Capitalizing On The Positives

Robin Young - Capital House

Robin Young focuses on the positive changes happening in our area and encourages everyone to explore our own community.

What do you do after you have spent a career in professional sports, have worked in New York City, and have built a national reputation as an equestrian?  For Robin Young, the answer to that question led her back to her roots in the thriving downtown area of Rockford.

Robin was born in northeast Georgia and moved with her parents to the Rockford area in 1980.  After graduating college, she pursued a professional career as an equestrian for 26 years. She counts former Olympians among the many friends she made during that time. She returned to the Rockford area in the early 1990’s, and last year she began a new venture, the Capital House, which is located at 308 W. State Street, in downtown Rockford.

Robin is excited to be a part of the positive change she sees happening in the downtown area.  She notes the many restaurant and entertainment venues, as well as the unique shops that have opened. She loves the vibrancy of the downtown and personally enjoys walking along the “beautiful, scenic, and convenient river walk.”

When she came back to Rockford in the 1990’s Robin says the city was losing jobs and losing companies. Now she sees the city on the up curve of the economic cycle. She attributes part of that to the collaboration of individuals and associations who working together to strengthen our economy.

Robin says she was a typical Rockford resident before she started Capital House. She says “I didn’t go downtown that much.  I lived on the east side.  I went to restaurants on the east side. I didn’t realize all the things I was missing by not enjoying the downtown area.” She has seen first-hand that the things she used to believe were barriers to her enjoying time downtown, such as limited parking or even safety concerns are not frequent problems in the downtown area.  She wants everyone to be a part of this reawakening of the downtown. She wants everyone to see what she has seen.

Spend any time talking to Robin about the area and her excitement and enthusiasm are contagious. Not only does she get involved when possible, she encourages others to become involved and create more spokespeople sharing and shouting about the amazing opportunities found right here, in our own community.

Robin is helping get the word out through her business, by supporting other businesses in the downtown and organizations that provide events and happenings in the downtown.  Currently, she is helping promote the September 22 Fall for Rockford festival event sponsored by the River District. She says the event ties in the start of fall with the exhortation to fall back in love with Rockford. It’s another chance to bring people downtown and to see what’s changed.

She complements the current city administration for their leadership. She says “as her businesses grow, and others grow, they employ more people.  The higher employment brings in more revenue and brings in more people and investment.” She sees all of the momentum growing and building on itself.  She sees a lot of change in play. The strong manufacturing base is undergoing a resurgence in Rockford.  Now new businesses are coming to the city. “There’s a lot of potential in this community,” she mentions during the conversation, “we need to focus on the positive things happening right here and build on that.”

Right now, Robin says they are working on building their base.  But as that happens, Robin has ideas for future businesses and is committed to opening an urban grocery store in the downtown with a deli, bakery, fresh food in a smaller store.

She loves to see the businesses coming in and now feels that people are moving back to the downtown. Capitalizing on those trends is Robin’s goal, and her restaurant is turning out to be a “capital idea.”

by JAC, RAEDC Correspondent