GODFREY, Ill. – The RiverBend Growth Association continues to experience growth in its membership as another batch of seven businesses have joined the organization in the past few weeks.

The latest businesses to join the Growth Association include Drake Tire & Auto Service LLC, RE/MAX Alliance, The Metro East Star, Sloan’s This & That, Spring Hollow Hideaway, Thrivent, and Whispering Woods Bed and Breakfast and Event Center.

Drake Tire & Auto Service LLC is located at 1214 E. Broadway in Alton. Alton area families have had services provided to them by Drake for nearly 90 years now, since 1935. It is a full-service tire and auto repair shop. In addition to selling tires, Drake also provides services including oil changes, brakes, engine repair and diagnostic work. They have ASE-certified technicians on staff, and Drake is a certified NAPA retailer and an AAA-approved shop.

For a few years, Drake had joined forces with another family-owned and operated auto service company “focused on establishing long-lasting relationships through excellent service,” noted Drake’s Mark Vaughn. “Now Drake Tire & Auto Service is back, and still providing great quality community-focused service.”

“Our team is passionate about what they do and committed to providing you with the best in workmanship customer service,” Vaughn added.

For more information, visit online at www.draketireandauto.com or call (618) 465-8897.

RE/MAX Alliance offers full-service real estate services focused on both the buying and selling of residential real estate. The company also services commercial real estate, for sale by owner assistance, foreclosure sales, relocation services, land sales and more.

Headquartered at 809 W. Delmar in Alton, RE/MAX Alliance offers eight locations to service clients throughout Madison County and its surrounding communities. All its 150-plus agents hold the Realtor designation and consistently train to ensure clients have “caring and competent assistance before, during and after the sale,” as noted by its agents. Joining in their Growth Association membership are Tara Barber; Joi Barragan; Jenni Beck, REALTOR; Susan Cameron; Lisa Funk; Nick Funk; Rick Owens, Broker/Owner; Tammy Owens, Jill Schulz, Chris Seniker and Sarah Seniker.

To learn more, visit online at www.MetroEastLiving.com or call (618) 466-7100.

The Metro East Star is a local online newspaper source, founded in 2021 by Chris Rhodes, which aims to cover local news, sports, obituary notices, and any other local events.

Rhodes is an East Alton native. “I started working as a news photographer and reporter in 2015 with a few local news outlets. In 2021, I decided to start my own company,” he explained.

“The Metro East Star has covered high school sporting events across the Metro East,” Rhodes said further. “We have covered a lot of breaking news from murders, fires, car wrecks, police standoffs, and more. We also cover community events. Our Facebook page has grown to over 7,200 followers since we started in December 2021, and our website has over 300,000 views since then.”

Rhodes also shared that his media company is always looking for advertisers for both its website and its Facebook page. Interested businesses should email metroeaststar@gmail.com for more information on advertising opportunities.

“I am joining the RBGA so I can try and build my online newspaper audience and network with other business owners,” Rhodes added. “Also, to try and help other businesses with us writing stories about events and receiving press releases from other area businesses. I hope to gain knowledge from other business owners on how to expand my business and gain more people that read my stories. I lack the ‘feel good’ and business stories so I am hoping to gain more of them stories.”

Visit https://metroeaststar.com/ or call (618) 980-4512 to learn more about The Metro East Star.

Sloan’s This & That is a mom-and-pop-type thrift shop located in Bethalto at 401 W. Bethalto Drive and owned by Bill and Diana Sloan. The Sloans are both from Alton but make Bethalto their home now.

“We have enjoyed going to yard sales and thrift shops for as long as we have been married,” Diana said. “For years, we have bought and sold small items as a hobby. We both truly enjoy it.”

“Diana has also worked at other resale stores as an employee,” Bill added, “and for several years, has dreamed of owning her own shop. As we have seen prices of many places skyrocket in the last few years, we decided to open an affordable, mom-and-pop-type thrift shop that everyone can afford. We love it when people come to shop, or just stop in and say hello and chat for a while.”

And because the Sloans purchase their merchandise in bulk lots, they often don’t even know what they will be getting in until they open the boxes and dig through them. “This makes for a fun experience for both us and the customers,” Diana said. “You just never know what you will find, and we add new items throughout the day every single day we are open.”

Sloan’s This & That sells “just about anything you can imagine,” from records, kitchen and household items, furniture, and even some clothing. The shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We look forward to serving the area with the best deals in the Riverbend,” Bill said.

