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updated: 10/27/2011 10:40 AM

New waffle retail concept heats up in Deer Park

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  • Shari Sorrells, owner of The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center, serves an array of sandwiches including the waffle turkey, bacon and cheddar sandwich and a sample that she keeps at the counter.

       Shari Sorrells, owner of The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center, serves an array of sandwiches including the waffle turkey, bacon and cheddar sandwich and a sample that she keeps at the counter.
    George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

  • The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center in Deer Park on Tuesday, October 11th.

       The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center in Deer Park on Tuesday, October 11th.
    George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

  • The mixed berry waffle at The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center is a popular pick.

       The mixed berry waffle at The Waffle Gourmet at Deer Park Town Center is a popular pick.
    George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

  • Ed Prodehl

      Ed Prodehl

 
 

A goal for Shari Sorrells is to make sure that her husband, Tom, never again has to wear a tie again.

Instead, the former CEO is making waffles at the family business they recently opened. Tom actually does more of the behind the scenes work at the new family establishment, The Waffle Gourmet, in Deer Park. Shari, who spent the past 14 years raising three daughters, says the timing is right for a new venture. She explained that Tom, who most recently worked for a large motor coach manufacturer, was tired of the uncertainty of the corporate world. "You never know what's around the bend," Shari said.

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While the couple, who reside in Kildeer, know that starting a new business is risky, they feel more confident that they are in charge of their future. Hiring Ron Roberti of Mundelein as the managing partner, the entrepreneurs plan to grow the unusual waffle concept and are looking at locations in Cary, Lake in the Hills and Mount Prospect.

The idea for the new business came from an idea from a neighbor who told Shari and Tom of a similar eatery he saw in a different part of the country.

Waffle Gourmet is more than sweet waffles topped with whipped cream and fruit. There are waffle sandwiches with ham or turkey. The No. 1 seller in the early stages of the establishment is the Chicken & Waffles Your Way, a dish with a southern touch.

"Everyone can get what they want, from traditional breakfast waffles to something more unusual," said Shari who tested all the recipes with her teenage daughters before opening the restaurant. "We love watching cooking shows. This is a family based business. It's an extension of our home," Shari added. Waffles start at $4 and go up to $8 for a waffle sandwich.

The owners know what it's like to run kids from sporting event to sporting event and are attempting to create a relaxed atmosphere here. "If you can't sit down at your own kitchen table, you can sit down here," Shari said.

Stretch

It's tough to sit at a desk all day. Two local women are attempting to make it easier and healthier.

Mary Rachford, co-owner of Naperville Physical Therapy announced the launch of a new business, WorkSpace WorkOuts.

The business operates within Naperville Physical Therapy, 1240 Iroquois Ave. Suite 400 in Naperville. Tina Lehman co-owns the new business that features a desk calendar that provides daily exercises designed to help employees be active in small spaces, such as an office or cubicle. Arm circles, leg lifts and stretching ideas are part of the calendar. Go to www.WorkSpaceWorkOuts.com.

More cooking action

Marcel's Culinary Experience, a gourmet retailer and cooking school, recently opened in downtown Glen Ellyn at 490 N. Main St.

Jill Foucre, a longtime resident of Glen Ellyn, is launching the business and following a lifelong dream to combine her family heritage, her love of cooking and entertaining and her business skills into a retail and cooking school destination.

Named after Foucre's grandfather, a French chef and restaurateur, Marcel's features a state-of-the-art kitchen for cooks of all ages and skill levels.

Looking good

Adding a cooking store in town has been a top priority, according to Janie Patch, executive director of the Glen Ellyn Development Corp.

And despite the challenges in the economy, the Glen Ellyn downtown retail core is showing signs of strength with the year-to-date occupancy rate now at 88.2 percent, she said.

"Our occupancy rates continue to trend upward from 86.1 percent at the end of 2009 and 86.6 percent in 2010," she said.

Other recent additions include the new pan-Asian and sushi bar restaurant Asian Pearl, sports and live entertainment venue Cantina restaurant, vintage shop Gather and Collect, high-end brands women's apparel reseller, The Swap Shop and a new bridal boutique, Veiled by ChaCha.

Real estate expansion

Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell recently acquired Coldwell Banker Primus offices in Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, McHenry and Lake Geneva, Wis.

Led by owner and president Ed Prodehl, he says he is confident that the real estate market is improving. In addition to the five newly acquired offices, the organization also has an array of other offices including Joliet, Naperville, Aurora, Geneva, Champaign and Springfield.

Tracking points

Weight Watchers recently opened a new prototype store in Libertyville.

She store at 1346 S. Milwaukee Ave., is the first of its kind to open in Illinois. More than 400 others just like it will open across the country this year.

Customers can learn about the weight loss program, purchase memberships or purchase Weight Watchers products. Members can also weigh in at their convenience in a private setting.

Positive signs

August U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $460.61 million according to AMT -- The Association For Manufacturing Technology and AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association.

This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was down 9.4 percent from July but up 88.5 percent when compared with the total of $244.35 million reported for August 2010.

With a year-to-date total of $3,439.21 million, 2011 is up 101 percent compared with 2010.

• Kim Mikus is the editor of the Daily Herald Business Ledger. She welcomes business tips and comments at kmikus@dailyherald.com.

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