business BLOG


ACE-ing Environmental Stewardship – Ace Hardware volunteers work to “Keep the Dean Clean”

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarTuesday, 23 May

Oak Brook Park District’s Dean Nature Sanctuary is a sprawling 40-acre native conservation area that protects the diversity of a unique combination of Illinois ecosystems. The property at 115 Canterberry Lane in Oak Brook features oak savannah, wetland, pond, and prairie habitats. Recognizing the positive impact of parks and open space within the community, Ace Hardware’s Janeth Ballines reached out to the Oak Brook Park District to see if there was an opportunity for staff to give back and spend some time working in the sanctuary.

(Left to right) Ace Hardware employees Janeth Ballines, SongSu Kim, Tim Baker, Staci Mayfield, Robert Westman, Salman Majid, and Jessica Murabito worked to help clear litter and debris from Oak Brook Park District’s Dean Nature Sanctuary

On Thurs., May 11, seven Ace Hardware employees volunteered their time and energy to clear litter and debris from the prairie portions of the sanctuary. Everything from bottles and cans to concrete and metal were collected. According to Bob Johnson, Oak Brook Park District’s director of parks and planning, keeping the site free from litter and debris provides a more pristine natural habitat for plants and wildlife and helps to maintain a safe environment for visitors.

(Left to right) Ace Hardware’s Tim Baker, Robert Westman and Jessica Murabito worked to clear debris from the Oak Brook Park District’s Dean Nature Sanctuary’s native prairie during a volunteer work day on May 11

Johnson says that projects like these help educate the greater community on the benefits of natural sites and builds support for environmental stewardship. “It was great to be able to share the story of the Dean Nature Sanctuary with the team from Ace,” said Johnson. “They were an awesome group to work with and we appreciate their volunteer effort to ‘Keep the Dean Clean.’”


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People’s Resource Center Names Jenifer Fabian as Executive Director

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarThursday, 18 May

People’s Resource Center (PRC) has announced the appointment of Jenifer S. Fabian as Executive Director.

For over 20 years, Jeni has dedicated her career in nonprofit leadership to improving services for low-income and disadvantaged communities. PRC serves nearly 30,000 residents of DuPage County each year by providing social services and educational programs to create paths to self-sufficiency.

“We are excited to welcome Jenifer to our team. She brings a wealth of experience and we are looking forward to her leadership and commitment to furthering the mission of PRC,” said Board President Henry Davis.

Jenifer has served for the past six years as Executive Director of The Community House in Hinsdale, an organization that provides residents of 40 surrounding suburbs with recreation and social services including counseling, youth literacy and autism support, and educational opportunities. Prior to The Community House, Jenifer served for seven years as Director of Quality and Performance Improvement at Access Community Health Network, which owns and operates over 50 health centers that deliver services to under served communities in the Chicago area, serving more than 215,000 patients annually. Jenifer has also served as Director of Property Management for Lakefront Supportive Housing Corporation (now Mercy Lakefront), a national leader in supportive housing for homeless, disabled and senior populations, where she managed a $7 million budget providing housing services for 973 residents at nine locations. Earlier in her career, she served at Deborah’s Place, an agency that provides housing, job training, and support services to women who are homeless in Chicago.

“I am so delighted to be joining the PRC family,” said Ms. Fabian.  “The work this community does every day to support our neighbors and respond to needs is truly inspiring. I share PRC’s passion for connecting the community and meeting needs together.  I am honored to join the team and can’t wait to meet everyone and get started.”

Jenifer Fabian received a Master’s in Public Health, Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University.  She has served as an examiner for the Lincoln Foundation for Performance Excellence and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and is an alumna of the Menttium Executive leadership development program. She has also served on the Board of Directors of West Suburban PADS (now Housing Forward) and is currently a member of the Friends of Housing Forward Advisory Group, the Rotary Club of Hinsdale, and the Assistance League of Chicagoland West.

Jenifer will begin her duties at People’s Resource Center on June 12, 2017.

