Legendary Small Town Trading Co. opened the first week of February in the Historic Slattens Department Store building.

Highly Anticipated Legendary Small Town Trading Co. Opens

by Tara L. Simmons

Locally owned Taylorville businesses,  the Taylorville Chamber of Commerce, City Council and group Small Town Taylorville have been working hand-in-hand for years to revitalize not only the downtown business district, but the town in general, in an effort to make Taylorville a highly sought after destination. Joining that mix is a fairly new corporation, Heartland Development Properties, Inc. (HDPI), spearheaded by Taylorville native Cindy Frisina.

Cindy was born and raised in Taylorville and although she moved away for college and had a very successful business career taking her around the world, Cindy’s hometown beckoned her to return to revitalize landmark buildings, boost the economy and showcase the area’s history.

Cindy’s great grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy, Germany and Ireland and made Taylorville their home. One was a farmer, and  that farm remains in the family, with Cindy managing current operations. Another worked in the coal mines until venturing into the theater business – back before movies even had audio.   There were two Frisina theaters in Taylorville at one time and her family eventually owned 67 theaters in three states, including drive-ins, a  hotel and other real estate in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Kentucky.

“It’s safe to say that I probably got my entrepreneurial spirit from my great grandparents,” Cindy said.

HDPI is a group of committed investors who care deeply about small town revitalization. Several are from the Taylorville area, along with ezperienced business people from other areas. Cindy explained that it is exciting that even investors from other areas believe in the vision and business model of HDPI enough to jump on board. HDPI strategically purchased five downtown Taylorville properties that they are renovating and are launching new, unique businesses that they anticipate to thrive and draw in new customers and visitors.

Cindy explained that the new business concepts are designed to fill market gaps, and complement other existing business in Taylorville.

West Side Tavern

West Side Tavern, owned and operated by HDPI, was established originally in 1875, and is one of the most historic taverns in central Illinois. Inside you will find original tin ceilings and a gorgeous hand crafted back bar, imported from Italy in 1939, featuring ornate carvings. The walls of the tavern, as well as the walls of the restrooms, are adorned with photos of historic and noteworthy local citizens and celebrities,  including a photo of Yvonne Craig, the original Batgirl in the 1960s television series Batman. Craig was born in Taylorville. West Side Tavern is located on Taylorville’s downtown square at 109 W. Washington. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Legendary Small Town Trading Co. 

By the time you read this HDPI’s most recently completed project will be the Legendary Small Town Trading Co., just a few doors down from West Side Tavern, on the corner,  located at 123 S. Washington.

Basking in history and beauty, this majestic building was originally erected in the late 1800s and served as Slatten Bros. Department Store for years, anf then a law office.

“I believe this building to be one of the most architecturally significant buildings on Taylorville’s downtown square,” Cindy said. “And it’s wonderful – and exciting – that the grandson of one of the original owners is also involved in this project.”

Historic buildings cannot always be restored to exactly the way they were but HDPI tried hard to get it as close as possible, and still introduce the modernization needed for the current business.

“Many of the lights we are featuring are the original vintage fixtures. We removed the drop ceilings to expose the historic tin ceilings, which we restored, removed multiple layers of flooring until we reached the original hardwood floors, and we used precise demolition techniques to expose the original brick walls.” Cindy explained. “The outside facade was also taken back to as original as possible.  We even had some of the intricate moulding pieces handmade to replace those that were missing.”

The rich history of Taylorville and Christian County is displayed on 14’ high vintage photo murals inside Legendary Small Town Trading Co.

“I think this may be the largest collection of historical Taylorville photos in one location,” Cindy said.

Many architectural items were salvaged to become part of the decor. For instance, original mouldings and doors have become section dividers and frames for photos and art.

“I think it’s the largest collection of historical Taylorville photos in one location,” Cindy said.

Legendary Small Town Trading Co. will offer soups, sandwiches, salads and small plates made in-house, along with a variety of prietary coffees, teas, espressos and wines. The beautiful cafe area is the first thing you encounter as you enter the building, followed by the unique retail section that will sell a variety of wines, chocolate, snacks, seasonings, cheeses, olives, crackers and other pantry items for entertaining, including  charcuterie boards. Other pantry staples are also offered as are many items unique to the area, such as Bissinger’s Chocolates, made since 1668, and once reserved only for royalty!

“This is one of the only locations you can get Bissinger’s Chocolates in central Illinois,” added Cindy.

Towards the back of the building is the  “Legendary’ tasting room, boasting a cozy, upscale setting. Here you can sample fine wines, bourbons. craft beers and signature cocktails paired with small bites.

Whatever your reason for visiting Legendary Small Town Trading Co., you will be transported back in time where historic details have been beautifully renovated.  It is truly a must-see destination.

Three other properties have been acquired by HDPI. There are plans for two, with construction on one underway, opening sometime this spring. I will give you a brief description of these, but will wait until they are open for a full write-up on them.

Jack’s on Main

Jack’s on Main will offer a dining experience that combines nostalgia with great food and spirits. The interior is already under construction and the crew is just waiting for the weather to break to finish the outside, which will include the only roof top bar in Christian County.

Featuring a complete menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, patrons will also be able to enjoy the best view in town and partake of regionally crafted brews with unique flavors, as well as wine and cocktails.  The current historic Rene’s Pharmacy sign is being repurposed in a similar style for Jack’s and the original drive through pharmacy signage (Rene’s had the first drive-through pharmacy in the country), will remain as a nostalgic marker for their walk-up window. A designated room with arcade games will be the highlight for families with children.

Lincoln Hall & Pavilion 

This civic center/auditorium venue will eventually be located at 222 W. Main Cross, right off the Taylorville square. This landmark property will be run through the non-profit portion of HDPI called Revitalizing Rural American (RRA) and built with sustainable materials. The goal is to have it operational by 2025, serving as a major area destination for events, performances, concerts and related retail.

Stay updated on these projects by following Heartland Development Partners, Inc. on Facebook.