The Biz Week That Was: A diamond anniversary, disability award, eclectic eatery and business incentives among highlights

Affy Tapple still an original at 75

In 75 years, Affy Tapple has changed ownership and locations, but the iconic caramel treat remains the same. The company is celebrating its diamond anniversary this fall - the peak of the Affy Tapple year. Its caramel apples are created with the same recipe, and in some of the same copper kettles, Edna Kastrup and her family developed in 1948 in a shop in Chicago's Rogers Park. Its factory moved to Niles in 2000, five years after the Kastrup family sold the company to private investors. Beavers Family Confections bought it in 2017. Affy Tapple is available in stores such as Jewel, Mariano's and Walmart in more than 20 states, mainly in the Midwest.

Gerry's Cafe 'clear choice' for Arlington Heights award

Planning for an Arlington Heights coffee shop started five years ago, with the expressed intent of hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gerry's Cafe hasn't even been open for two months, but it was little surprise around the village hall this week when the nonprofit business was named winner of the village's 2023 Disability Employment Awareness Award. Gerry's Cafe received 27 nominations from in and around the village - the most in the 15 years the Arlington Heights Commission for Citizens with Disabilities has sponsored the recognition.

Junction opening soon in downtown Crystal Lake

Paul Leech is adding another restaurant to the list of eateries he has opened in Crystal Lake. With Jude's, Cantina 52, owning The Cottage and revamping Hickory Hall, his latest is Junction, to open in downtown Crystal Lake sometime in early November. Junction, at 88 Railroad St., will have a hint of Mediterranean inspirations. Burgers, protein bowls, milkshakes, "wacky" grilled cheeses and alcohol-free "mocktails" also will be on the menu. Breakfast sandwiches, pastries, espresso drinks and coffee will be available in the morning.

Kava Diem's new owners bring coffee roasting background to St. Charles cafe

Kava Diem Organic River Cafe has been open just off the west bank of the Fox River in downtown St. Charles since 2018, and while the ownership recently changed hands, the new owners say they are not looking to make any drastic changes. Partners Alex Behrens and Molly Duntemann bought the cafe at 1 W. Illinois St. on Sept. 26. Behrens said he and his wife, Lynn Greetis, will run the day-to-day operations, while Duntemann is an investing partner. Behrens also owns Maple Leaf Roasters, a wholesale coffee roasting business that sells globally sourced coffee beans in Roselle, where he and his wife live.

Palatine using TIF money to improve two downtown properties

Palatine is helping improve the curb appeal of two downtown properties. Village board members Monday agreed to use money from the downtown tax increment financing district to fund grants for exterior improvements at American Legion Post 690, 122 W. Palatine Road, and JL's Pizza & Sports Bar, 19 N. Bothwell St.

Proposed Des Plaines restaurant to get $350,000 incentive from city

Entrepreneurs will get up to $350,000 in financial incentives from the City of Des Plaines to open a new Korean-style restaurant downtown next year. The city council on Monday agreed to give the owners of the proposed Galaxy Hot Pot restaurant, 1417 Ellinwood Ave., a $100,000 grant to help cover construction costs.

West Dundee closes in on mall ownership

West Dundee is poised to acquire the last piece needed for redevelopment at Spring Hill Mall. Trustees are expected to vote at their 7:30 p.m. meeting Monday on an agreement to purchase the core of the mall and the movie theater for $7 million. The village expects to close on the mall property in early 2024. The mall, which is in West Dundee and Carpentersville, has seen declining occupancy rates in recent years with the closure of key anchors Macy's and Sears. West Dundee recently closed on the former Sears store for $2 million and is expected to close on a deal to buy the shuttered Macy's building for $1.25 million in November.

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