Aurora resident Marc Rumaner, 51, is a graphic designer in Naperville by day. But give him a few minutes, anywhere, and he's inventing. He looks at something and ideas start to click.
That's led him to create some household items for Quirky.com that came naturally. For example, he invented the Vine, a device that attaches to the neck of wine or other bottles to keep them from rolling around in the refrigerator. It costs $7.99 for two.
And then there's the Portion, a long stirring spoon with the measuring spoons marked right on it, giving cooks the ability to measure and stir in ingredients without picking up assorted measuring spoons. It costs $9.99 for two. The website offers a forum for inventors and partners with such retailers as Bed Bath & Beyond, Toys R Us, Staples, Target, Ace Hardware and others.
While it's great to see an idea come to fruition and be sold, Rumaner said he can't look at anything without thinking of ways to change or improve it.
"I have a workshop in my basement with tools and a workbench and create prototypes," he said. "I even go to home improvement stores to buy what I need and often break it apart and rebuild it to fit my idea."
He started in 1996 with a product for his dog, but that didn't immediately go to market. Instead, he's worked on the concept and now is negotiating a licensing deal, he said.
"It may have been on the shelf for a while, but I didn't forget about it," he said.
He's had other ideas go to market over the years. He created molds that children can press into the snow and create shapes and a Beanie Baby game where the collectibles were used as game pieces.
He still finds ideas, whether he's walking into a store, walking his dog, or talking with his wife. Even while he sleeps, he keeps a pad of paper nearby for when ideas come to him during the night.
"I always feel like I can make something better or create something new," he said.
Living the American dream
CEO Huma Gruaz has grown her marketing and public relations firm, Alpaytac Inc. over the last eight years and earned a number of awards, including Brand Marketer of the Year and, most recently, a Lifetime Achievement Award, both from PR Daily. She was a Turkish immigrant who came to the United States in 1996. She lived in Palatine and Inverness as a homemaker raising two children, but was divorced and needed a job in 2000. She moved to downtown Chicago and volunteered her time at a PR agency until she got on staff and worked her way up to vice president. In 2004, she started Alpaytac.
Presta marks 35 years
Valli Produce founder Alfredo Presta marks 35 years as a grocer. Presta left Valli in southern Italy and came to the United States in 1966. By 1977, he opened a small produce market in Chicago. His nephews, Lou Tenuta and Frank Chilelli, also emigrated a few years later, and together they opened Valli's in 1989 in Arlington Heights. In 2000, he opened a store in Hoffman Estates and turned it over to his children. He also has stores in Glendale Heights, Loves Park and Rockford.
Naperville resident Don Gingold appeared at Summerplace Theatre during its annual storytelling show, "Ghost Stories in the Park ... In the Dark." He's been involved on and off for many years and enjoys telling the stories, he said. So, when he's not building websites at Sprocket Websites, he's spinning webs of spookiness.
AT&T Vice President General Manager Dave Fine spoke at the Hoffman Estates campus of the American Cancer Walk Making Strides event on Sunday. Fine is also a cancer survivor. ... Amy Rugg, a jewelry designer at Wyatt Austin Jewelers in Schaumburg, took second place at the Gemvision Design contest, an international design competition including entrants from 10 countries. Rugg's design placed Second for "Overall Design" and an honor mention for "Best Rendering."
Re/Max agents in the Chicago and suburban area were among 33 named by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals as ranking among the Top 250 Latino real estate agents in the United States. Local agents include Israel Ballesteros of RE/MAX Horizon in Elgin, who ranked 169th nationwide and 21st in Illinois; Tomas Gomez of RE/MAX Showcase in Waukegan 215th nationwide and 29th in Illinois; and Luigui Corral of RE/MAX United in Wheeling 239th nationwide and 31st in Illinois.
Mike Birck, chairman and co-founder of Naperville-based Tellabs Inc. recently appeared in a video as the result of a Tellabs Foundation grant to Aurora University. ... Kildeer resident Terry Diegel owns the Schaumburg and Buffalo Grove locations of Title Boxing Club. He plans to open more in the area. ... Cris Tase, director of sales at Schaumburg-based Club Colors, which distributes promotional products and branded apparel, said the company has partnered with the newly launched SupplySource Inc. SupplySource is the nonfood supplies and services sister division of FoodSource Plus, a food and supply management company serving the human service community.
Barrington resident Steve Schwartz is the new senior mortgage banker at HomeTrust Mortgage Corp. in Schaumburg. He previously was president of Old Oaks Mortgage of Barrington. ... Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and President Shigeyuki Sasaki will be among the top executives when Mitutoyo America Corp. breaks ground on Oct. 18 for a new headquarters at 958 Corporate Blvd., Aurora. Its current location is 965 Corporate Blvd. ... Long Grove resident Tom Clark is the new chief operating officer at Chicago Apartment Finders. ... Alan Rose, CEO of Rose Paving, which has an office in Streamwood, was among those participating in the annual Walk of Hope organized by The Cancer Support Center, which raised about $110,000.
Alan Brush, senior vice president of Ellegro Learning Solutions in Schaumburg, said Ellegro, which provides learning solutions, has won six Brandon Hall awards for excellence in multiple categories. ... Lincolnshire-based Good Sam Enterprises and Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis was among the presenters at the Deutsche Bank 20th annual Leveraged Finance Conference last week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Glenn Keller of Bartlett received the National Customer Service Award for September from national kitchen and bath remodeling franchise, Kitchen Tune-Up, ... Kristin Perez is the new store manager for Maurices in Algonquin. The store is part of a nationwide chain for the 20-somethings. ... Naperville resident David Blaydes, founder and CEO of Retirement Planners International Inc., is one of the three finalists in the sixth annual Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards for his volunteer efforts at the Wellness House in Hinsdale. The award recognizes financial advisers for their leadership and commitment to making a difference in their communities.
Erin Schaefer, who opened Fit Mama in Elburn in 2011, expands at 707-J Herra St., Elburn with a ribbon cutting on Oct. 19. ... Ilan Sasson, vice president of operations at PsPrint, an online printing service, has opened a new store at 1600 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, and a public open house is being planned for December. ... Roy N. Davis, who was president of Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. and vice president of corporate development until he retired in January, has been appointed to the board of directors for Nanosphere Inc. in Northbrook.
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