In addition to getting the Rustic Charm home décor store opened in downtown Geneva last year prior to the Christmas Walk and its overflow of visitors, owner Kelly Volz made one other key business move.
She talked her husband Mike, who is co-owner of the store and the carpenter who builds most of the furniture on display, into letting her name the store.
Why? Well, Mike was pushing for "The Rusty Truck" because he owned a lot of old trucks.
"I said no because everyone would think we were selling auto parts," Kelly said. "We had to compromise, so we left the Rustic part and used Charm for the boutique type of feel."
But Mike had a degree of victory in it all.
"That is why we have a rusty old truck as part of our logo," Kelly said.
But, in that use case, it works in illustrating some Rustic Charm. And anyone who walks into the store at 316 Franklin St. will know what this place is all about fairly quickly.
"We try to bring in old with the new and want to make sure we keep that home feel," Kelly said of her store. "We want this to feel like we are in somebody's home and want visitors to feel that as well when they walk into our place."
That won't be a problem, especially for those seeking unique furniture pieces and décor to go with them.
Kelly and Mike have been going this route for some time, having operated out of a barn on the west side of Elgin for a few years. That's where Mike builds most of the furniture, and the couple still sells pieces there, calling it REG Home Custom Furniture & Décor. The REG represents the first initials of their kids' names.
"We started with the custom furniture and it just exploded very fast, so we got that barn to showcase our pieces and we figured we needed to show people how to decorate them," Kelly said.
But the barn lacked essentials as far as a place to conduct business with potential customers. It had no heating, air-conditioning, running water or bathrooms.
"We always loved downtown Geneva because it was like taking our kids on a vacation when we came down here," said Kelly of bringing her family in from its home in Elgin.
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Kelly plans to add Wednesday to the hours next month.
"We knew if we opened a shop, we wanted it to have that homey feel and we didn't want it to be like a big-box store," she added. "And it's been a good ride and a lot of fun, and we can't wait to see what happens next."
A Kiwanis pledge:
If St. Charles indeed moves forward with its vision for the Active River Development, the St. Charles Kiwanis Club intends to be right in the middle of it -- and that's good news for young kids in St. Charles.
As for being in the "middle of it," take that to mean the Kiwanis has made a commitment to fund and construct a play or educational area for children along the river somewhere near the center of downtown.
At this point, that can mean a lot of different things. But it is safe to say the Kiwanis Club wants to make good on an idea it has been researching for more than two years.
The Kiwanis is considering options like a children's water park, an accessible tree house, a tadpole wading pond, and sensory rooms or gardens, according to Denis Haggerty, a co-chair of the committee putting together what the club is calling its Signature Project.
"We also hope that this early commitment by the St. Charles Kiwanis Club will inspire other civic groups and philanthropically-inclined individuals to make similar pledges to the Active River Development," Haggerty said in a note to the media.
"Then, as this project is constructed, the enhancement components can be installed with minimal delay."
Such a project would give the Kiwanis "an identifiable tribute" to the work it has done in the community and the mission to help children across the world, said John Radman, the other co-chair.
It will be interesting to see how the overall plans fall into place to convert the city's portion of the Fox River into an even more active recreational area for area residents and visitors.
And the Kiwanis is keenly aware of something it can bring to the table to enhance it all.
Meat market's longevity:
The folks at Josef's Elegante Meats & Deli in downtown Geneva have been cooking burgers and brats outside during lunch hour on Saturdays for more than a decade it seems.
We do know the popular meat store at 716 W. State St. is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.
If you've never stopped there on a Saturday when the weather allows it, usually starting in mid to late April, you must do so. The food is terrific, and it's a true version of "street food" in that you can just pull up a piece of curb or the grassy area near the deli, if you are inclined to eat on-site.
Now, that's a party:
As the Court Appointed Special Advocates are headlong into their 30th anniversary, they are showing they know how to throw a party.
CASA Kane County's benefit concert Friday, May 18, at the DuPage Airport features the likes of Steve Azar and the Kings Men, as well as John Waite and also Jim Peterik and the Ides of March.
Over the years, we've been to quite a few events like this at the DuPage Airport. For those who can't quite picture what it would be like to attend a benefit concert in an airport hangar, you'll be surprised. It works quite well.
Information about the event is available at (630) 444-3109.
For hockey fans:
There's a reason the Fox Valley Ice Arena has a lot of cars in the parking lot on certain evenings.
Though many of us may remember the Chicago Freeze playing hockey there for years, the place has been home to the Chicago Steel of late.
The team plans to give away a bunch of stuff for Fan Appreciation Night during the game at 7 p.m. tonight against the Central Illinois Flying Aces.
It closes the USHL regular season home schedule, but here's the thing about the Steel: The team won the league's Clark Cup championship last year and sits in sixth of eight playoff spots for this season.
By the way, the charity of the night for this game is the Fox Valley Wildlife Center. The Steel is donating part of ticket proceeds from those who bought tickets for the game through the Steel website and entered a code for the wildlife center.