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BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS 8-31-11

Buisiness Highlights

  • St. Andrew’s Golf & Country Club 85th Anniversary

  • Master Club Fitter and Master Club builder

  • Top 20 Hispanic–owned businesses in Illinois

  • Contributing  to West Chicago Organizations

St. Andrew’s Golf & Country Club celebrates its 85th anniversary. The “West Chicago Press” heralded the beginnings of the club on the front page of its July 2, 1925 issue—“A New Course to be Laid out North of Here” Built on 244 acres, the new 18-hole private course was owned by Frank Hough and designed by John McGregor of the Chicago Golf Club. New owners built the second 18-hole course, Lakewood, in1929 and E. B. Dearie, Jr. designed it. The access to the club was via a major highway, the electric railroad Chicago, Aurora and Elgin, which was on the south border of the golf course and stopped at the course.


     When the Great Depression caused financial problems to the new owners, Hough, as an original investor, reacquired the course. Upon his death in 1936, his two daughters Grace and Alice took ownership of St. Andrews and the neighboring Lakewood Housing Subdivision. It became too much for them, both physically and financially. At this point Phil Flanagan, the husband of Alice, hired Joe Jemsek to be the Head Professional and Club Manger at St. Andrews in 1938.


Jemsek’s knowledge of golf and management started when he was a caddy at the new course Cog Hill in Lemont. After trying to the route of becoming a professional golfer at the age of 16, he started to concentrate on the business side of golf. This ranged from maintenance crews to tournaments to bookkeeping and merchandising, which made him a perfect candidate to make St. Andrews a successful enterprise. This was just the beginning as it was not all work and no play. According to family history, Jemsek, who was an excellent dancer and won many dance competitions, invited Grace Hough to a dance. Grace shared this expertise, training as a dancer, including ballet. They were synchronized in steps, marrying a year later in 1939.


It was at his point in time, Grace and Alice split up the inherited property with the Lakewood Subdivision going to Alice and St. Andrews going to Grace. There was one glitch—St. Andrews had a debt. With only $23,000 in the bank, Joe and Grace were able to get a $50,000 loan, which led to the continuation and success of the family-owned business, now a public golf course. To cultivate an interest in golf, he gave free golf lessons and starting golf leagues. His hard work paid off as St. Andrews was selected as the first public course to host a U.S. Open Qualifying Round. “Chicagoland Golf’ readers voted the St Andrews practice course  as “Best Practice facility at a Course.”


     Another first was his promotion of golf on television with the program, “Pars, Birdies and Eagles” which ran for 14 years, often with appearances from leading tour pros. In April 1951 two of his tour pros, Henry Ransom and E. J. Harrison, appeared all three PGA Tour leading lists.—Leading Money Winners,, Vardon Trophy Leaders and Ryder Cup Leaders. St. Andrews was the first public course to offer USGA handicaps to regular players. He also promoted women golfers, which includes Hall of Fame Golfer Patty Berg.  Jemsek was one of the first people involved in the televising of golf matches with the show “All Star Golf.”


     His business expertise led to the expansion of the original clubhouse to house three banquet rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a pro golf shop. The Trophy Room and the 19th Hole are located in the original castle-like clubhouse. With Jemsek’s death in April 2002, his daughter Marianne Hinckley became chairman and her husband Gerald is president of the business.  As did her father, Marianne is frequently on hand at various events to welcome guests. The family connection continues as her four sons and their children sometimes assist at St. Andrews, making it a five-generation family business. St. Andrews is a member of Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.


American Standard Circuits, Inc., 475 Industrial Drive, has added a new tin lead plating process, plus a hot oil process to their operations. CEO Anaya Vardya said, “In addition to the $3 million investment and facility upgrade last year, we continually assess our manufacturing needs and invest in our facility accordingly.” Founded in 1988, the company is a PCB manufacturer for today’s electronic industry. The company has three manufacturing facilities in the United States, of which two are located in West Chicago, and one in India.


Re/Max Cornerstones is now located at 480 E. Roosevelt Road, Suite 102.


     Everett J. Lockenvitz is the new Master Club Fitter and Master Club builder in the Cantigny Golf Academy custom club fitting operation. He was the founder of EJL Custom Golf Clubs, Inc., which was recognized among the top 10 custom fitting companies in the United States. Cantigny is a member of Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.


     Listed in the top 20 Hispanic–owned businesses in Illinois in the 2010 Hispanic 500 ranking are Steve’s Equipment Service as number three with $35.08 million revenue, United Building Maintenance, Inc. as number five with $23.80 million revenue and CartonCraft, Inc. as number 10 with $12.72 million revenue. In the national level, they also have high rankings. Steve’s Equipment is 144, United Building Maintenance is 189 and Carton Craft is 299. All three businesses have a West Chicago connection.


     Started in 1968, Steve’s Equipment Service, a heavy equipment rental and sales business, is located at 1400 Powis Road and now has another service center located in Gary, Ind. The article stated,“ His revenue increased from the 2008/09-time period by 61.67 percent. The owner is Steve Martinez, who started the business “as a one-man operation,” servicing heavy industry and then gradually expanding into sales.” S.E.S. is a member of Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.


