Jill Foucré worked for many years in the health insurance industry, including United Health Group, and did a lot of traveling.
When she was in her 40s, she began thinking about doing something else.
"While I was successful, I still wanted to do something that was closer to my heart," said Foucré, 56.
Born in Milwaukee and raised in Elmhurst, Foucré and her husband Bob Bye of Glen Ellyn opened Marcel's Culinary Experience, in 2011 to offer cooking classes and sell gourmet gifts. Then they more recently opened Marché a gourmet cheese shop with craft beers, wines and other items. Both stores are in downtown Glen Ellyn.
The stores are a culmination of years of planning and a leap out of a successful comfort zone. The real nudge came in 2009, when her mother suddenly died. Foucré also turned 50 that year.
To solidify her dream, a third event happened. When United Health reorganized, she was offered the position of chief operating officer of one of the business units. But it involved even more travel. And she didn't want to remain on the road, she said.
"So that was the first time that I had stepped away from a successful career," she said.
She took a couple of months off and focused on a business plan, did more research, and then purchased a building in downtown Glen Ellyn.
"Growing up, I always liked to cook and there was a lot of entertainment in our family," Foucré said.
Her grandfather, Marcel Foucré, was a chef in France and her dad, Jacques Foucré, also loved to cook.
She traveled with her father to France just before she opened Marcel's in 2011.
"There was a number of people who said we cannot open Marcel's without first going to Paris," she said.
So in early 2011, she and her dad went to Paris and toured the area where her grandfather grew up and had a patisserie. They also went through several handwritten family documents.
"It was like a library, and we don't speak French, but this lovely woman asked us what we needed and she came back with these giant books. When she laid them down, there would be a cloud of dust that would just poof up," she said.
When she returned to Glen Ellyn, she worked on opening Marcel's, named after her grandfather, and then Marche.
"We had a lot of requests to open another Marcel's in different places, like Highland Park and elsewhere. We were approached by some economic development people," she said. "But I didn't want to replicate it."
Instead, she expanded the concept she had. Foucré added a refrigerated case with gourmet cheese and those sales boomed. That's what led her to the idea to open Marché.
She's enjoyed being a retail shop owner and doesn't miss traveling for another company. She now has time to enjoy being with Bob, his two daughters and her son, sing in a church choir, garden and play the piano again, she said.
"I love having my own business and think it would be hard going back to a large company again," she said. "I feel like every day depends on us being focused and smart and taking care of the details. And I like the challenge of that."
Author goes fishing
Ed Piotrowski of Hampshire recently published "A Life Well Fished: 'Reel' Adventures and the Stuff That Happened in Between," a humorous memoir available on Amazon.com. It was published in November on CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. He said he is donating 10 percent of the net proceeds from each sold copy to FARE, or Food Allergy Research and Education, an organization that seeks a cure and helping about 15 million Americans with life-threatening food allergies.
Lawyer makes Top 10 list
Patrick A. Salvi has been named to the 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers Top 10 list for the third consecutive year. His peers selected him as one of the top 10 lawyers out of all categories of law and out of 96,000 Illinois lawyers. Salvi is the managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. in Chicago and Waukegan.
Richard J. Morsches of Arlington Heights has been promoted to chief executive officer of TranSystems Corp., a consulting firm that provides engineering and architecture solutions to the transportation marketplace. The company has offices in Schaumburg and Chicago. ... Karen Stoychoff Inman, owner of Elite Athletic Development/CrossFit Arlington Heights, has been named chairwoman of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Initiative. The initiative develops and hosts interactive workshops and seminars to promote physical, mental and emotional health.
Owner Lisa Carlson Nelson said Carlson's Flooring has won "Best Of Customer Service" on Houzz, a platform for home remodeling and design. The 49 year-old, family-owned company was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users of the site.
Project Engineer Andrew Price recently acquired his Structural Engineer license in Illinois and works for Highland Engineering PC, a consulting and forensic engineering firm in Cary.
Larry Johnson, chief executive officer of Fogo de Chão, a Southern Brazilian Steakhouse, said a new restaurant opened last week in the Freedom Commons dining district in Naperville. It is the third area location for the brand that introduced authentic churrasco to the area more than 14 years ago. The company was founded in 1979 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and expanded into the United States in 1997. There are 41 locations throughout Brazil, the United States and Mexico.
Principal Rick Scardino and Vice President Edward Winslow of Lee & Associates' in Mundelein represented Inland Real Estate Corp., who sold a 16,803-square foot retail neighborhood convenience center known as Mundelein Plaza, 1460-1492 Townline Road in Mundelein. It included Mundelein Polish Deli, Posterworks Gallery & Frame and other shops.
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