Hillsboro gets a record store! (inside The Refinery.)

Hillsboro is getting a record store! Like a real live record, record store! They have taken up temporary residence inside Hillsboro’s hip, eclectic vintage goods place The Refinery. Collector buddies Matt Sands and Brian Lee have taken the plunge and decided to open a place for locals to buy (and sell) vintage albums.


The store’s future location is under renovation. There they will partner up with friend and local musician Devin Moroney.  The new location will be the start of a (unnamed as of yet) record store and music recording studio.  The trio plan to open the new location early next year.

Lee and Sands opened the temporary spot at the refinery to help build up 10-15,000 lp’s (enough records to start the bigger store with). The new shop will have vintage Lp’s, 45’s, cd’s, and turntables, as well as store/ studio t-shirts and music related items.  These guys are “actively buying collections” so give them a call at 6152023837  follow and share the new store on facebook here.

Store hours are Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 11-5

Come give us a visit!

Making a small town commercial building into a big city dream home.

Hillsboro, IL-

Just 8 months ago this fresh, modern apartment was a dingy warren of dark rooms, leaky roofs, and a nightmare for all but the bravest of home owners.  Owners Devin and Emily Moroney recently re-located back to their hometown of Hillsboro, IL (pop 4,500) from the cultural hotspot Denver, Colorado. The couple teamed up with local renovator Brian Lee Carpentry, who along with his brother-in-law Seth Huber, put the memories of the old, dodgy place to bed.

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The team gutted the space, vaulting the ceilings, laying fir floors, and exposing the brick.


Ikea Cabinets painted a pretty, blue/black paint from Farrow & Ball.


The Moroneys found an old locker set to substitute for built in coat closets.



Storage for Devin’s record collection, speakers, and book cases were incorporated into the stair rail/book case, as well as power and wiring for a hi fi system.


Customized vanity bought at new local hotspot The Refinery.



The Moroneys may have moved to a small town to be near to family, but in their new place, a few doors down from Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters, across from Orpheum Theatre, in this blossoming small town, they are set to be a big part of making this small town a great place to live. -Small Town Cool

New Ideas Use Old Buildings- a visit to Nokomis, IL

After a few weeks of being taunted by pictures of delicious pastries, my family and I finally made the trip out to Nokomis, IL to check out the new Ugly Mugs Coffee. Owner Tim Brookshire and us have a lot in common including buying old buildings and doing your best to restore them and breathe life into the community. We ended up spending the morning there at the local bookstore, and walking the downtown, and then the beautiful garden store.  Here’s the day set to music by our old friend and creative wizard Kelly Latimore… (check out his free albums here!)

Dune on Pyramids

Building the set for a concert in Hillsboro by The Young Eyes with my buddies Ryan Young and Devin Moroney.  We filmed this the night before the show…  We projected the movie Dune on our set while the band played their set. FUUUUUN.

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Here’s the video!


So for all you people who dream or do take on huge projects this one to me is a major milestone for us.  We are finally putting up the “For Rent” sign in this FULLY RENOVATED beauty of a storefront in our little town of Hillsboro, IL! (I’m yelling as I write this…)

My father in law Stan Huber and I bought this building about five years ago and the dropped ceilings, shredded carpet and tin paneling storefront were such a mess I could hardly imagine them getting the start-over that they so needed.


I posted a few months ago about the renovation of the facade . Stan and I were all but sure that we would never have the money to do something about the 2500 sq ft. of really bad carpet, tired dropped ceilings, and concealed side windows.  I was talking with my coffee roaster/building renovating buddy Isaac Reynolds about how thick and many layers of flooring he had cut through when working on his building and realized we probably had the same wood floor buried deep under the carpet… and so…


While we were working on the floor I stuck my head into a tile in the dropped ceiling and we found tin the original tin and good ducting that could be exposed! No more dropped ceiling!


We decided to put a finish on the old, worked floor without sanding it to retain some of it’s aged glory. I love how this spot at the back of the store shows paint can rings..




If you know anyone who would be a good fit for this storefront have them call Stan Huber at 217-741-0953! The rent is $550 a month plus utilities. This photo warms my heart to see this building all pretty and now having a Sage on Sage next door (they are still doing rare tea week!)


This is going to be a great year for Hillsboro! Can’t wait to show you some of my upcoming projects and a few really crazy ones that friends are working on.  Come out to the Black Rabbit/ Small Town Cool/ Young Eyes show at the shop this Friday!

