Glen Ellyn shop owner trades in life on the road for Main Street
Shop owner trades in life on the road for downtown Glen Ellyn
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
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