     Past West Chicago resident Jim Cabrera is the owner of United Building Maintenance, based in Carol Stream. In 1979 he started the business in West Chicago under the name of J.C’s Carpet Cleaning and Janitorial Service with one machine and one employee. “Now it is the largest Hispanic-owned and operated facility maintenance company in the Midwest.”


CartonCraft, located in St. Charles, is a 20+ year-old company. Tony Reyes, former resident of West Chicago, purchased the business in 2002. The company “is recognized as the leading carton manufacturer, shipping containers nationwide as well as Canada and Mexico.” Reyes was raised and attended schools in West Chicago, plus he served as president of the Board of Education of Community High School District 94. Not only acquiring business expertise from his corporate positions, Reyes said he learned some lessons regarding business management from his parents, Tony and Emma, as they tried to make a successful business of Valley Tortilla on West Washington Street. “The product was good, but my parents did not know enough about the accounting end.”


      Not only have these companies maintained high rankings, but climbed in their placement.  In 2004, the rankings of these three companies in “Hispanic Business,” a magazine based in Santa Barbara, Calif., were Steve‘s Equipment-176, United Building Maintenance-238, and CartonCraft-429.


Arbor Avenue Antiques, 100 Arbor Ave., is moving to 116 State St. in St. Charles. Owner Frances Spear said, “It was not an easy decision. This has been home for us for five full years.” One of her desires was to have a business with both indoor and outdoor display areas. Unexpectedly, she found such a location—an1840s home, lush outdoor gardens, and an authentic Carriage house. The official closing date is Aug. 31 and the opening at the new location is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.


Dr. Gerardo C. Guzman, 1213 Joliet St., is retiring from his medical practice, effective Oct. 1.


     The Monday, Aug. 29 issue of “Daily Herald” featured Tully Lighting & Electric Inc., 3N020 Woodview Drive, as one of the small companies benefitting from the multiple storms in the area this summer.  The storms have led to 16-hour days and an increase in employees. Part of this growth is attributed to the inclusion of standby generators in his product offerings. Established in 1989, the core of the business continues to be electrical service and repair, with emphasis on customer service. The business recently received a Super Service Award from Angie’s Service.


     Remember to support our local businesses that contribute to our community in many ways.



  • Contributing through in-kind or monetary donations to the West Chicago Park District Community Theatre production of “Willy Wonka” were Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill, Chihuahua Tire Shop, State Farm Insurance-Dan Jimenez, Country Auto Glass, Inc,, Groot Recycling and Waste Services, The Cleaning Authority, Gateway Dental Center, West Chicago Foot Clinic, Sign-A-Rama, and Dominick’s Cucina & Pizzeria.

  • Local businesses donating to the Wildcat Scramble, the golf outing sponsored by Wildcat Boosters Club, were State Bank of Illinois, NorthStar Credit Union, Cortez Bakery and West Chicago Printing Company.

  • Some of the businesses contributing to Maryfest were Aarrow Healthcare, Arturo Gonzalez Law Firm, Burger King, Carmen Salon, State Farm Agency-Dan Jimenez, DuPage National bank, Gloria’s Jewelry, Jel Sert, Kentucky Fried Chicken, La Chiquita Grocery Store, La India Store, Daniel & Associates Real Estate, McDonald’s, Tastee Freez and El Tesoro Restaurant.

  • Businesses contributing to the West Chicago Public Library District’s summer reading programs were Bowling Green Sports Center, Dominick’s Cucina & Pizzeria, Dr. Richard Smith, McDonald’s, West Chicago Dental Care and West Chicago Printing Company.


UPCOMING EVENTS



  • Back by popular request, John & Tony’s Italian Steakhouse, 27W371 North Ave., presents an Italian Wine and Dinner Party at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. Different wines are served with the appetizers, salads, entrée and desserts.  Chicago tenor Jay Morrissey sings his favorite Italian songs. The charge is $44.50 per person. For further information or to make a reservation, call 630 520-0593. John & Tony’s is a member of Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.


Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill, 1200 W. Hawthorne Lane, is the site of the Eighth Annual Concert in the Park, the Houston J. Pineda Memorial Scholarship fundraiser. It takes place from 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Ticket price is $15, which includes pig roast dinner, chance for the door prize, games and live musical entertainment.


     With the start of football season, Hawthorne’s has several specials during Bears games. There are nine televisions, including ones in the outside beer garden area and the 120-inch one inside the restaurant area. Available during the game are $10 Miller family buckets for $10, free pig roast and wing buffet during half time and Bear’s jersey giveaways. Hawthorne’s is a member of Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.



This monthly column covers news on new businesses, change of business locations, awards received by businesses, new offerings of products and/or services and recognition of employees receiving awards and promotions. The publishing date usually is the last Wednesday of each month.
Businesses with “highlights” to share or interested in becoming a sponsor of the column can e-mail me at merleburl@earthlink.net.

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