Inquiries: Linda Cheatham, Interim Executive Director, 630-682-5402 or


About People’s Resource Center

Meeting Our Community’s Needs – Neighbor to Neighbor

Since 1975, People’s Resource Center (PRC) has been bringing neighbors together to respond to hunger and poverty in DuPage County.

Over 30,000 DuPage residents rely on PRC for help each year. With a team of over 2,400 volunteers, we offer nutritious food and other basic necessities like clothes and rent assistance for people facing tough times.  We also connect people with resources-education and tutoring, jobs, technology, art, a caring community-to create a future of hope and opportunity for all.

PRC is able to provide these services because of the generosity and support from our neighbors. More than 2,400 volunteers work with our employees offering time, skills and resources to help their neighbors. Donors contribute food, clothing, books, computers, and money to support our work.  The majority of our support comes from caring neighbors in DuPage County.



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Oak Brook Police Department Issues Temporary Road Closure Announcement for May 24

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarThursday, 18 May

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has notified the Oak Brook Police Department of their intent to hold a demonstration in support of the campaign to increase the minimum wage of “quick service” restaurant employees to $15 per hour. The demonstrations are scheduled to occur on Wednesday May 24th.  We are anticipating the closure of Jorie Blvd to provide for the safety of those participating in the demonstrations.

Wednesday, May 24th (times are estimates based upon circumstances):

  • Demonstrators to march and protest on N/B Jorie Blvd between Forest Gate to Kensington.
  • 6:00 AM-11:00 AM: N/B Jorie Blvd closed from Forest Gate to Kensington.
  • Intermittent closures of S/B Jorie Blvd is also anticipated.
  • The demonstrators are expected to clear the area by approximately 11:00 AM.

Please understand that these road closures could change based on the actions of the demonstrators.

The Oak Brook Police Department will have appropriate resources in place to ensure for emergency responses if needed.  Residents and building managers should allow for traffic delays during this time.

For live updates as the event unfolds please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: OakBrookPoliceDepartment                       Twitter: @Oakbrookpolice

Additional inquires contact Sergeant Benjamin Kadolph at 630-368-8732



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Please Attend the June 7th Suburban Commercial Real Estate Forum hosted by Inland Real Estate

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarWednesday, 17 May


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Oak Brook Park District Introduces Summer Family Fitness Classes

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarTuesday, 16 May

Parents that would like to incorporate their kids into their fitness routine will have plenty of opportunities this summer at the Oak Brook Park District. Starting June 5, the park district is adding five family-friendly fitness classes to their regular group exercise schedule.

According to Michael Delgado, Oak Brook Park District’s fitness supervisor, the park district began hosting trial classes during Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks in response to a popular request for the addition of kid-friendly fitness classes. “We tested classes while kids were out of school and they were so successful we decided to launch a full schedule this summer,” says Delgado.

Oak Brook Park District’s Family Fitness Classes will be held at the Family Recreation Center, 1450 Forest Gate Road, and will be open to kids ages 8-13. Youth participants must be accompanied by an adult. “Several of the classes utilize fitness equipment that really wouldn’t be age appropriate for anyone under 8.” says Delgado. The park district will evaluate the programs at the end of the season to determine the feasibility of expanding the program, or offering classes for even younger participants.

The Oak Brook Park District is charging a heavily discounted resident/nonresident fee of $2/$4 for participants ages 8-13 years old, per class. Adult members may attend for free. Resident and nonresident adult nonmembers can pay the daily fee of $10 per resident or $12 per nonresident to access a class.  All classes are drop-in and no preregistration is necessary.

For more information, please call 630-990-4233 or visit

Class Schedule:

Family Boot Camp – Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:20am-10:05am (June 5-September 2)
The whole family is guaranteed to work hard, feel great, and have fun. This class combines cardio, strength training, flexibility, and core fitness using a variety of fitness tools.

Family Cardio Interval– Tuesdays from 5:15-6pm (June 5-September 2)
Get fit and have fun as a family in this upbeat cardio interval class. Cardio, strength, and stretching intervals will be alternated throughout the class.

