GODFREY, Ill. – Seven more members have joined the membership roster at the RiverBend Growth Association in recent weeks. This new group of RBGA members include Honeybee Vintage, Kona Ice of University City, Mississippi Valley Christian School, Taking Gamer Tags, Rachel & Co. Coffee House LLC, RiverBend Records, Summers-Port Swim Club and TUS Productions.

Honeybee Vintage currently has vendor locations in Alton at the Alton Exchange Mall and at Country Meadows. A newly renovated location in historic downtown Alton is planned to debut this summer, and online shopping with delivery or local pickup is also offered to customers.

Owned by Melissa Bland, who became an Alton transplant in 2018, Honeybee Vintage offers vintage, antiques, home décor, gifts and upscale resale. “We are a collective of antique-lovers in one unique space, with new arrivals every week,” Bland explained.

Customer favorites include painted furniture, quilts, fruit jars, art pottery, vintage clothing, jewelry, art, embroidered linens, architectural pieces, and garden decor.

“We love the cottage look, with an affinity for English and French antiques, but love to mix in pieces that speak to the heart of the Midwest, mid-century modern pieces, and upcycled treasures. We also offer a line of furniture paint, and tons of creative inspiration for your home. Also, you don’t want to miss our ‘bee-tique’ of new and upscale resale clothing for children,” Bland added.

The Air Force brought the Bland family to the area, but Bland and her family have decided to stay, due to the “unique charm and historic character of Alton,” as Bland noted. “We fell in love with our house first, but quickly returned the embrace of our Middletown neighborhood and have enjoyed putting down roots in Alton after almost 30 years of military life.”

Now Bland, with great enthusiasm, is pairing a love for antiques with a passion for the renewal of Alton’s downtown shopping district with Honeybee Vintage’s soon-to-open new storefront, where they will welcome the opportunity as well to partner with other local businesses in that endeavor.

“We feel it’s important to be an active member of the local chamber of commerce and consider the RiverBend Growth Association to be a vital part of the future of Alton and its surrounding communities,” Bland said when asked why Honeybee Vintage chose to join the RBGA. “We are hopeful that the RiverBend Growth Association will provide Honeybee Vintage an opportunity for greater visibility, customer reach, and growth.

“We look forward to being part of a community of like-minded business owners committed to each other’s mutual business success and professional development. We see the RBGA as an organization focused on the big picture of the Riverbend’s economy, which is so important to future growth, and hope that Honeybee Vintage will be able to contribute to our community for many years to come,” Bland said further.

For more information or to shop online, visit https://honeybeevintagealton.com. For in-person shopping or inquiries, stop in at their current Alton locations at Country Meadows (401 E. Broadway) or the Alton Exchange Mall (2990 Homer M. Adams Pkwy.). Be sure to look for their new location opening this summer in downtown Alton. Email inquiries can be sent to hello@honeybeevintagealton.com. You can also find and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, @honeybeevintagealton.

Kona Ice of University City is looking to expand its reach throughout the St. Louis Metro East region. Membership in the RiverBend Growth Association will help them more effectively do this from its location in Bridgeton, Mo. Joseph Buehler is the owner of Kona Ice of University City franchise.

Online, Kona Ice is described as a shaved ice truck that brings its “one-of-a-kind, tropical experience directly to you.” Guests can flavor their own Kona Ice and its signature “Flavorwave” to the tunes of island-inspired music while also enjoying “a nutritious and delicious treat.”

Kona Ice of University City seeks to provide corporate and public group gatherings with a one-of-a-kind choice for on-site catering. To learn more, visit online at http://www.kona-ice.com/ or reach out to Buehler at (314) 377-5662 or (314) 580-0955.

Mississippi Valley Christian School has been a regional mainstay for decades now. Located at 2009 Seminary St., Alton, Timothy Lee is the school’s administrator.

MVCS is a ministry of Godfrey’s Faith Baptist Church. Several families of Faith Baptist Church founded Mississippi Valley Christian School in 1974. A rapid growth in those early years soon made a bigger facility necessary, and in 1978, its new location opened at the site of the former Western Military Academy in upper Alton.

The school’s website shares its mission, which is “to assist parents in fulfilling their God-given responsibility of training their children to be conformed to the image of Christ spiritually, academically, socially, and physically.”

For more information about Mississippi Valley Christian School, visit online at https://mvcs-il.org/ or call (618) 462-1071, (443) 848-1848.

Taking Gamer Tags is located at 317G Homer M. Adams Pkwy., Alton. Travon Peoples is its CFO.

