Covering the Land of Lincoln

JR Kortman Center for Design’s landmark ornaments remain popular gifts

Susan Cooling, of Rockford, stopped by JR Kortman Center for Design on Thursday to purchase three ornaments that are part of the store’s Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection.

Cooling bought a hand-painted image of the Burpee Museum of Natural History as a gift for her grandchildren in Washington DC and a pair of Elks Club ornaments for her daughters, one who lives in Chicago and the other who resides in Rockford.

“They have special meaning because they are a representation of our landmarks and also because I’m a firm believer in supporting local businesses,” Cooling said.

Cooling has also purchased several of the store’s collection of ornaments during past holiday seasons as keepsakes for her own house.

“They just put joy in my heart when I bring them out and put them on my tree,” she said.

The specially designed ornaments have been bringing joy to Rockford residents — past and present — since 1997, when JR Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., introduced the concept.

The ornaments, which sell for $25 a piece, are made of glass. The images are designed by a local artist and then hand painted in China.

More:How Rockford is your tree? Local landmark ornament collection grows

While JR Kortman typically introduces a new landmark ornament each holiday season, that’s not the case this year.

“One of the problems we had was a supply chain issue and shipping problems that were going on,” store co-owner Doc Slafkosky said. “They weren’t sure if they could guarantee that we could get delivery of these on time for the Christmas season and it’s very important that we have them at this time of the year.”

While there are no new additions to the store’s collection, some of the familiar ornaments from past years are still customer favorites.

A hand-painted image of Symbol, a sculpture designed by Alexander Lieberman, has been the most popular ornament over the years.

Prairie Street Brewhouse, the Faust Landmark and two different versions of the Coronado Performing Arts Center have also been big sellers.

“If places have memories attached to them, like the Coronado, that really is something that makes people want to have a particular style of ornament,” Slafkosky said.

A Coronado Theater themed Christmas ornament is seen on Thursday, Dec.  15, 2022, at JR Kortman Center for Design in Rockford.

The collection also features images of East and West High Schools, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Embassy Suites Hotel, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Midway Theater, Veterans Memorial Hall, and St. Anthony Of Padua Catholic Church.

“Oddly enough, considering we don’t have a brand new one, sales have been really good,” Slafkosky said. “I think what’s happening is a lot of people who have been collecting them are buying ones that they didn’t have from the past. So, we’re getting a lot of new customers who don’t have any of them and so they’re all fresh to them.”

Ken DeCoster covers business news and features. Contact him at 815-987-1391, [email protected] or @DeCosterKen.

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More