Family Outdoor Walking with Weights – Tuesdays from 6-6:45pm (June 5-September 2)
Experience a full body workout while enjoying the great outdoors. This class takes the group outside on the Central Park Pathway system.

Family Yoga-Wednesdays from 8-8:45am (June 5-September 2)
This gentle yoga flow incorporates restorative yoga suitable for all levels and abilities.

Family Zumba – Saturdays from 9:05am-9:55am (June 5-September 2)
This isn’t a workout, it’s a party! Bring your kids to this high-energy dance fitness experience. Latin inspired rhythms and music will get your family moving like nothing else.


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Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership Launch STEM Bridge Partnership Program

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarWednesday, 10 May

Near-Peer mentoring program matches young business leaders with diverse
students pursuing STEM careers

While seven of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations in the state are projected to be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or STEM-related occupations, according to the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, a steady stream of Illinois graduates still head to the West Coast and other tech hubs each year, taking key skills with them. Compounding this lack of STEM talent are the lack of
career-readiness skills that new graduates possess to be successful in the workplace.


In alignment with its mission to attract and retain a talented workforce, and in appreciation for the challenges surrounding school systems face, the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership has developed a unique “near-peer” mentoring program, matching young business professionals from the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce with students interested in pursuing in-demand STEM
careers. In its initial launch, young leaders from Ace Hardware, GEA Architects, Terracon Construction, SWC Technology, and Northwestern Mutual are working together with 40 students from the culturally and economically diverse Willowbrook High School on real-life work simulations over an eight-week period.

The development of this innovative, corporate focused program has been guided by its Steering Committee, chaired by Susan Lindquist, Chief Talent Officer of BCS Financial, and Mary Biniewicz, STEM Coordinator of DuPage Regional Office of Education, and is supported by the Chamber’s staff and higher education partners.

“While there are alternate mentoring programs, the STEM Bridge Partnership program is truly unique in taking the vantage point of the employer by focusing on career-readiness skills, a perspective our high school partners tell us students rarely see,” explained Valentina Tomov, CEO of the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership. “Working within the broad cultural and economic diversity of Willowbrook High School and championed by its principal Dan Krause, we are seeking to inspire
young students to be prepared to pursue the emerging STEM careers of tomorrow.”

The Architecture/Engineering program, led by young professionals Rich Blair from GEA Architects, Ltd. and Sean Toolan from Terracon Construction, challenges students to design the layout and develop the construction schedule for a new Yolk Restaurant, an actual project on which Blair and Toolan are currently collaborating. The Math in Marketing program, led by Ace’s Shannon Kelly, simulates an Ace Hardware category review, a process of analyzing a product’s performance and profitability. These students are conducting product testing, analyzing marketing data and building out actual plan-o-
gram displays at Ace’s warehouse headquarters.


The students are continuously applying essential skills including innovation, research, planning, evaluation, communication, and collaboration, under the inspirational guidance of their young mentors. “Our “new-peer” mentors have continuously shared their personal stories of how their early successes or sometimes failures in the workplace have been so dependent on non-technical skills. The narrow age gap between the mentors and the high schoolers makes them more relatable, providing that bridge to greater impact in their lessons”, shared Tamryn Hennessy, Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce Program Director.

“Through partnering with the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce our students have gained valuable real-world experiences that will guide them on their journey to be college and career ready,” shared Willowbrook High School principal Dan Krause.

The STEM Bridge Program will conclude May 16 with a culmination ceremony at Willowbrook High School, where the students will briefly share their projects with the Steering Committee and celebrate their accomplishments.


