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Article updated: 4/30/2013 6:42 PM

Historic artifact unveiling marks celebration of re-established downtown business

A fašade improvement at Rite-Way Automotive in West Chicago triggered the memory of an artifact that was placed behind a commemorative marble stone when the building was originally constructed in 1951.

A fašade improvement at Rite-Way Automotive in West Chicago triggered the memory of an artifact that was placed behind a commemorative marble stone when the building was originally constructed in 1951.

 

Rite-Way Automotive

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By Rosemary Mackey

West Chicago, Illinois: April 29, 2013 -- History will be revealed when a commemorative marble stone is removed from the fašade of a building located at 101 East Washington Street in downtown West Chicago. The space behind the stone holds a memento embedded by the building's original owner Mike Day when he constructed it in 1951.

The "time capsule" will hold special interest for Vince Malina, the current property owner who has come full circle with the re-establishment of a family business at this address. His father first incorporated Rite-Way Automotive in 1971, and ten years later purchased the building that was formerly Day's Phillips 66 Service Station at 101 East Washington Street to expand his business. The young Malina began managing the family business full-time in the late 1980s while completing his college degree from DePaul University in 1992. Rite-Way Auto was then leased to Sam's Auto Repair when Malina left the business to pursue a career with Motorola's Automotive Division, and later with Continental AG Automotive Systems following the acquisition in 2006.

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Fast-forward to 2013 and the opportunity for Malina to re-establish Rite-Way Automotive on East Washington Street.. It was working with the Historical Preservation Commission that triggered a memory of the embedded Day heirloom. "The Commission requested that the commemorative marble stone on the existing fašade which dates the building to 1951 be preserved. That's when I was reminded that when we closed on the property back in 1981, Jean Day, Mike's wife, placed an heirloom behind the stone," said Malina. The plan is to uncover the artifact during West Chicago's annual downtown garden festival, Blooming Fest, on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. and donate it to the City Museum.

Even though Mike and Jean Day have since passed on, Malina will invite other Day family members to the ceremony. The occasion will also mark a celebration of the reinvigorated business which has already started to attract a strong following, no doubt due to the extensive re-modeling of the interior, an update to the equipment and ASE and I-CAR certified technicians. The business features the latest Atlas 401 computerized alignment equipment, Snap-On Verus diagnostic equipment and lifts for cars and medium duty trucks up to 12,000 pounds.

Business hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information, contact Rite-Way Automotive at (630) 231-3493.

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