As an esports/LAN organization, Taking Gamer Tags focuses on the core of the community through gaming. The idea behind this unique experience is to bring people together while also developing a gamer’s leadership abilities, fine motor skills, and instill a personal and internal strong level of confidence and trust within each individual.

Gamers will also have the chance to prove their skills through hosted Esports tournaments, which also bring them the chance to win cash prizes, equipment, trophies and medals, and more.

“For casual gamers who want to have an outlet drop off their kids’ birthday parties and streaming, we have it all here,” Taking Gamer Tags leaders recently noted on Facebook. “Xbox, PlayStation, computer, virtual reality. We are coming soon. Watch out for our Taking Gamer Tags on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.” They also offer podcast experiences for followers and enthusiasts alike.

To learn more about Taking Gamer Tags, reach out to (618) 225-1151 or (618) 593-6128.

Rachel & Co. Coffee House LLC has set up its shop in downtown Wood River. Owned and operated by Jonas and Rachel Cathey, its location is at 84 E. Ferguson Avenue.

“We know what it’s like to get that intense craving for a great tasting cup of coffee,” said Rachel Cathey. “That’s why we set up shop in downtown Wood River.”

“From coffee bean to coffee cup: At Rachel & Co. Coffee House, we believe that everyone deserves coffee that is both delicious and from beans of top quality,” Jonas Cathey added. “We carefully select and prepare each batch to perfection, bringing out the unique aromas and flavors of every bean for an experience that is both enjoyable and satisfying, down to the last drop. We invite everyone to stop in and enjoy our coffee house firsthand.”

“We are joining the RBGA in hopes of networking with like-minded businesspeople like us,” Rachel said further. “We hope to gain more networking and business support from other small businesses by joining.”

To learn more about Rachel & Co. Coffee House LLC, visit online at www.rachelscoffeehouse.com or call (618) 593-5594.

RiverBend Records is located at 2720 Grovelin St., Suite B, Godfrey. Tara Hurst is its co-owner.

With a mission of helping music enthusiasts “get back to vinyl,” RiverBend Records’ intended mission is to “bring back the fun of shopping for records.” Online, the owners note: “Sure, subscription streaming services like iTunes or Spotify provide unprecedented access and convenience, but something is lost too: ownership. Vinyl records are physical items that you can collect, hold in your hands, purchase in person.”

They also note that RiverBend Records is more than a record store: “It is a community. When you visit RiverBend Records, you’ll find more than just old albums. You will find a throwback to the original record stores. You can listen to good music while browsing through albums. Talk about your favorite artist or style with our staff and other customers, and even have a beer or glass of wine while just hanging out. You may even find yourself in an impromptu jam session with local musicians. Become a part of the growing subculture of vinyl audiophiles and discover the joy of “owning” music all over again.”

To learn more about RiverBend Records, visit in-person at their store or online at www.riverbendrecords.com. You can also call (618) 433-1673.

Summers-Port Swim Club is in Godfrey at 3120 Greenwood Lane. Offering limited memberships, the swim club offers its unique recreational experience as quality level of fun at a reasonable price. Sarah Bowman serves as Summers-Port’s treasurer.

Summer fun, sun and relaxation are all available here, which also “makes it easy to return for an evening swim in its lighted pool,” their website notes. Summers-Port has a swimming and diving pool, a large wading pool for small children, a spacious sun deck, and a bath house and covered breezeway. There’s also a concession stand and pavilion on-site, with regular social events hosted throughout the season. Private parties can be booked here, and they further provide certified Lifeguard service.

Swim and diving lessons are offered to its members, who can also take advantage of on-site tennis and basketball courts, soccer and softball areas, a children’s play area, and wooded picnic areas. Summers-Port also hosts tennis teams and lessons; members can reserve the courts through the convenient mobile app.

To learn more, visit online at https://summersport.net/ or call (618) 401-6738.

TUS Productions is more known throughout the region as The Unseen Stars. Joe Moran serves as the production company’s video producer. Their website states the company’s objective very clearly: “We make videos.”

Past videos produced by the company include the highly viewed Alton Police Department Lip Sync Challenge back in 2018, as well as the documentary video of that same year titled, “Robert Wadlow – Celebrating 100 Years.” The company continues its role as a visual storyteller, producing videos that capture the everyday lives and legacies of local people and the region’s important folklore and legend.

To learn more about TUS Productions and to look at its portfolio of productions, visit online at https://theunseenstars.com/. You can also find them through social media, including YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and Facebook. To reach out to Moran and the company by phone, call (618) 444-4799.

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.