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updated: 9/17/2011 1:37 PM

Ace Hardware comes back to Geneva

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  • The old Ace Hardware building on State Street in Geneva sits vacant, but not for long.

      The old Ace Hardware building on State Street in Geneva sits vacant, but not for long.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer


It won't be long before Bill Rosenfelder can again say he owns an Ace Hardware building in Geneva.

Selling hardware in Geneva has been a life's passion for Rosenfelder and his family, dating back to when his great-uncle Frank Rosenfelder opened Geneva Hardware across from the Geneva Theater in 1917.

The past year hasn't been the best for Rosenfelder, who watched his former Ace Hardware building at 617 W. State St. in the Geneva Plaza become vacant after an ugly situation with the tenant, whom Rosenfelder claims quit paying rent and had to be "kicked out" of that location.

The store eventually relocated under the name Geneva Hardware in the former Dominick's building in St. Charles owned by Kent Shodeen. Five months later, that store closed.

In the meantime, Rosenfelder has been attempting to bring another Ace Hardware back where he believes it belongs -- in the building he owns at 617 W. State St.

"I've been working with Ace Hardware Corp. to get a new store in there, and you have to follow their list of prospects," Rosenfelder explained. "I saw who No. 4 was on the list, and I knew he was the one I wanted to work with."

But he had to wait until the other three backed out for various reasons, one saying that Geneva Hardware, before it closed, was too close to the 617 W. State St. site.

Rosenfelder finally got to that No. 4 prospect, who was George Havlicek of Havlicek Builders Inc. And he's as happy as a kid at Christmas to announce a letter of intent has been signed and a lease is being worked out to have Havlicek open a new Ace Hardware by early December.

"He's well-known and well-respected and he's been a lot of fun to work with," Rosenfelder said of his new tenant. "He has always had a desire to operate an Ace Hardware and he went after it."

Work has already started on cleaning the building and putting in a new ceiling, making Rosenfelder anxious to see his property serving the community again.

Rosenfelder's father, William Rosenfelder, also operated a hardware store in Geneva starting in 1925, but it burned down in February 1953. The family then built a new hardware store at 124 W. State St., where Viking Office Supply eventually operated for years and Bicycle Heaven currently operates.

When Rosenfelder retired as Geneva's fire chief in 1980, he moved Ace Hardware into the former Jewel site at the Geneva Plaza and kept it there until last year's problems forced its closing.

In 1990, he also opened an Ace Hardware on the east side of St. Charles in the Butera grocery shopping center, but he sold that site, which most recently became a DG Hardware that moved across the parking lot to the west side of that center.

"We're really excited about an Ace opening in Geneva again," Rosenfelder said. "Everyone in my family has put their whole life into the hardware stores."

Sickly ash trees: Neighbors along Country Squire Drive in Geneva were surprised to see a huge tree limb sitting on the road last weekend with no apparent storm or high winds having knocked it down.

It looked like an ash tree that was suffering from the emerald ash borer, so this large limb maybe just gave way?

It makes me wonder about other trees. Hundreds of infected ash trees line our neighborhood parkways and busy highways. And almost all of them look ill enough from the borer to drop a limb.

So, is anyone else nervous about a huge tree limb possibly crushing you or your car?

Dogs in good hands: It was nice to hear that the rescue dogs from Anderson Animal Shelter being shown at the American Legion Post in Geneva during the shelter's annual Jewelry Faire last weekend all were adopted by faire visitors.

Any dog lover stopping in to make donations and buy a few pieces of jewelry or, in my case, some baked goods, was likely to have a hard time passing up the chance to give these animals a good home.

Fond of food fest: The food at last weekend's Flavor Fare during Festival of the Vine in Geneva was so good, I have to share my notes.

Did anyone try the pot roast sandwich at the Egg Harbor Café booth? One satisfied customer said he was ready to knock down two or three of those.

The eggplant Parmesan from Josef's Elegante Meats and Deli also was quite tasty.

The Blue Chip burger from Tom and Eddie's looked to be a popular entree as well. My mouth was watering at the thought of the baby back ribs from Nosh, and the eggplant sandwich from Gratto Italian Tapas, but one man's belly can handle only so much fine fare.

For those not wanting to experiment with anything super fancy, the standby of egg roll and fried rice from Gen-Hoe really hit the spot.

And the French vanilla chip ice cream from Graham's? The stuff should be illegal it's so good.