Connect With Us
Connect With Us

why si

Why SI - Brooke Guthman

January 21, 2022

As part of our WhySI series, we spoke with Brooke Guthman, Member Services Manager at Egyptian Electric Cooperative and Co-Owner of Walnut Street Properties, LLC, about her role in revitalizing the business community and livability in downtown Murphysboro.

How did you choose to live in Southern Illinois?

My husband Ryan and I are from Murphysboro and together have 3 children. In 2004, when I graduated from SIU Carbondale with a BS in Civil Engineering, I took a position in Springfield, Ill. as an environmental engineer, feeling as if I could not get away fast enough. It didn’t take a year to realize I wanted to return to Southern Illinois.

In 2006, I came across a by-chance opportunity to move back to Murphysboro to begin a career with our rural electric utility, Egyptian Electric Cooperative, as a Staking Engineer. Ten years later I became the Member Services Manager, and today have been in the position for over 6 years. My husband, a fellow Civil Engineering graduate, is currently an Operations Engineer at Illinois Department of Transportation in Carbondale. We have recognized that our education from SIUC has served us well, furthermore, we have pledged to ourselves the same legacy for our children.

What do you enjoy most about living in Southern Illinois?

Aside from family, our favorite part of southern Illinois is having access to the scenic country life and larger neighboring communities, that we find to have all we could ask for. We love hometown sports rivalries under the Friday night lights, campfires by our pond, morning walks around Murphysboro Lake, shopping downtown, beautiful afternoons at the wineries, restaurant dining across Southern Illinois, and our fall festival traditions.

How have you been involved in revitalizing Southern Illinois and helping it to shine as a great place to live?

My first exposure to the idea of downtown revitalization was from speakers at a National Rural Electric (NRECA) conference who spoke about how millennial generations in rural America are trending to invest their resources into small downtowns and creating what they want in their community. I was so moved by the presentation, I wanted to do something drastic to help revitalize my hometown, Murphysboro. Within four months, funding had been secured for a consultant to design a revitalization plan which encompassed everything from streetscapes to public art, business incentives and a plan for housing.

As part of the Revitalize 62966 movement, my husband and I purchased three commercial properties on Walnut Street in Murphysboro and have completely remodeled two of the three buildings – me dreaming and designing and him doing majority of the work and construction. Through rehabbing and rethinking old buildings in downtown Murphysboro, our intention is to support the development of new local businesses and revive their historic attributes, making them and the main street flourish once again. These buildings are now home to an Airbnb, hair salon Faction 93, and Cold Blooded Coffee & Roastery.


1318 Walnut Street  - Facade Before and After Remodel

We have found true joy from being actively engaged in the revitalization of our small town. If others would actively engage with their passion(s) and ask themselves “how can I use my talents, gifts, or resources to benefit my community and those that live here,” I can only imagine how much better all our communities could be! Our main goals are to encourage others to take ownership and pride in their community and to choose to love where they live – wherever that should be in Southern Illinois.

To learn more about Revitalize 62966, visit


1318 Walnut Street - Interior After Remodel


Pink Lady Airbnb- Interior After Remodel

Read More Why SI
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram