Shutterloves: Kilbourne Group shares several winning photos from its Inspire.13 calendar contest

November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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We asked, and you captured.

For months now, Kilbourne Group has been gently requesting, brazenly asking  – and, on occasion, begging — local photographers to share their vision of how they see Downtown Fargo. Our goal: to attract the best and brightest images to feature for our (almost around long enough to qualify as “annual”) “Inspire.13 Downtown Fargo Calendar.”

Response was excellent. In fact, we received more than 90 entries — THREE TIMES as many as we did in last year’s inaugural contest.

Since late October, KG’s office has been a flurry of color printouts, ballots and meetings as we debated over our hits and misses for the calendar. Sure, we loved the iconic Fargo Theatre, but how many appearances could it make in one calendar? (The correct answer, it turns out, is four!)

This vibrant image of the Fargo Theatre was such a popular favorite that we decided it HAD to be the cover for our calendar.


We knew our collection of photos had to represent downtown in all seasons, through all events and through different eyes. Sure, we wanted shiny, happy, travel-brochure photos (what self-respecting control freak who finds herself in charge of a calendar doesn’t?), but we also wanted people shots, macro views and shots that varied from daybreak to nightlife.

Now, FINALLY, it has happened. The top selections were made, the winners notified and our ever-patient designer, Jennifer,  has polished the photos and finessed the fonts. Even as you read this, our lovely ‘Inspire.13′ calendar is being printed and prepared for take-off.


As one noted man of letters has put it:

By Monday, Nov. 26 (we couldn’t quite make Black Friday, so we’ll have to settle for Charcoal Monday), we hope to have the completed calendar available on and (insert blatant sales-y plug here) through stores all over downtown. That includes Boerth’s, Zandbroz, Unglued, ecce, SHANNALEE, Outermost Layer, McNeal & Friends, Everett’s Barbershop, Salon 3/5, Proper and Prim, O’Day Cache, the Fargo Theatre and Moxie Java. (Because, seriously, what puts you in more of a calendar-buying mood than a foreign film, a good latte and a beard trim?)

Still not convinced? Here are some other fab images, courtesy of talented local photographers:

Hello, March? Jon Forness caught the perfect Fargo-centric photo for you, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with sandbagging.

By day, J. Shane Mercer does social media/web stuff for The Forum. By night, he takes cool photos like this one.


We loved the idea of a construction photo, which would show all the growth that’s taken place in downtown Fargo in the last decade. Here, Dan Francis captures an in-progress perspective of the Loretta Building’s fourth floor …

Darren Losee captured this really dynamic photo of a beloved summertime ritual: “Cruising on Broadway.” All it needs to complete it is a blonde in a white Thunderbird …

To see a complete gallery of ALL entries, please click on And when you are wondering what holiday gift to get Great Aunt Muriel, who likes to talk about all the movies she saw at the Fargo Theatre when she was a girl, well, don’t forget about us!


Shoot, there it is! The clock is winding down for Kilbourne Group’s downtown Fargo photo competition!

October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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The deadline is looming for Kilbourne Group’s second-ever Inspire.13 photo competition!

But don’t despair. If you’re a photographer, you probably have an artistic bent. That means you do some of your best work while staring down a deadline. (That’s something a bloggosaurus like yours truly can relate to.) So start sifting through all the wonderful images of Downtown Fargo you’ve captured in the last year or so, and then take a few minutes to enter online (go to

The deadline is this Sunday, although we won’t turn down any late stragglers who have submitted entries by 8 a.m. Monday. (Who picks Sunday for a deadline anyway? Oh wait. We do.)

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Photos that depict downtown Fargo (if you want to get technical about it, we define downtown as the rectangular shape bordered by: Seventh Avenue North on the north, the Red River on the east, Seventh Avenue South on the south and University on the west).
  • Photos that reflect all moods, seasons, times of day and activities in our city’s ever-blossoming downtown heart.
  • Images that range from straightforward shots of events (like the Holiday of Lights parade) to more artistic photos (macro shots that make you think twice where something was taken).
  • In short, we want to see pictures that truly capture downtown Fargo as a vibrant place to live, work and play.