-JAI Renee Pop up shop!


Last September, friends Jenna Holtschulte and Anna Limbaugh started a business on a whim. “Anna Limbaugh is my hair stylist and we literally came up with this little sign business at one of my hair appts back in September (we both love crafty things and LOVE calligraphy) and decided to sign up for the Hillsboro Harvest Market last minute.”


The duo and their husbands, Brian Limbaugh & Alex Holtschulte, cranked out roughly 60 signs and ended up selling 95% of them at the market. Fast forward six months, a few events, and a bunch of custom orders later, JAI Renee (pronounced Jay) will be hosting a pop-up shop.  This Sat., March 18 at 309 South Main. (Same spot as the pop up art show in January)


“All of our signs are hand cut, hand stained, painted and lettered all by the four of us.”


This is the kind of creative blood that can help change our town for the better. I’m seriously restraining myself from going on a positive rant here… This is good stuff by good people.


Local Teameister Sage on Sage will be brewing his magic iced and hot teas, so you can grab a mug or a tumbler and fill it with goodness. (8-10am)

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This Saturday from 8am-3pm come out and show your support. It will be really fun! DON”T FORGET, a pop up shop is only a one day shop so make sure you make it out!

Follow JAI Renee at facebook here. or instagram @jaireneehandmade

P.S. photos are via-Jenna Holtschulte (see, these girls are good!)

THE REFINERY OPENING- Hillsboro goes eclectic.

This weekend Hillsboro, IL gets a new eclectic vintage goods store! Owner Jami Sarceny combines vintage collections with a colorful, fun sense of style. I’ve been anticipating this store opening since helping gut the building last December. I got in to take some pictures tonight and get a little preview and oooh, it’s good.




That couch is just…




Lebowski would be proud.


I love lamp.


Regular store hours of Saturday/ Sunday 11-5 start THIS WEEKEND!

Follow them on Facebook here, and come out this weekend and help welcome them to town and pick up some cool stuff!

Shots from the art show!

We had two great nights of a packed house! Thanks so much to Isaac Reynolds, Josh Randle, B.J. Parker, Bailey Reynolds, Andrew Staff, Jeff Dunn and Ryne Fuller for sharing your talents! Here’s some up close shots for you who couldn’t make it-



Isaac Reynolds-


Isaac Reynolds-


Josh Randle


Josh Randle


Bailey Reynolds-


Josh Randle


Josh Randle


Isaac Reynolds-


Andrew Staff-


B.J. Parker-


B.J. Parker-


B.J. Parker-


Jeff Dunn-

Ugliness forgotten! – a local eyesore becomes an art hotspot (and gets a new history.)

For one night on January 13th, 309 south main in small town Hillsboro, IL, will become a POP-UP haven of creativity.

On a trip to visit family, new-owners Devin and Emilie Moroney took the brave plunge last year ago to purchase this derelict building while still living in Denver, CO.  While leaving an art/food town behind is hard, the new blood in Hillsboro is on a path to create a mini scene of it’s own.


Two doors down from the site of Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters (and soon cafe, shhhhhhh!), the most exciting movie theatre in (at least) a few hundred miles, and a few mom and pop shops that show promise, the future is looking bright.

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This old building used to be the town’s most popular shoe store back in the day. Though there haven’t been lines of satisfied customers for a long time, this beauty is being brought to her former glory by yours truly and will have lines again this Friday for the second annual Small Town Cool/ Black Rabbit Coffee Roasters POP-UP art show!


Small Town Cool staffer JRandlephoto (ha ha..)

Local artists will include Josh Randle (Hillsboro), Andrew Staff (Carbondale), Isaac Reynolds (Hillsboro), Ryne Fuller (Coffeen native) , B.J. Parker (Greenville), and Bailey (Eisentraut) Reynolds (Hillsboro).


Greenville realist -B.J. Parker


Character and tiki artist Andrew Staff (Carbondale)


lo brow artist Isaac Reynolds (Hillsboro, IL)


Street and fashion artist Ryne Fuller (from Coffeen, IL)


Replacing the old storefront windows

So for any of you wanting to get a sneak peak of the space “in progress”, to drink coffee, see some Small Town Cool curated art, and talk with Devin and Emilie about their long term plans for the space, come this Friday to downtown Hillsboro, IL.

show opens- 6:00 309 South main street

Or check out the show facebook page here.