New members help strengthen the overall impact of the RiverBend Growth Association

GODFREY, IL — The RiverBend Growth Association added three area businesses to its membership numbers in July 2021.

GCS Credit Union was founded 80 years ago, in 1941, and has continually kept its focus on its members. “Throughout the years, that philosophy has served us well,” said Lauren McGee, who works with marketing and business development for the credit union.

What began as a single office in Granite City is now is a full-service financial institution serving 18 Illinois counties. Anyone who lives, works, or attend school in the counties served is eligible for GCS Credit Union membership.

“We are community-powered banking: big enough to provide convenience, small enough to offer our neighbors customized financial services to meet their ever-changing 21st century needs,” McGee said. “We’re not pushy and profit-driven – we look out for our members’ best interests. In turn, our members take pride in knowing they are essential to our growing community. These are just a few reasons why banking with a credit union is so rewarding.”

“Having a GCS Credit Union branch on Humbert Road, we knew joining the RiverBend Growth Association was essential to connecting with the community,” added McGee. “GCS is dedicated to giving back and passionate about serving our neighbors. We know the chamber will be able to provide helpful resources to connect with local businesses and residents. We look forward to a wonderful partnership.”

The Alton location of GCS Credit Union is at 4105 Humbert Road, and is open weekdays Monday through Friday, with additional Saturday morning hours as well. To learn more about GCS Credit Union, visit online at or call (618) 797-7993.

Lovejoy Weddings and Events specializes in wedding receptions, reunions, graduations, and fundraisers. Located in the middle of Downtown Alton’s entertainment district at 401 Piasa Street, the venue can host parties of all sizes, with a capacity of up to 175 seated guests.

“We have a fully equipped and insured bar, and we offer both in-house and outside catering,” noted Owner Russ Smith. “We are easy to find and have our own dedicated parking lots. As an added feature, we adjoin the area’s most beautiful outside patio bar and grill, The Lodge at Lovejoy. Guests are free to mingle both inside and out, at the same time enjoying your private rented space.”

For more information about Lovejoy Weddings and Events, visit online at or call (314) 409-1998.

Riverbend Virtual Assistance is looking to help small businesses achieve big goals by providing administrative support with social media, travel arrangements, event marketing, and organization.

“Being a business owner can be overwhelming when you have a family,” said Owner Gail Akeman. “I want to support business owners to enable them to have more family time. I want to help grow small businesses for the business owner and for the benefit of the community.”

“I joined the chamber to be able to network and get to know more businesses in my local community,” Akeman said. “I seek to help small businesses grow and continue to be of benefit to the people of our area.”

“Joining the RiverBend Growth Association gives me the hope that I can grow my business through the guidance of well-known professionals in the local area. A great benefit will also be to gain beneficial networking partners,” she added.

To learn more about Riverbend Virtual Assistance, visit online at, email, or call (618) 334-0778.

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, please visit or call (618) 467-2280.


This article was prepared for the RiverBend Growth Association by Melissa Meske Publications,