts and a cycle of disinvestment. Today, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street hosts over 100 days of community events, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to a now thriving and vibrant downtown that is home to over 100 locally-owned businesses. Volunteers donate thousands of service hours each year to help ensure that Downtown Lee’s Summit continues to serve as the business and cultural hub of the community and a premier destination for entertainment and shopping in the Kansas City metro.

“The ‘America’s Main Streets’ contest is the perfect opportunity to highlight how important Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is to our community,” stated Donnie Rodgers, Jr., Executive Director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. “We’ve come such a long way in the last 28 years, from over 19 vacant storefronts in 1989 to nearly 100% occupancy today. It wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers, business owners, and the unwavering support from our community. We are truly honored to be named one of the best Main Streets in America and hope that we can serve as an example to others of the awesome power of the Main Street Approach® in transforming the heart of our community.”

The semifinalists in alphabetical order are:

  • Bridge Street | Ashtabula, OH
  • Brookhaven Main Street | Brookhaven, MS
  • Downtown Lee’s Summit | Lee’s Summit, MO
  • Downtown Main Street, Red Wing | Red Wing, MN
  • Downtown Rochester | Rochester, MI
  • Elizabeth City Downtown | Elizabeth City, MN
  • Hayward Main Street | Hayward, WI
  • Historic Downtown McKinney | McKinney, TX
  • Main Street DeLand | DeLand, FL
  • John Front Street | St. John, WA

The winner of the 2017 “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 5, followed by a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration on the Fourth of July, when the winner will announce how the prize money will be utilized.

Contest prizes include:

  • $25,000 grand prize
  • STIHL Equipment Certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment, good at any STIHL dealer in the U.S.
  • Do it Best Corp. $500 shopping spree
  • PPG Pittsburgh Paints $500 shopping spree
  • SnapRetail $1,300 subscription package
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • Alignable small business social media “Neighborhood” on the site
  • Special plaque for winner to proudly display

The Downtown Days Festival Returns to Downtown Lee’s Summit This Summer, First Weekend in June

Plan to kick off summer with the FREE Downtown Days Festival, presented by Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Friday through Sunday, June 2, 3 & 4. Live entertainment featuring The Elders, carnival rides, sports & autograph booth, classic car show, robotics demonstrations, festival food, handcrafted goods, and two beer tents featuring craft beer are part of this year’s festivities.

Festival Hours-
Friday, June 2: 12pm-10pm
Saturday, June 3: 10am-10pm
Sunday, June 4: 11am-4pm

For more than 20 years, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street has been hosting this family-friendly festival in the heart of historic Downtown Lee’s Summit. The Downtown Days committee has worked to make the event fresh every year by bringing new attractions and entertainment options to the festival. The Downtown Days Festival is the major fundraiser for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization and historic preservation of Downtown Lee’s Summit.

“The Downtown Days committee has worked very hard to make this year’s festival a great success, and we couldn’t have planned it without their help. I’m most excited about seeing The Elders on Saturday night, watching the families enjoying Kids’ Street, and the food. I love festival food!” said DLSMS Events & Promotions Director, Julie Cook.

Kids’ Street, sponsored by Sky Zone, will have games, face painting, live fairytale characters, and other family-friendly activities. After taking a few years off, some favorite attractions are returning including the pony rides & petting zoo which will be at the north end of Kids’ Street and a military helicopter that will be stationed across from the VFW hall on SE Douglas Street. There are also multiple live acts on the Depot Stage, sponsored by Longview Funeral Home, featuring kid-friendly entertainment like singers, dance groups, and theater performances.

The carnival is a great option for families or anyone looking for a thrill. The carnival features wristband day on Sunday, June 4, where individuals can purchase a wristband and ride unlimited carnival rides during the festival hours that day. If you are attending the carnival on Friday or Saturday, tickets are sold at the carnival entrance and can then be redeemed to ride the individual carnival rides.

The Depot Stage line-up, sponsored by Longview Funeral Home & Cemetery, will have music and entertainment lovers busy all weekend. Headliners, The Elders, are a local favorite in the Celtic Folk Rock and Americana genres. Hailing from Kansas City, they will be on stage at 8:30PM on Saturday, June 3, before heading out on their US tour. Other local acts featured on the Depot Stage include Gorilla Dance Club, Rockin’ Rob, Four Fried Chickens & a Coke, State Line Drive, and the Lee’s Summit Symphony. All performances are free to attend.

