Collectively here in Forest Park and individually, we are saying “goodbye” to Century & Sleuths Bookstore, an anchor midway on Madison. The bright side of a goodbye is the closure and reflection we get to experience as we handle the emotions of change. 

Augie Aleksy, a gentleman, always able to give a smile and ray of hope, and sincerely a good fellow, has made the decision to exit into retirement. He is not just an ordinary businessman but a real advocate for our local cultural history — a Frank Orland Award winner, a Community Pride Award winner, and just a solid person who has added so much to the well-being of the Madison Ecosystem. 

In addition, Exit Strategy, the proud Forest Park brewery, is exiting. They held their garage sale this past weekend, a business with strong ties to Forest Park. A model of ingenuity, coupled with great beer (with clever names), private mugs and a community space for those who appreciate the attention to detail and cleanliness, mixed with the spirit of humanity. 

While the city of big shoulders is to our east, our small town is the village of big wills, and we hope another fiercely independent shop owner takes the reins of these spaces, and that these businesses, which gave so much extra to our town, will not be forgotten. They made our community a better place to call home.

There were record-setting crowds at the Wine Walk two weeks ago, a Madison Street full of people. With wine glasses hanging from necklace straps, trays to hold wine glasses, and even groups of people wearing matching T-shirts, the street was alive with bright energy. Merchants even welcomed the Arts Alliance, which added individual booths of artisans to share their glass works, tote bags, yarn spinning, pottery and paintings, all adding to the energy of the day. 

A fun splash of yarn and textiles adorned Constitution Court in the first Forest Park Fiber Flash. The handiwork of many warmed that space with beauty and creativity. Such small acts create rays of joy that bind our community narrative, just in time for the holiday season. 

It is such a privilege to live in Forest Park and I sincerely appreciate all the good acts taking place every day, by groups, individuals and businesses. I am thankful that this village has made a space for me and my family to be involved in the whole community, which cares deeply about one another. I’m excited about the next chapter that unfolds in town as new businesses join the mix.

Next up is the live holiday window display, a special night distinctly Forest Park on Friday, Dec. 1. As you visit and gather around the cozy windows, renewing bonds with community friends, and managing expectations of the holiday season, it will be hard not to feel good about your hometown.

The Forest Park Review will be in one of the windows of Grand Appliance and we are planning a special treat for you. Stop by with your festive “hellos” as you celebrate another year of Forest Park success — and maybe even play a round of rock-paper-scissors, if you’re feeling up to it.

The Review looks forward to this night every December and always feel renewed afterward. As a special add-on, we are hosting a meet-and-greet in the Austin Room of the Forest Park Public Library on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. and we would love to introduce you to our new editor, Erika Hobbs, hear your unique perspectives, and gather your expectations for our newsroom, as we strive to contribute to our small-town charm.