Stern Center an investment in Rock Island for Stern's

Posted Online: Sept. 08, 2012, 12:40 pm
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By Lindsay Hocker,
ROCK ISLAND -- Transforming the former Hyman's Furniture building into The Stern Center was a labor of love.

"We wanted to invest in Rock Island. We believe in the city," director Michael Stern said, adding that they didn't want to see "another beautiful building empty."

About $600,000 to $700,000 was spent to buy and renovate the 20,000-square-feet building at 1713 3rd Ave.

Renovations include new heating and air conditioning, lighting, plumbing, bathrooms and a catering kitchen.

Mr. Stern's brother, Matt, bought the building in 2011, which also is when renovations began.

The building once housed McCabe's Department Store. Stanley Goldman bought the building in 1986 and it became Hyman's Furniture's central location in 1992.

The Goldman family ran Hyman's Furniture in Rock Island for 90 years until Mr. Goldman retired in December 2010.

A public grand opening and ribbon cutting for The Stern Center will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, before the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce holds its Schmooza Palooza event there from 5 to 9 p.m.

Mr. Stern said most of the renovations were completed about two months ago, and people began renting the space for events this spring.

So far, about 30 events have been held at The Stern Center, including weddings, quinceaneras and other parties. The event space's capacity is 800 people.

"Our jewel is that chandelier," Mr. Stern said, referring to a 900-pound antique chandelier that is 10-by-5 1/2 feet.

He said he's"already booking out" for Saturday weddings in 2013. The dominant color in the event space, which has a 20-foot ceiling, is white with touches of cream and light gray.

Mr. Stern said he wanted "the bride's colors to be the focal point." The center has lighting that can be used to make the white pillars in the event space match the wedding colors.

A bridal suite and a groom's room are in the works in the basement, where the bride and groom can get ready for their big day.

McCabe's old candy corner and soda bar, on the mezzanine level, were preserved.

For now, Mr. Stern doesn't have a staff, but will be hiring in 2013.

Nearby, a nonprofit incubator, called Under One Roof, is at The Center Building, 208 18th St., which Mr. Stern's brother also owns.

Mr. Stern said they are seeking nonprofits to move into it. Heart of Hope Ministries is there, with room for up to 30 nonprofits to have low-rent offices on the second-floor space.

"It's another way to give back to the Rock Island area," he said.

Great River Studios eventually will move from The Center Building to the third floor of The Stern Center. Mr. Stern said there are no set plans for the second floor of The Stern Center at this point.

The center's website is, and the phone number is (309) 314-3372.


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.

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