The winning business owners further the efforts of Forest City Beautiful by trying to enhance the Rockford region by beautifying their storefronts and entrances to their businesses.

"Business is Blooming" is now into it's second year, and they've expanded the boundaries by more than doubling the geographic area of businesses who could participate to include south of Riverside, west of Alpine, north of Broadway and east of Rockton Avenue. A team of eight judges visited the exterior grounds of selected businesses.

The judges took a look at 54 different businesses and judged them in select categories:

  • Small Business (1-10 employees)
  • Large Business (26+ employees)
  • Restaurant Outdoor Dining
  • Downtown Business
  • Returning Champion
  • Public Garden
  • Attraction

The judges used the following criteria to make their decisions:

  • Well-maintained landscaping - trimmed and weed-free
  • No litter around entire perimeter (fence line, tree line, sidewalk, parking lot)
  • Well-maintained façade, and graffiti-free exteriors
  • Well-maintained hardscape - lighting, benches, walkways, signage, fences, etc.
  • WOW factor - impressive overall first impression or impact

This year's winners are:

For Small Business: Trove (2410 Jackson St, Rockford)

For Large Business: UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford (1601 Parkview Ave, Rockford)

Restaurant Outdoor Dining: Sisters Thai Café (514 E State St, Rockford)

Downtown Business: Restoration Café (625 W State St, Rockford)

Returning Champion: Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (946 N 2nd St, Rockford)

Public Garden: Anderson Japanese Gardens (318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford)

Attraction: Erlander/Nordic Cultural Center (327 S Third St, Rockford)

Winners receive a prize package including a trophy, an RACVB online promotions prize package valued at $1,850 and a Business of Distinction window cling.