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The Better Government Association names Watchdog Award in honor of Inland Real Estate Group’s Daniel Goodwin

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarMonday, 08 May

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The BGA is pleased to announce the BGA Watchdog Award will be named in honor of Daniel L. Goodwin, chairman and CEO of the Inland Real Estate Group of Companies in Oak Brook. The announcement was made public at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting, held May 3 at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The Watchdog Award is presented each year at the BGA Annual Luncheon. Goodwin was honored with the award in 2016 for his lifetime contributions to business, economic development, philanthropy and civic engagement, as well as his passionate advocacy for responsible government reform in Illinois. His executive leadership as chairman of the DuPage Airport Authority proved transformational and serves as a national model for how the public sector should operate in the best interest of taxpayers.

Goodwin is one of DuPage County’s most prominent business, civic and philanthropic leaders. He also has been an invaluable member of the BGA family, serving on the Board of Directors and providing strategic advice on many organizational issues. Inland has been a leading sponsor of the BGA luncheon for several years.


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Study: Oak Brook One of Illinois’s Top Retirement Spots

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarSaturday, 06 May

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, recently released its third annual study on the Best Places to Retire. The study rates cities by their tax friendliness, recreational and social opportunities for seniors, and availability of medical care. According to the study, Oak Brook ranks as one of the top spots in Illinois.

For a detailed look at how Oak Brook compared to other top cities in Illinois, check the table below:


Additional information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map, can be found here:


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Ace Hardware climbs to 5,000 stores globally

user by Jenny Stanko
calendarFriday, 05 May

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Ace Hardware Corporation, the world’s largest hardware cooperative, is proud to announce its global store count has exceeded 5,000 locations. The momentous news was announced in front of thousands of Ace Hardware retail store owners, corporate team members and vendors at its spring convention in Atlanta.

“At a time when a majority of brick and mortar retailers are facing declining store counts, decreased customer transactions, stalling sales and massive layoffs, I’m delighted to share that Ace’s global store count has surpassed 5,000 locations,” said John Venhuizen, President and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation.

Ace Hardware stores can be found around the world, from Indonesia to Nicaragua and Anchorage, Alaska to Miami, Florida. Ace stores proudly deliver helpful service in more than 60 countries and in all 50 U.S. states. The 5,000th store to join the Ace organization is owned by Tim and Kerri Jacobs. The Jacobs family has acquired the 140-year-old Weakley-Watson hardware store in Brownwood, Texas and will be affiliated with Ace Hardware going forward. Internationally, Ace retailers are opening stores throughout Asia, Latin America and the Middle east, along with new markets being explored from all corners of the globe.

News of Ace’s 5,000th store announcement comes on the heels of a significant period of growth for the 93-year-old retailer. Notably, the hardware cooperative just completed its fourth consecutive year of increased customer transactions, five years in a row of net new store growth, and seven years in a row of increased same-store sales.

In 2016 alone, Ace opened 207 new stores around the world, generating an estimated 4,000 new retail jobs, adding to the existing 100,000 red-vested associates that deliver helpful service daily in Ace stores. Ace also estimates that in 2016, its family-owned businesses paid more than $3 billion in wages and generated more than $750 million in operating income. New store growth at Ace is generated through three main vehicles; first, from existing Ace stores that decide to branch out and open additional stores; second, from competitor hardware stores that decide to affiliate with Ace; and third, from new investors, individuals entering the industry for the first time.

“Ace’s impressive string of store growth and consecutive increases in sales and in-store traffic is powerful evidence that our model – rooted in local entrepreneurialism – is agile enough to adapt and bend where needed, without ever breaking our conviction to fortify around the timeless retail principles of servant hearts and human interaction,” said Venhuizen.

Looking ahead, Ace plans to continue its growth momentum by opening more than 150 new stores in the U.S. in 2017. Continuing its focus on 20/20 Vision, the company’s long-term retail growth strategy, Ace will continue to equip its retail store owners with proven strategies designed to strengthen their existing business and, in many cases, open new stores.

This summer, Ace retail stores will celebrate the brand’s 5,000th store milestone with an engaging in-store promotion for their customers. A social media campaign to showcase the unique and individual stories of Ace stores is also planned.


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619 Enterprise Drive,
Suite 100
Oak Brook, IL 60523