How adding Sunday hours boosts business for Geneva thrift shop
It took some time to convince him, but Bernie Schlameuss eventually gave in to the notion that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to open the shop he manages on Sundays.
As of now, it's turned out to be six years of a great idea for the Dejavu Shop at 427 S. Fourth St., Geneva that he manages for the owners -- the southeast district of the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Initially, Schlameuss was concerned about a Catholic-based thrift shop being open on Sunday. But shop volunteer Jim Vargo convinced him otherwise -- and he had a good reason.
"Jim was here at the store on a Friday working on a shelf that had fallen and we started talking about opening the store on Sundays," said Schlameuss, who also manages the Dejavu Warehouse in Aurora.
It was a conversation worth having because the store is directly across the street from the Geneva French Market, held on Sundays from mid-April through mid-November in a parking lot near the Metra station. It was hard to turn down the thought of many of those visitors spilling over to the thrift shop.
The store has been open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday in which the market is open, ever since those conversations took place six years ago.
"Jim and I put some items on a truck and the two of us opened the store, putting it together on two days notice and the response was just overwhelming," Schlameuss said. "We were not really prepared for the response we got -- it was just phenomenal."
It should have been, really. The store has a small parking lot on the south side that faces the market. In that manner, when furniture and other items are placed there, it looks as if the setup was designed to be part of the market all along.
"The first few years, when people came into the store, we asked if they had ever been here before and about 70 percent said it was their first time," Schlameuss said. "We couldn't figure out where these people were coming from, but it was just great because it created such goodwill and we made a lot of new friends."
The Sunday routine is locked in. Schlameuss brings a truck with items into town, attending 6:30 a.m. services at Holy Cross in Batavia and pulling up at the shop at about 7:45 a.m. to unload.
"Jim Vargo finally convinced me it was the right thing to do," he said. "And he was absolutely 100% correct about this."
Watch for the bats:
My wife came home from a walk the other day and sounded excited about spotting some bats flying around. It's not an everyday occurrence; I suppose unless you actually know where to watch for these interesting creatures. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is offering that chance at "Bat Watch" from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at the Burnidge Forest Preserve on Big Timber Road in Elgin.
The district says "the fun starts at dusk" when the insectivorous bats leave their daytime spots and fly into the woods for the night.
Some bat "games" and information about bat ecology is part of the evening as well.
Those interested can register for the free program online at firstname.lastname@example.org by calling (630) 444-3190.
It's definitely wider:
The project won't be completed until late in 2020, but you can already tell it is going to be well worth the wait.
Motorists dealing with the intersection of Fabyan Parkway and Kirk Road know how busy it is, especially at rush hour, so any attempt to change its configuration for better traffic flow would be welcome.
In passing through now, you can see how much wider the Kane County Transportation Department plans will make the intersection. The plan calls for all sorts of improvements from water main relocation to new curbs and gutters and traffic lights, but ground has already been leveled where new turns lanes will be created. At this first glance, it is not hard to envision how much better it will be in the future.
Let's put it this way. The new intersection will look and operate like one that handles a lot of traffic without too much trouble. As we all know too well, this is an intersection that was in need of help.
And the cavalry has arrived.
And there's Jim:
The chances of this happening had to be similar to winning the lottery. But it happened, and it was like something out of "The Twilight Zone" without the scary stuff.
My wife and I have seen the Ides of March rock band several times, and I've even met frontman Jim Peterik after a small show he did at Kiss the Sky in Batavia a couple of years ago.
We mentioned that to a friend who said she went to the same high school, Morton Grove West, as Peterik. I told her she would love Peterik's book "Journey Through the Eye of the Tiger," which provided great detail on his rise with a garage band in the Berwyn-Cicero area to stardom in Los Angeles, and back again with the Ides to often play local venues.
We gave her the book to read during her short trip to Nashville. My wife said she returned the book with rave reviews, saying she even saw a photo of her uncle in the book.
We were talking about that in the car on our way into Geneva to walk the dog. Other than maybe talking about an Ides concert after we saw one, we probably hadn't ever mentioned Jim Peterik's name while driving in our car.
We parked the car and started walking. I got a little bit ahead of my wife and pet, and noticed a car parking nearby. The fellow getting out had long hair -- and it was purple. That's a significant indication you are looking at Jim Peterik.
And there he was. I was stunned, but yelled his name and walked over. He couldn't have possibly known who I was, but I explained to him what happened and he had a good laugh with us.
So, what are the odds of that happening? Far more than a million to one it seems.