“We are joining the RBGA in order to network with other business owners, and to help get our name out there,” said Diana. “We also would like to be more involved in our community, and this seems like a great place to start. We really appreciate the opportunity to own a business in the community that we grew up in and love so much.”

For more information about Sloan’s This & That, call (618) 717-6053 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089894884049.

Spring Hollow Hideaway is a unique retreat nestled in the heart of Grafton at 120 & 202 West Main. Offering a private and luxurious escape with a range of amenities and services that cater to its visitors’ needs, this vacation rental property came into existence as the self-proclaimed “brainchild” of its owners, the husband-and-wife team of Jacqi and Nathaniel Kamp.

With a shared passion for hospitality and a deep love for the area, including Grafton’s picturesque scenery and small-town charm, the Kamps purchased this historic property in Grafton and have since transformed it into the oasis that is Spring Hollow Hideaway.

The Spring Hollow Hideaway footprint is within walking distance of many of the local hotspots, including the wineries, Grafton Harbor, and the historic Ruebel Hotel. The property features several cozy cottages, each with unique charm and character. Each cottage is fully equipped with modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a fully stocked kitchen.

“Perhaps the most significant draw of Spring Hollow Hideaway is its location,” noted the Kamps. “Grafton is one of the most beautiful areas of the Midwest, boasting stunning natural scenery, charming local shops and restaurants, and a rich history steeped in the Mississippi River.”

“We joined the RBGA as we are hoping to expand our brand awareness and network with business owners in the area,” said Jacqi Kamp. “We hope to gain more recognition for our brand and what we offer to the community.”

For more information about Spring Hollow Hideaway in Grafton, visit www.springhollowhideaway.com online or call (314) 934-5260.

Thrivent is a Fortune 500 diversified financial services organization that provides advice as well as investments, insurance, banking, and generosity programs and solutions throughout the St. Louis metro region “so people can make the most of all they’ve been given.”

Market Director Lindsay Waters said, “I’m proud to be a Thrivent financial professional. I provide personalized financial guidance to people at all stages of life. At Thrivent, we view money not as a goal, but as a tool – one that can afford you a life rich in meaning and gratitude. We believe humanity thrives when individuals make the most of all they’ve been given. I’m here to help you do just that.”

As a lifelong area resident, Waters said that she was joining the RiverBend Growth Association because she wanted “to help and be part of the growth and development of the region.”

“I hope to gain additional resources to connect with other leaders and organizations within the area,” Waters added. “My particular role at Thrivent is to recruit financial advisors and help them grow their business, and I would love to bring more awareness of the Thrivent brand and career opportunities to the Riverbend.”

To learn more and connect with Waters at Thrivent, call (618) 670-9544 or visit online at https://connect.thrivent.com/lindsay-waters/.

Whispering Woods B&B and Event Center is in rural Godfrey at 8053 Langer Lane. Owned by Margaret Moorehead, the bed and breakfast is nestled in peaceful surroundings of farmland, trees, and natural beauty. It is a luxurious home with large rooms, common areas, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Visitors can rent an individual suite with an attached bathroom, a simple and sweet room with a bathroom nearby, or the luxury suite with its two bedrooms a Jack-and-Jill bathroom and another half bath, a kitchen/great room, sunroom, and laundry room. The owners live on-site and serve as hosts throughout a visitor’s stay.

“This B&B and Event Center is the perfect place to relax with family and friends,” Moorehead shared. “It is perfect for small events including weddings, showers, celebration of life events, holiday get-togethers, and more. And it’s also the perfect setting to unleash your creativity. For those who enjoy quilting, sewing, photography, needlepoint, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, candy making, and other hobbies, this is the place for you!”

Whispering Woods features hardwood floors, custom architecture, and an open and inviting floor plan. There’s also a pool, two oversized decks and a charming front porch. “At the back of the house, the upper deck allows you to overlook the peaceful back yard and its wooded surroundings, while the lower deck is perfect for enjoying a shaded area next to the built-in pool. The front porch is the perfect place to enjoy our beautiful sunsets,” Moorehead added.

By joining the RiverBend Growth Association, Moorehead said she hopes to become more active in the community and to promote Whispering Woods B& B/Event Center. “I want to have more people stay and have their events at Whispering Woods,” she said.

For more information about Whispering Woods B&B and Event Center, visit online at https://WhisperingWoodsGodfrey.com or call (618) 444-2385.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, visit growthassociation.com online or call (618) 467-2280.