You may remember Dwight Sherman of Warrenville as The Toolman, an expert on tools who appeared on the Jonathan Brandmeier radio show or perhaps in ToolTV on cable from 1994 to 2005.
That was the heyday for tools, said Sherman, 61. It also was a time when the construction industry was booming. Then the recession hit. Home building and other construction dried up. So did buying tools.
Sherman, president and owner of Berland's House of Tools in Palatine, Lombard and Joliet, said the industry and Berland's are bouncing back. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sherman's family selling tools.
"It was a feeding frenzy for about 15 years," said Sherman about the time before the Great Recession hit in 2008. "Then all the trades were decimated. We never went through such a tough time as what hit our industry then."
When the industry professionals didn't buy, Berland's suffered, and the company was forced to lay off workers. The company at one time had 80 employees. It has 32 now.
Slowly, they regained their footing, he said. They have made some changes. Instead of cable TV and radio, they now feature videos on YouTube, chat with friends on Facebook, and blast emails to loyal customers, he said.
Still, Sherman, 61, limits what's done online. He's all about old-fashioned customer service and getting the customer in the door.
"We're people and you've just got to come in and try it, and touch it, before you buy it. You can't do that online," he said. "If you need a repair service, we're right here."
So if the family name is Sherman, why is the store called Berland's? It was the name of the original owner, who passed away. Dwight's father, Dave, was a tool salesman and decided to buy Berland's in 1969. Dwight Sherman was just out of college and didn't intend to stay long at the store.
"Berland's had such a following among brick and cement masons, plasterers and others. All those trades came here," he said.
He also didn't intend on becoming a hit on TV and radio, either, but things took off the in 1990s.
"A number of things clicked and it all worked," he said.
Now, as the industry picks up, so has Berland's, he said.
"If we don't have it, you don't need it," he said about the stores.
Knows about long-term care
Victoria Larson of South Elgin-based Victoria Larson Inc. has been certified by the Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification Inc. so she can help clients with their long-term care needs. "My father was an Allstate agent and has had multiple sclerosis for nearly 40 years," she said. "I've first hand witnessed the cost of in-home and most recently a skilled nursing facility. Without long-term care insurance my parents' financial situation would have been dramatically different."
Touch of Silicon Valley
Green Oaks resident Michael LaVista, CEO and founder of Caxy in Chicago, said he recently moved and redesigned his office similar to a Silicon-Valley style. The web consulting and custom web development company now has a quieter office, which is no longer by a fire station, he said. The new office also has high ceilings, lots of light, and so-called war rooms where his team meets about projects. In addition to the conference rooms, he now has a cafe-style alternate meeting area/eating area, upgraded computers and European-style furniture. "Let's face it, the restaurants are way better on this side of the river. Greektown not withstanding, he said.
Bruce Willins, senior director of the Technology Solutions Group/Enterprise Mobile Computing, and Adam Blum, global product manager, both of Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions, will speak at the Enterprise Apps World on June 17-18 in London. They also intend to show off the company's portfolio of hardware and software products and services for enterprise. ... LaSalle Network CEO Tom Gimbel was on the Today Show sharing tips on how college graduates can land their first job after graduating. The company has offices in Oak Brook, Arlington Heights and Chicago. ... Kirk D. Farney starts Aug. 25 as the new vice president for advancement and alumni relations at his alma mater, Wheaton College.
Galen Sullivan of Hoffman Estates will be the manager of the Smashburger restaurant when it opens in Vernon Hills on June 20. ... James Beard Award-nominated Chef Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant), along with business partner Glen Gardner, will open Vistro in Hinsdale later this summer. ... Christine S. Ieuter will be the new vice president, controller and chief accounting officer starting July 14 at United Stationers in Deerfield. Ieuter replaces Kenneth M. Nickel, who announced in March that he was leaving the company.
Elmhurst native Andrew Hayes has been promoted to marketing director at Fifth Third Bank Chicago. ... Bruce A Lombardo, owner of The Copy Guy in Bensenville, will host a grand opening on June 15. ... President and CEO Steve Beauchamp and Chief Financial Officer Peter McGrail of Arlington Heights-based Paylocity Holding Corp., a cloud-based provider of payroll management software, will speak at the William Blair 34th Annual Growth Stock Conference in Chicago Thursday. Also on hand at this event will be Itasca-based Gogo Inc. CFO Norman Smagley on Tuesday. ... Tony Corscadden of St. Charles has been promoted to executive vice president of operations at LaFox-based Radco Industries, a manufacturer of specialty fluids and lubricants for the military, industrial/energy and solar sectors.
Finance expert Terry Savage will speak to members of the Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook. ... Law firm Berger Schatz partner David H. Levy of Glenview was selected by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers as the recipient of the Samuel S. Berger Award. Levy received the award at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers's recent gala. The law firm has offices in Chicago and Lake Forest.
Ellaine Sambo-Reyther has received the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Athena Leadership Award at the Biltmore Country Club in North Barrington. She is the vice-president, director of trust and estate services at BMO Harris Bank. ... George Zoghbi has been appointed to the newly created position of vice chairman of operations, research and development, sales and strategy, reporting directly to CEO Tony Vernon at Northfield-based Kraft Foods Group Inc.
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