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updated: 2/20/2012 1:57 PM

Elmhurst native keeps trade magazine alive and healthy

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  • Mariano's Fresh Market is one of the grocery store anchors expected to spark shopping center growth in the next couple years. A store in Palatine was the most recent to open in the suburbs.

       Mariano's Fresh Market is one of the grocery store anchors expected to spark shopping center growth in the next couple years. A store in Palatine was the most recent to open in the suburbs.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.

       Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.
    George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

  • Maureen Slocum is a publisher of a hospitality trade magazine.

      Maureen Slocum is a publisher of a hospitality trade magazine.

  • Cover of the October, 2011 issue of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies trade magazine.

      Cover of the October, 2011 issue of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies trade magazine.
    Courtesy of Maureen Slocum

 
 

It's satisfying for Elmhurst native Maureen Slocum to stand in her office that overlooks the downtown of the community where she grew up and continues to live.

Slocum is also enjoying her role as publisher of a hospitality trade magazine that she acquired less than two years ago. The position was not new to her as it was one she held several years ago when the publication was run by international publishing giant Reed Business.

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When Reed decided to shutter Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine along with about 20 others in April of 2010, Slocum was offered the chance to purchase the publication she used to operate.

"It feels great and it feels right. We're filled with appreciation for the opportunity," said Slocum who serves the commercial food service market with the assistance of her husband, Dave. She employs seven full-time employees and 10 contributors, many of which were involved with the publication when Reed owned it. "We were able to put a great team back together," she said.

The publication targets a niche market of food service consultants, dealers and distributors as well as multiunit chain operators.

The monthly magazine has grown in the number of pages and Slocum is now launching a new sister publication, Restaurant Development & Design. "It's even more targeted," she said of the addition targeted for those designing and renovating chain restaurants.

The most difficult aspect Slocum has faced in taking over the business is putting the website, fesmag.com, back together. "When I acquired the business, I got a hard drive," she said.

She said she has improved the digital product and has been careful that the website is not a recreation of the magazine. She has found that more in-depth stories are better for the magazine.

Knowing the reader has been key. "Our customer is our content," Slocum said.

Diversity in the cards

Aurora resident, Stacey Montgomery is changing the face of greeting cards, literally. A lack of variety in multicultural cards inspired Montgomery to start Stacey M Design. The idea for the business originated when she noticed greeting cards rarely featured African Americans.

She then expanded her products to include more than 60 characters with a variety of skin tones and hair colors.

Montgomery's holiday cards were sold in select Target stores nationwide and her entire line is sold online at staceymdesign.com as well as in many gift boutiques across the country. Her next move is licensing her characters so that her multicultural artwork can appear to a wider variety of products and reach a larger audience.

Star appearance at the gym

Snap Fitness recently held a grand opening in Mundelein at Routes 83 and 176.

And to celebrate, Vicki Gunvalson, who is launching the seventh season of Real Housewives of Orange County with the Bravo Television Network, was on hand to celebrate.

Owner Bill Steinmetz explained that Gunvalson is his sister and very into fitness. She recently wrote a book, "More than a Housewife."

Moving offices

Elmhurst-based J.C. Anderson Inc. completed a build-out of new office space for Wilo USA in Rosemont.

Wilo, a technology firm speciating in heating and cooling, relocated its headquarters from Melrose Park to a 6,500 square foot space within the Pointe O'Hare building at 9550 W. Higgins Road. The company provides technology for the operation and application of high-value pumps and pump systems for heating and cooking technology, air-conditioning, water supply and sewage disposal.

Ricketts to speak at expo

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is the key note speaker for the West Suburban Multi-Chamber luncheon and expo set for March 22.

The event, at Bobak's Signature Events at Seven Bridges in Woodridge, is expected to attract more than 600 people.

Grocery store growth to continue

The growth of shopping centers is expected to remain flat this year, but could double in 2013, according to a recent Oakbrook Terrace report.

In the coming years, new shopping center development will be driven by grocery store anchors said Andy Bulson, author of Mid-America Real Estate Corporations's Chicagoland Shopping Center Report.

"Mariano's Fresh Market has nearly a dozen stores planned for the coming years," Bulson said.

He said local chains like Mariano's are becoming active while Supervalu's Jewel and Safeway's Dominick's remain on the sidelines.

About 1.09 million square feet in new shopping center development is projected in 2012, with as much as 2.3 million projected for 2013.

The past year was slow as Chicagoland saw the lowest year for building shopping centers since 1983, when the report began.

About half of the growth this past year was attributed to three Wal-Mart Supercenters opening in the suburbs.

The return to record setting levels of 2007 is nowhere in the foreseeable future. "However, a return to a sustainable 'new normal' may be possible after 2013," Bulson says.

This would require consumer confidence to stay strong, pushing retail demand for new stores, he said.

• Kim Mikus, editor of the Daily Herald Business Ledger, covers local business and welcomes comments and contributions at kmikus@dailyherald.com.

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