The Women of Influence program honors local women for their contributions to the Springfield area community. Selected by their peers through submitted nominations, all have made important contributions to the community at large.
Security Bank's 2013 Women of Influence
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of this year's recipients at the tenth annual Security Bank’s Women of Influence Awards, Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 from 5pm - 7 pm at Erin's Pavilion, Southwind Park, 4965 S. Second St. in Springfield.
Please R.S.V.P. to (217) 726-6600 or email email@example.com
People on the go looking for a Wi-Fi hot spot to tap into to find not many businesses offer that service to their customers in Springfield. For those businesses that do, the payoff translates into higher customer satisfaction.
Barnes & Noble has offered customers free Wi-Fi through AT&T for several years. “It’s another service we offer,” said Mark Steger, store manager. “We want this to be an inviting place to come explore and hang out.”
Steger added it’s important that businesses such as his offer this service to customers. People depend on their electronic devices and like the convenience of being able to download books on their Nook or e-reader.
“It’s a service customers come to expect,” said Steger. “It’s a nice convenience.”
A lot of customers take advantage of the service. “Customers grab a bite to eat or get a latte from the café and sit down and pull out their laptops,” said Steger. “People spend more time in the store.”
Having Wi-Fi gives customers more options for shopping for reading material. “Customers can browse the store or shop digitally,” said Steger.
The store rarely has problems with its Wi-Fi service. “Once in a while we have to reboot,” said Steger.
Customers appreciate the service. “We get a lot of positive comments,” said Steger.
Steve Luparell said Boone’s Saloon has offered free Wi-Fi through Comcast since opening in September 2011. “It’s a good deal,” he said. “We have an Internet connection so why not let others take advantage of it? We have a lot of business people who come in.”
Initially, he had problems with it. “We didn’t have it labeled good enough,” said Luparell. When your laptop or electronic device would search for it, it would pull up half a dozen hits. “Now we have it labeled Boone’s Free Wi-Fi. It seems to be working okay.”
Luparell sees a lot of people come in with their laptops and tablets. “Everyone has a cell phone,” he said. “I see a lot of people on their cell phones using it. People don’t have to go through their cell phone provider and don’t have to use their data package.”
Lincoln’s Home, the only national park in Illinois, has long been an economic engine for Springfield and Sangamon County, but federal funding cuts may impact its hours of operations.
A recent study by Michigan State University for the National Park Service found that in 2011, nearly 300,000 people visited Lincoln’s Home, spending $16.4 million in communities surrounding the site.
At its peak in 2009, Lincoln’s Home recorded a half a million visitors. While it has tapered off a bit, it has remained fairly consistent over the last decade, hovering around 300,000 to 400,000 visitors a year, according to Lincoln Home Supervisor Dale Phillips.
The federal fiscal crisis does not bode well for national parks. Phillips, who has been with the National Park Service for 37 years, said the sequestration means an immediate five percent cut to the operating budget resulting in a reduction of $140,000 from the base.
“There are little to no discretionary funds,” Phillips said. “All dollars have been dedicated to fixed operational costs.”
The recent Lincoln movie, Phillips says, “hasn’t really impacted visitor counts. As for what brings people to experience Lincoln, Phillips said people are just enthralled by the Great Emancipator.
“I wouldn’t say our overall visitor numbers have been impacted by the movie but we have seen record book sales,” Phillips said. “People seem to be buying more literature about Lincoln and really wanting to know more about him.”
Phillips said visitor numbers for 2013 are on track to match previous years. “As weather starts to improve we’ll see a bump in visits,” Phillips said. “Spring break brought a flood of visitors; we were overwhelmed by the number of people.”