If you want a cold beverage to go with your music-listening experience, there are two beer tents on the festival grounds, with one being located next to the Depot Stage. Embrace the Grape will be serving cold cocktails and wine near the Depot Stage and a large beer selection, including local craft beer, will be available again this year at both beer tents. Fan-favorite beer options, including great craft beer, include Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale, Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler, Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Blue Moon Belgian White, Miller Lite, Coors Lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

If you prefer sports to go with your cold drink, then head over to the Sports & Autograph Booth, sponsored by Security Bank of Kansas City, where you can chat with members of local sports teams and their mascots. You could also win great prizes from local organizations including the Royals, Chiefs, Mizzou, and many more. Children are encouraged to stop by the booth to participate in the Stack-the-Cup Competition which will also have prizes to award to the quickest stackers.

In addition to all the great booths, vendors, and live entertainment available at the festival, the Downtown Lee’s Summit specialty shops and restaurants will also be open throughout the weekend. These businesses are a big part of why the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Downtown Lee’s Summit as a Great American Main Street, and they welcome visitors to their unique, locally-owned shops.

The festival would not be possible without the support of local business partners who sponsor the event. This year’s festival is presented by Lee’s Summit Medical Center and sponsored by Abundant Life Baptist Church, Security Bank of Kansas City, Central States Beverage Company, Bridge Space, Cushman Wakefield, The Kansas City Star, KCP&L, Lee’s Summit Journal, Longview Funeral Home, Red Racks Thrift Stores, SkyZone, Summit Video Services, Thrivent Financial, Tingle Flooring and University of Central Missouri – Lee’s Summit.

Guests to the Downtown Days Festival can park in open public parking lots in and around Downtown Lee’s Summit. This includes the free City Hall parking garage at the corner of 2nd and Green streets. Some on-street parking is also available around the perimeter of the festival grounds.


For additional information:

Downtown Days Festival:
Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street:
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News Release Downloads:

Donnie Rodgers, Jr. honored as Main Street America Revitalization Professional

The National Main Street Center is pleased to announce that Donnie Rodgers, Jr.  of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. in Lee’s Summit, Missouri is among the first cohort of recipients of the Main Street America Revitalization Professional credential, the highest credential achievable through the Main Street America Institute. Rodgers was recognized along with eight other recipients from across the country at the 2017 Main Street Now Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., on May 3, 2017.

“I am honored to be one of the first professionals to receive this national recognition. I deeply believe in the power of the Main Street Approach® to transform our communities and am blessed to work with such an amazing group of business owners and volunteers here in Lee’s Summit,” said Donnie Rodgers, Jr., executive director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.

Rodgers with Frey at 2017 Main Street NOW Conference.

Rodgers has been with Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street since February 2014, initially serving as assistant director and was elevated to executive director in October 2015. He has spent his professional career working in Missouri downtowns and Missouri Main Street programs including Downtown Springfield Association in Springfield and Old Town Cape in Cape Girardeau. He has a master’s degree in Community Development from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Drury University.

“Donnie is a passionate advocate of Downtown Lee’s Summit and has proven leadership skills that ensure results working with other community leaders to stimulate re-investment, create jobs and foster pride of place,” said Gayla Roten, state director for Missouri Main Street Connection.  “We are very proud that Donnie is one of the members of the first graduating class of Main Street America Institute. He has great vision and is doing a superb job for the Lee’s Summit community.”

“These MSARP graduates have taken an important step forward to ensure they have the tools needed to address the unique challenges and opportunities confronting 21st century urban and rural downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc.  “Their accomplishment is a direct reflection of their commitment and dedication to leading inclusive, community-driven revitalization efforts.”

Launched in 2016, the Main Street America Institute is the National Main Street Center’s targeted professional development training program aimed to equip downtown and commercial district leaders with the knowledge needed to lead results-oriented and preservation-based community revitalization organizations.  Through the completion of a series of ten online courses, two multi-day workshops, and a capstone examination, MSARP graduates demonstrate mastery of critical leadership development practices and advanced fundamentals of community development techniques through the lens of the Center’s refreshed Main Street Approach®.

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