The contest is open to both youth (18 and younger) and adults (everyone else). The top adult winners will see their images reproduced in our full-color, glossy Inspire.13 calendar, receive 10 calendars to keep or share (ahem: Christmas is coming!), and get $80 in gift cards toward select downtown businesses.

Youth winners also will see their work displayed in the calendar, take home $50 in downtown gift cards and receive two free calendars.

We’re excited to point out that we’ve received 70 entries so far! Some of these images are iconic (for instance: shots of the always-popular Fargo Theatre sign), while others aren’t quite so well known. There are still some subject areas we’d love to see represented — including wintertime shots, crowd photos, night-life scenes, portraits of Downtown Fargoans, downtown construction and “on the go” photos (people biking, pet owners walking dogs, and downtowners just living life and having fun).

For full entry instructions, go to

We can’t wait to see how YOU see Downtown Fargo!






Lofty Goals: Kilbourne Group changes old warehouse into urban loft living space

October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

When I first heard the Dickensian-sounding name, “Smith, Follett & Crowl,” my brain conjured up images of a boot-blacking factory in Victorian-era London.

So imagine my surprise when, as a relative newcomer to the Kilbourne Group team, I checked out KG’s own Smith, Follett and Crowl warehouse and could not find a street urchin in sight. Instead, this building is more commonly known as The Lofts on Roberts — home to 21 modern, loft-style apartments — as  well as Mezzaluna, one of the snazziest places to sip and sup in downtown Fargo.

We recently accompanied photographer Dan Francis to this historic building at 309 Roberts Street to capture updated images of these spaces, which were refurbished in 2008. Fortunately, tenants Cassi and Matt (just married, BTW!) allowed us to photograph their apartment, which is as cozy-chic as you’d expect from any space occupied by two hip, young, Fargo professionals. (It wasn’t too hard to see that Cassi has a background in interior design either.)


Matt and Cassi enjoy the living area of their light-filled space in the Lofts on Roberts.

The building was originally built in 1917 for Charles O. Smith, Clarence O. Follett and Amos Crowl. The three men were partners, wholesale suppliers of dry goods (ready-to-wear clothing, towels, linens, sewing notions, etc.), according to a Forum column written by former Forum librarian Andrea Hunter Halgrimson in 2008.

The newspapers of the day described the structure as a “splendid” edifice — “the appearances of the front being plain, but attractive with large windows, with matt faced brick and stone trimming.” Reporters noted it was “one more evidence of the increasing importance of Fargo as a distributions point for the north-west.”

According to Halgrimson, the $30,000 building was designed by W. Kurke, the same Fargo architect who conceived the Pioneer Mutual Life Building (now home to NDSU’s Barry Hall).

The business thrived for decades. In the 1970s, Mel Paeper bought controlling interest in the business. In a couple of years, the company was supplying its goods to 350 stores throughout the Upper Midwest. But as regional shopping centers cropped up across the country, the demand for supplying merchandise to small-town merchants dwindled, Halgrimson wrote. Paeper closed the 68-year-old wholesale distribution business in 1982.

A year later, Knights Formal Wear bought the building to serve as a showroom and headquarters for its North Dakota stores. When KG General Manager Mike Allmendinger first walked through the building in 2007, he was struck by the surreal sight of  a very old building packed with rentable Santa and Easter Bunny suits.

But it was also packed with potential. Allmendinger describes it as “the epitome of what a loft living space should be. It had hardwood floors, exposed beams, original wood posts and exposed brick walls. It hadn’t been carved up into all kinds of little Sheetrocked rooms.”

Kilbourne Group worked hard to preserve and maintain the integrity of the building’s historical features, including a pressed metal ceiling, numerous large windows, corbelled brick, simplistic stone trim, an oak-encased office, exposed wood beams and masonry exterior walls. The organization’s efforts were recognized in 2009 when KG received an Adaptive Reuse Award from the Fargo-Moorhead Heritage Society, an architectural preservation organization.

To see more photos of the Lofts on Roberts, please check out Kilbourne Group’s weekly blog: