Why a former research director opened a men's consignment shop in Geneva

As a youngster growing up in a family with seven kids in Arlington Heights, David Herda got used to a fact of life. He was going to be wearing clothes passed down from his older brother, who, in most cases, was wearing hand-me-downs himself.

Childhood experiences often stick for a lifetime, and this trickle-down process for his clothing never left Herda's habits or mindset.

It all came full circle when he opened Stitch Switch late last year at 310 Campbell St. in downtown Geneva.

After his research, he claims Stitch Switch is the only men's consignment shop he knows of in Illinois. A few consignment stores in Chicago have a men's section amid large displays of women's clothing. "I live in St. Charles now but had always come to Geneva to shop at the small mom-and-pop stores and attend the community festivals," Herda said. "When I was contemplating where to open the business, Geneva came to mind."

  Stitch Switch men's consignment shop in Geneva sells clothing, shoes and accessories. Brian Hill/

But the store wasn't a steppingstone from a career in men's fashion, even though Herda says he has always been interested in men's clothing at lower costs.

This was a complete career switch, made more interesting when considering Herda was the senior research director in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Chicago for 24 years.

"It was quite a change," Herda noted. "I enjoyed my work as a criminal justice research director, but I always had a dream to do something on my own; have my own business, where I could utilize my creativity and also my bachelor's degree in marketing."

When the urge for change finally overcame his passion for criminal justice research, Herda went directly to what he knew best - obtaining used men's clothing and selling it for a fraction of what new clothes cost.

"In order for me to dress somewhat decently when I was young, I discovered thrift shops and started shopping at them," Herda said. "I was able to buy nice clothes for a small price. I continued to do that through high school and college, and it helped me have nice clothes for job interviews and such." Herda has seen younger generations get more interested in thrift shops, not only for the financial considerations but because many view the fast-fashion industry as a major polluter of the environment.

After realizing he could sell some of his clothes on eBay, Herda tried to test further the concept of a men's consignment when opening a small men's spot inside the Anew women's consignment shop at 27 W. State St. in Geneva a year ago.

"Women have been doing consignments for decades, but I guess the men were a little slower on the uptake," he said. "But I tested it there, and it was a great success. It convinced me to pursue my dreams and open my own shop here."

Stitch Switch offers everything from shirts, pants and shoes to watches, rings, sunglasses and cuff links.

So far, Herda couldn't be more pleased. The shop has been doing well, and he's had a good mix of men shopping on their own and moms, wives, and girlfriends helping the men in their lives find some good buys.

"I'm really trying to figure out what the market really is, so I know what to carry more of," he said. "But it really has been a nice mix, from teens looking for streetwear to men who have bought quality second hand for a long time and have become loyal customers."

Lots of markets

When the Daily Herald published a special section last week highlighting the numerous farmers markets in this area, it confirmed something that had crossed my mind in the past. There are a lot of these weekend events around here.

What I didn't realize, and probably should have, considering we're in the heart of the Midwest, is that Illinois ranks third in the country for the number of farmers markets.

Only New York and California have more.

That information came from the Illinois Farm Bureau, which noted our state has more than 300 of these markets. The U.S. has more than 8,000.

We rarely skip the chance to walk through the market in Geneva on Sunday mornings, and we've been to the markets in St. Charles and Batavia as well.

But, like so many other things we did on remote control in the past, we haven't been to one since the pandemic hit us. So, it's time to revel in knowing we rank so high nationally in staging these events and supporting those who take the time to bring their wares every week for all to enjoy.

Feeling Swedish again

Skipping Swedish Days last summer was a punch in the gut for those who enjoyed this great festival and were already bummed out about various pandemic shutdowns.

But it's back this year with some different twists, and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to keep an eye on the chamber website and media outlets to keep tabs on how it will unfold.

For those events that call for ticket purchases, you should know the Swedish Days 5K Lopp race in which runners are encouraged to wear blue and yellow is set for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, June 26.

At 1 p.m. that day, live music unfolds for the Swedish Days Dala-Palooza, featuring various bands in the music garden of Northwestern Medicine Field, the home of the Kane County Cougars.

Finally, on Sunday, June 27, chocolate lovers can participate in the Choklad Crawl, a tour of 15 businesses that will feature chocolate specialties at each stop.

The links to purchase tickets for these events are available at

The fox in Batavia

A lot of people in Batavia last week were following the story of a fox with a serious case of mange that was roaming around downtown.

It had a happy ending for an animal that surely wouldn't have survived when workers from the Kane Area Rehabilitation and Education for Wildlife center were able to catch it and treat it.

The fox received treatment for mange, worms, fleas, ticks and heartworm and was resting comfortably, according to some Facebook posts.

The pastor in Batavia

A story with a not-so-happy ending for folks in Batavia, especially some parishioners from Holy Cross Church, unfolded when it was learned that pastor Father James Parker would be leaving.

Facebook comments indicate Father Parker was a popular leader at Holy Cross, and folks aren't particularly pleased about his upcoming departure.

Father Jared Twenty, who has experience at Holy Cross, and Father Andrew Dietz come to the parish to join Father Moises Apostol. Fathers Twenty and Dietz were ordained on the same day in July of 2014.

Father Parker's last day at Holy Cross is June 15.

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