2023 Year In Review: 25+ Inspiring
St. Louis Stories

From community transformers and restaurateurs to inspiring artists and innovative startup founders, take a look back at this year’s STLMade stories.


Story By Liz Miller
Visuals By Spot Content Studio, R.J. Hartbeck, Jennifer Silverberg, Once Films, Michael Thomas

In 2023, we’ve shared inspiring stories that highlight the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and vibrancy of St. Louisans. From world-class artists and visionary community leaders to the innovative minds helping to grow the agtech, geospatial, and tech industries here, there are so many reasons to love the metro area. Explore a few of these stories in the video above, and reflect on all of our STLMade stories from the past year below.

Thank you for helping us elevate these voices in 2023, and cheers to even more stellar St. Louis stories in 2024.

Pictured from left to right: Abbey Eilermann of Daily Disco, artist Dan Zettwoch in his studio, and artist Lauren Marx in her studio.

Stitching Vibes: Abbey Eilermann and her team at the Daily Disco bring fresh eyes and unique designs to the vintage art of chainstitching.

Drawn to St. Louis: Cartoonist, information designer, and printmaker Dan Zettwoch is known for his colorful, jam-packed informational designs inspired by St. Louis history and culture. His illustrations span all corners of St. Louis then and now.

Second Nature: From her studio in the Marine Villa neighborhood, acclaimed artist Lauren Marx draws inspiration from the native flora and fauna of North America.

Pictured from left to right, top to bottom: Danielle Deavens and Doug Spencer of Bold Xchange, Marcus Howard of GreaterHealth Pharmacy & Wellness, and Keisha Mabry Haymore of Heydays HQ.

Bold Moves: Through Bold Xchange, co-founders Danielle Deavens and Doug Spencer aim to improve equity in entrepreneurship by helping large companies support smaller Black-owned businesses.

A Promising Prescription: Educator-turned-entrepreneur Marcus Howard is raising the standard of pharmacy care with the launch of GreaterHealth Pharmacy & Wellness in the Delmar DivINe.

Creating Space: At Heydays HQ, Keisha Mabry Haymore provides the space and support for women and founders of color to create, collaborate, and grow their businesses.

Pictured from left to right: Zekita Armstrong Asuquo of Gateway Global and Peter Webb and Drew Thomas of MARSfarm.

Mapping Tomorrow: Through her nonprofit workforce development organization, Gateway Global, Zekita Armstrong Asuquo is training under-resourced high school students for entry-level jobs in the geospatial field.

Feeding the Future: At St. Louis startup MARSfarm, co-founders Peter Webb and Drew Thomas create portable greenhouses to upgrade how classrooms study agriculture.

Sunflower Power: At Edison Agrosciences, sunflowers could hold the key to producing the first sustainable natural rubber made in the U.S.

Friendship, Faith and Futures: Pastors Ken and Beverly Jenkins open community development hub R&R Marketplace in Dellwood with the aim to change lives.

Pictured from left to right: David Wooburn (pictured left) of Edison Agrosciences and researcher Dr. Santosh Kumar of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Pastors Beverly and Ken Jenkins of R&R Marketplace.
Pictured from left to right: Pat Grosch, Nick Colombo, and Sarah Miller of Switchgrass Spirits; Craig and Mowgli Rivard of Little Fox; and Juwan Rice of Rated Test Kitchen.

Free Spirits: St. Louis’ Switchgrass Spirits is carving its own path with its grain-to-glass whiskey and brandy.

Impeccable Taste: Craig and Mowgli Rivard are making a mark in Fox Park with their Brooklyn-inspired, modern neighborhood restaurant, Little Fox.

Highly Rated: With Rated Test Kitchen, chef Juwan Rice is bringing a new kind of fine-dining restaurant to Downtown St. Louis.

Pictured from left to right: Storytime with Ready Readers, the spring 2023 Building Union Diversity cohort, and Doug Mitchell of ScholarPath.

A Reading Revolution: For more than 25 years, Ready Readers has helped advance social and racial equity in the St. Louis area by bolstering literacy education for preschoolers in low-income communities.

Trading Up: As part of the Missouri Works Initiative, the Building Union Diversity program is expanding access to careers in construction.

The Path Forward: Doug and Bill Mitchell’s startup ScholarPath helps graduating high school students figure out what’s next.

Pictured from left to right: Educator Mark Bosworth (pictured right) of Southwestern Illinois College works with student Lemola Mason (pictured left). President and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society Jody Sowell poses in front of a St. Louis flag mural.

Manufacturing the Future: Southwestern Illinois College leads the way in educating the next generation of manufacturing workers, helping to realize the vision of a thriving advanced manufacturing industry that will drive inclusive economic growth in St. Louis.

A New View: As president and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society, Jody Sowell focuses on telling stories about St. Louis’ past that ignite civic passion for how the city can evolve into the future.

Harnessing Talent: Entrepreneur and talent recruiter Anjie Sanford has launched a new program through BioSTL that offers minority college students internships at St. Louis bioscience companies and helps them thrive via networking opportunities, mentorship, community service, and more.

Singing Her Own Tune: Girl Conductor founder Maria A. Ellis uses a unique blend of gospel, R&B, and hip-hop to make music education more approachable and accessible for young people.


Pictured from left to right: Entrepreneur and talent recruiter Anjie Sanford of BioSTL and Girl Conductor founder Maria A. Ellis.
Pictured from left to right: Jenny Hill of Yes Honey Studios, Amanda Helman and Susan Logsdon of Golden Gems, and Souzan Gerami of TeaVoila.

Just Dance: Jenny Hill’s Yes Honey Studio uses the art of dance to help people celebrate moving their bodies.

Shining Bright: Sisters Amanda Helman and Susan Logsdon founded Golden Gems to uplift, inspire, and help people feel seen. Their products are now found in their three St. Louis-area locations and around the country.

A New Leaf: From her home office in Wildwood, TeaVoila founder Souzan Gerami is revolutionizing an industry with plant-based, compostable to-go tea cups.

Pictured from left to right: Rebecca van Bergen of nonprofit Nest, St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline co-founder Luka Cai, and three of MaTovu's cofounders, Nava Kantor, Paul Sorenson, and Shira Berkowitz.

Taking Care of Business: Rebecca van Bergen’s nonprofit Nest aims to advance gender equity and economic inclusion through craft.

A Healing Helpline: The St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline offers identity-affirming resources for the region’s LGBTQIA+ community.

A Welcoming Space: MaTovu celebrates five years of fellowship and inclusive programming for the Jewish community in the City of St. Louis.

Pictured from left to right: Juno Musonda (pictured center) of Ope Outdoors, a view of City Museum from its sprawling exterior, and Arkadin Cinema & Bar owners Sarah Baraba and Keith Watson.

Outdoor Enthusiast: With Ope Outdoors, Juno Musonda is spreading love for the Midwest’s parks and natural attractions through merchandise, park cleanups, and hikes.

One of a Kind: From the depths of the caves to its 10-story slide, City Museum continues to find new ways to delight and surprise visitors from around the world.

Microcinema Magic: Arkadin Cinema & Bar opens up worlds in the Bevo neighborhood, where owners Sarah Baraba and Keith Watson share a love of film and add to a growing repertory movie scene.

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