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updated: 6/18/2012 12:14 PM

Honquest retirement expected to be far from slow

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  • Richard Honquest

    Richard Honquest

  • Rachel and Richard Honquest are closing their Honquest Furniture store.

    Rachel and Richard Honquest are closing their Honquest Furniture store.
    2008 Daily Herald File photo

  • Calvin Butler receives recognition for his years of service on the Illinois Chamber of Commerce board.

    Calvin Butler receives recognition for his years of service on the Illinois Chamber of Commerce board.

  • Tami Andrew

    Tami Andrew

  • Russ Bergeron

    Russ Bergeron

  • Matthew J. Skarr

    Matthew J. Skarr

  • Ed Rensi, left, and Tom Dentice started a gourmet burger place called Tom & Eddies in Lombard. They're marking the first anniversary of their location in Deerfield.

    Ed Rensi, left, and Tom Dentice started a gourmet burger place called Tom & Eddies in Lombard. They're marking the first anniversary of their location in Deerfield.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Ann Nobis

    Ann Nobis

  • Tom Whipple

    Tom Whipple

  • Michael O'Leary

    Michael O'Leary

  • Christine Pietryla

    Christine Pietryla

  • Timothy Kelly

    Timothy Kelly

  • Video: Honquest on YouTube


Richard Honquest, longtime owner of Honquest Furniture for Living in Barrington, told customers last week he was retiring. But at 77, don't expect him to retire from everything. He'll continue to play tennis and to water ski. He stopped downhill snow skiing because he didn't want anyone to bump into him and ruin his tennis game.

He'll also continue splitting his time between his Inverness home and a Lake Geneva, Wis., home with a boat slip. He's even sold his longtime seat licenses at Soldier Field along with his season tickets to the Chicago Bears games.

"It's time to move on and spend more time with my family and in Lake Geneva," Honquest said.

The longtime retailer told customers last week that he intends to close his Barrington and Whitefish Bay, Wis., stores along with the warehouse by the end of the year. So those stores are now undergoing sales to clear out all of his merchandise.

"He is a man who has earned great respect in the industry and among his customers for his honesty and integrity," said his wife, Rachel, the company's president.

Honquest recalled his early days in the furniture and drapery business, working at local retailers including House of Menn in Lincolnwood. He quickly learned the business, even selling draperies out of the trunk of his car, he said.

He and his wife pinched pennies and soon started their own business in Addison. By the 1970s, they saved enough money to buy property in Barrington and continued to pay it off for the site of their Honquest Furniture store.

"The furniture business is in my DNA," Honquest said. He has devoted his entire career to furniture, working six days a week.

But the economy has been tough in recent years on the furniture industry, and Honquest said it's time to retire and sell both stores.

"It's a new horizon now," he said.

Exelon exec retires from chamber

Naperville resident Calvin G. Butler Jr. has retired from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce after eight years on the board, including stints as board chairman and immediate past chairman. Butler is the senior vice president of corporate affairs at Chicago-based Exelon Corp., parent of ComEd, which has offices in Oak Brook.

Andrew throws hat into ring

Tami Andrew, who has been serving as interim CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, has thrown her hat into the ring to make the position permanent. But a decision isn't expected until November. So how did a farm girl from Nebraska get to Naperville? "I graduated from college there and then went to work for ServiceMaster, formerly in Downers Grove where Aramark is now," Andrew said. "They transferred me to Central Missouri State University. My husband, at the time, then got transferred to St. Louis and ultimately to Chicago. Seventeen years later, here I am."

Bergeron named to board

Russ Bergeron, CEO of Lisle-based Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, the Chicago area Multiple Listing Service for real estate, has been named to the board of directors of the MLS Domains Association. In 2010, the association was formed to obtain, manage and promote the use of the MLS top-level domain on the Internet. He also has been named one of the nation's 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate for 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Inman News. He also sits on advisory boards for,, Supra and CoreLogic/Realist.


Steve Kaplan, who is from Des Plaines, lives in Buffalo Grove and works in Chicago, was at the Tony Awards last week for his nomination as a producer of "Leap of Faith," which was up for Best Musical. The author and motivational speaker also can be seen on ABC's "Secret Millionaire" at 7 p.m. on July 1. ... Naperville resident Matthew J. Skarr is the new director of business development for Columbia, S.C.-based Carter Goble Lee, a criminal justice facility services firm. He'll remain in Naperville.

Former McDonald's Corp. executive Ed Rensi and partner Tom Dentice today are marking the first anniversary of their Tom & Eddie's gourmet burger restaurant on Waukegan Road in Deerfield. ... Libertyville resident Ann Nobis has been promoted from client partner to vice president of service delivery at software development firm Geneca, based in Oakbrook Terrace. ... Barry and Patty McLean have opened Doc Popcorn in Lake Forest. Barry has been a Chicago Fire Department firefighter for 26 years.

Carol Gardener, president of Lombard-based Illinois Association of Mortgage Professionals, was in Washington, D.C., last week to talk with White House officials about how to improve the housing industry. ... Tom Whipple, who has had a 30-year career in corporate finance, joins Kildeer-based B2B CFO. He joins nine other B2B CFO partners in Illinois who currently provide CFO services to local business owners. ... Hawthorn Woods resident Michael O'Leary has joined Cawley Chicago Commercial Real Estate Co. He's also an owner of Clean Vistas coin laundry in Elgin.

Darren Sloniger, managing director of acquisitions for Naperville-based Marquette Companies, said his firm's renovation has been completed for The Apartments at Woodfield Crossing, a 662-unit complex in Rolling Meadows. ... George Stenitzer, a spokesman for Naperville-based Tellabs Inc., has been traveling through Finland, saying he ate elk and crowberries, reindeer roast, reindeer sausage and reindeer quiche. ... Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns will join U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at the Opportunity Finance Network's Inaugural Small Business Forum today starting at 10 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont.

PietrylaPR owner Christine Pietryla has joined forces with Oakbrook Terrace-based marketing firm David James Group, which had acquired her firm, and will lead a department as vice president of public relations and social media. ... Elgin resident Virginia Maloney has earned certification as an enrolled agent with Jones, Sager, Haines & Co. LLP, certified public accountants in St. Charles. She now has unlimited practice rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. ... Grayslake resident Timothy Kelly has been named president of claims management at Chicago-based The Sandner Group, where he will oversee the entire loss control and claim services operation.

CFO Stephen M. Merrick and Vice President of Finance and Administration Timothy Patterson were touting their Lake Barrington-based CTI Industries Corp. while in New York last week during the Sidoti & Co. semiannual New York Micro-Cap Conference. ... Paula Sankarsingh is the new executive director for The Arthritis Foundation in the Chicago area. Sankarsingh will be responsible for the Chicago Gala and Golf events. She will manage the fundraising staff in this market and work to develop the Chicago Leadership Council.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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