For just over a decade, Sharon Gramm has been at the helm of the Peoria RiverFront Association, a nonprofit group of businesses, developers, services and individuals whose mission is to support and promote the Peoria RiverFront. Founded in 1997 amidst a flurry of riverfront development efforts, the association has been integral in strengthening our region’s most unique asset—including coordinating the ever-popular Peoria RiverFront Market.
A native of Metamora, Gramm attended Illinois State University, graduating with a business administration degree in 1991. She started her career in banking—first on the marketing side, then on the retail side—before transitioning to her current role in 2006. Over the years, the association’s promotional efforts have expanded from an exclusive focus on the RiverFront to encompass the breadth of the downtown area, all the way up to West Main Street.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in downtown Peoria,” Gramm says. “We have so many new events, and favorite events that come back year to year. It’s also exciting to see the growth in the Warehouse District, and… West Main Street has a great thing going on up there. We’re just trying to tie it all together.”
Besides plugging the new website visitdowntownpeoria.com, Gramm enjoys reading a good book, riding her bike and just being outside on a beautiful day. She and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters: Kenzie, 19, and Sydney, 15.
- Favorite childhood memory: Creating backyard talent shows with my best friend/neighbor.
- First job: A paper carrier for the Woodford Courier, then the Pantagraph. My second job was as a local carnie… corn dogs, elephant ears, cotton candy!
- Favorite retreat: Boating on Clinton Lake. (But we just sold our boat, so I need a new retreat—or we need a new boat!)
- On what occasion do you lie? My daughter still holds Santa Claus against me!
- If you could retrieve just one item on the way out of your burning house, what would it be? My daughters’ scrapbooks that my mother-in-law made for them—they are priceless!
- What app can’t you live without? Google Maps… I’m directionally challenged!
- What are the last 10 things you purchased? Radishes, strawberries, spinach, snap peas, a pretzel, Savannah bar, kettle corn, popcorn, a frozen lasagna and a piece of strawberry/rhubarb pie… all from the RiverFront Market, of course!
- What is something that always brings a smile to your face? Watching my daughters succeed at something that is out of their comfort zone.
- Which talent would you most like to have? Singing, cooking, artistic talent… Can I pick more than one?
- Which living person do you most admire? My mom. She raised six kids to be productive adults, gives of her time and energy, loves to travel the U.S., and is in fantastic shape! a&s