Downtown revitalized

Quinn Brown, Lamp staff

Brian Galecki recently moved his business, Dumb Records, to Downtown Springfield.

The business, formerly at South Grand Avenue and 11th Street, found its home near Monroe and Fifth streets in what was formerly an Italian grocery store.

“Really there had always been the question in the back of my mind, and all of our minds, …  how would this look downtown?” Galecki said.

Galecki’s Dumb Records is one of several businesses that appeal to younger consumers. Businesses, such as Buzz Bomb Brewery and Good Heart Tattoos, are trying to find a spot for 20-somethings amid the traditional landscape of tourist shops and restaurants in Downtown Springfield.

“We looked at places all over the city,” said Josh Flanders, one of the owners of Buzz Bomb Brewery. “… We wanted to be downtown. We thought there was potential downtown. I mean, obviously, it’s not just us, many people want to revitalize downtown. Bring more businesses down here, bring more apartments down here, make it the center of the city again,”

Buzz Bomb is a brewery, not a bar, which means that they can’t sell liquor or wine. They can sell directly to the public and wholesale to stores.

The idea of Buzz Bomb started after the Springfield Oyster and Beer fest in 2016. Flanders and his partner Bill Larson sold their homebrew at the Prairie Schooners Club and got a lot of praise.

“Bill and I started brewing mead, many years ago,” Flanders said. “And our mead was not good. So we switched over to brewing beer, which that turned out was good.”

Benny Dewitt is opening a tattoo parlor next to Dumb Records called Good Heart Tattoos. Dewitt has been tattooing in Springfield since 2001 and got into tattooing because his mother and step-father taught themselves how to tattoo after closing their hand-painted sign company.

Dewitt hopes to bring positivity to downtown with his business

“Unfortunately because of the nature of my business it’s sort of been on the outskirts of towns, but at this point, I think that it’s popular enough and respected enough to be in downtown,” Dewitt said.

He wants to create a place where people that want tattoos will feel safe and welcome.

“The college-aged crowd is on the outskirts of town because the way they decided to build things a long time ago, and the reason it’s starting to be better is because people want to feel like their in an urban environment,” Dewitt said.

Moving in near Dumb Records might catch them some foot traffic from vinyl shoppers and concertgoers. Dumb Records also doubles as a small music venue, moving some of the record stands to a backroom and turning half the store into a small concert hall.

“Black Sheep itself opened up 14 years ago, at the time I’d say that there was a need for an ‘all-ages’ show space, and there still is,” Galecki said.