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updated: 12/23/2013 5:45 AM

Brostens change junk yard image to recycling centers

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  • Jay Brosten, from left, Adam Brosten and Larry Brosten. Jay and Larry Brosten own Auto Parts City, which has operations in Gurnee and Park City.

    Jay Brosten, from left, Adam Brosten and Larry Brosten. Jay and Larry Brosten own Auto Parts City, which has operations in Gurnee and Park City.

  • Cameron Monti

    Cameron Monti

  • Neil Bluhm

    Neil Bluhm

  • Robert Kudowski

    Robert Kudowski

  • Colin Milner and Rita Lopienski

    Colin Milner and Rita Lopienski

  • Jill Brown

    Jill Brown

  • Tom Hutchinson

    Tom Hutchinson

  • Amy Smith

    Amy Smith

  • Lizz Wheeler

    Lizz Wheeler


Totaled or abandoned vehicles sitting in any junk yard have been frowned upon for decades by nearby businesses, homeowners and sometimes local governments. It was usually considered an undesirable business. But Larry Brosten and his family, owners of Auto Parts City in Gurnee and Park City, sought to change that image.

Now with the fourth generation entering the fold, the Brosten family has used new technology to improve processing such vehicles to recycle parts and fluids, fix some autos for resale, and provide the remaining metal for recycling, as well. A new location in Waukegan will open in January.

The company, which started in the 1930s in Chicago, started by selling used tires and has since grown to a workforce of about 50 with more expected to be hired next year. The company also recently won the Auto Recyclers Association Car Star 2013 Business of the Year, which honors it as an ARA member business that has shown dedication to the industry and the certified automotive recycler program.

"We were criticized forever, but now everybody understands what we were trying to do here," Brosten said.

Larry Brosten takes great pride in his family's longevity in the business, starting with his grandfather Morris Brosten, a fruit peddler who found that forgotten tires he found along the road fetched more money than the apples and oranges in his cart in the 1930s. Morris started Midwest Tire in Chicago and his son, Hy Brosten (Larry's dad) further grew the business into Midwest Auto Parts during the 1940s and beyond.

The company continued to do well over the years, and Larry and his brother, Jay Brosten, also came on board to lead the company, adding the new technology and expanding whenever possible.

By 2007, Brostens bought the former Nordic Properties site, across the street from the existing Auto Parts City in Gurnee. The family was granted a permit to open up the recycling facility, which changed the face of the business, Larry said.

The Brostens recently opened the new high-tech center and invited local government officials to witness the recycling efforts firsthand.

"My father, me and now my son. It's a nice ending to a business involving cars and building a facility that can be a solution," Brosten said.

Palatine lawyer writes book

Cameron Monti, a partner at Lavelle Law Ltd. in Palatine, has written a book detailing the aspects of the new Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in Illinois. Available on Amazon, "Illinois Medical Marijuana Law FAQ Handbook" explains the new law that goes into effect Jan. 1 and how it will impact employers, attorneys, landlords, patients and those who will operate businesses related to the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

Casino, mall magnate donates

Neil Bluhm, Midwest Gaming & Entertainment chairman and leader of the Des Plaines-based Rivers Casino, donated $25 million to his alma mater, Northwestern University, where he earned a law degree. The gift was from the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation. He's also the founder of JMB Realty and Walton Street Capital. He was an early developer of malls, including Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, 900 N. Michigan on Chicago's Magnificent Mile and other projects in Florida, North Carolina and elsewhere.


Jonathan Miers, son of Naperville residents Tom and Pati Miers and a graduate of North Central College, will speak at the college's Meiley-Swallow Hall on Dec. 27 to share his experience surviving Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine. He'll discuss the evacuation, the rescue efforts and his work in the aftermath of the storm. He works for GoAbroad in the Philippines.

Robert Kudowski of Round Lake Beach has retired after more than 23 years of service. Kudowski, a dock spotter for the ABF Des Plaines Service Center, plans to return to Poland, where he was born and raised. The company is a subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp. ABF is a global provider of supply chain solutions.

Co-Founding Partner Michael S. Teitelbaum established Chunowitz, Teitelbaum & Mandel Ltd., which now marks its 40th anniversary. Now based in Riverwoods, the accounting and consulting firm was formerly known as Chunowitz, Kolb, Teitelbaum and Baerson Ltd., with partners William Chunowitz, Richard Kolb and Lawrence Baerson in 1973. They were originally located in Northfield.

Rita Lopienski of Bartlett received the International Council on Active Aging 2013 Innovator Award in San Diego during the group's annual convention. The award, presented by Colin Milner, the group's executive director, was for the IntergenSational program at Plymouth Place Senior Living in LaGrange Park, where Lopienski is the director of life enrichment.

Robert K. Biggart is the new senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Deerfield-based Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. He spent 29 years doing corporate law at PepsiCo. ... Jill Brown, vice president and chief marketing officer for Cadence Health in Winfield, and Tom Hutchinson, president of Mid-American Group, an employee benefits consulting and brokerage company in Westmont, each have joined the board of Wheaton-based Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, a provider of education and emotional wellness to families.

Amy Smith is the new executive meeting manager at the Q Center conference center in St. Charles. ... Justin M. Pisellini of the financial services firm Edward Jones said his office has moved to 401 W. Irving Park Road, Itasca. ... Lizz Wheelerhas been named vice president of business development at National Gift Card Corp., the incentive and loyalty rewards provider in Elgin. ... La Grange resident Paula H. Holderman, president of the Illinois State Bar Association, has been named Illinois delegate to the American Bar Association. She is chief attorney development officer at Winston & Strawn LLP, in Chicago.

•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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