A picturesque small town in the heart of Northern Illinois, Genoa is perfectly situated to provide residents with access to rural charm and big-city culture.
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Area Chamber of Commerce n behalf of the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to welcome you to our town. Genoa is an outstanding place to live, work, and grow a business. Whether you’re visiting for the day, looking for a new place to call home, or you’re already a resident of our thriving community… we guarantee you will love it here! Genoa is a quaint little town with a big heart and plenty of opportunities. Our rich history dates back to 1835, and the Chamber was established in 1956 to advocate for and support the prosperity of Genoa and area businesses. We continue to be a strong voice for your business, community and industry. We work hard promoting, preserving and growing Genoa. With our branch of the chamber “Explore Genoa”, we encourage you to support our chamber businesses listed on our website business directory and annual area guide. Supporting local and area member businesses is an important key to keeping our community and community entities successful to better serve you. We partner with our local government and other organizations to pursue improvements in the overall quality of life for the city, county, and region, particularly in the areas of transportation, education, healthcare, tourism, economic development, community development, and workforce development. Our success in achieving our mission and purpose is due to a collaborative effort from the Chamber Board of Directors, Chamber Ambassadors, The City of Genoa, Chamber members, area professionals and community volunteers. Our online business directory and Area Guide are two resources the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce provides to the local community. We continue to work with our “Explore Genoa” committee to encourage you to think local, shop local! By supporting the businesses in our directory, you are reinvesting in your community. Each year the Chamber hosts several community events. For a full list of our events go to our website at www.genoaareachamber.com. To our current Chamber members, thank you for your continued support. For those of you considering relocating your business or opening a new business in Genoa, you will find that becoming a Chamber member is of great value to you. Genoa is thriving, come grow with us!
Cortney Strohacker Executive Director Krissy Johnson Associate Director Pattie Marx President
Tricia Herrera Vice President
SERVPRO of DeKalb County
Dr. Mark Lanting Treasurer Kishwaukee College
Genoa-Kingston School Dist. #424
Josh Kubiak Edward Jones
City of Genoa
Alan Browne Chevrolet
Tyler Studebaker First Midwest Bank
Rick Amato Legal Counsel
Cortney Strohacker • Executive Director Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
table of COntents 3
Board of Directors
Genoa Chamber Ambassador Club
New Businesses Repurpose Existing Properties
Volksfestâ€™s Impact Continues to Grow
Getting to Know Brent Oâ€™Daniell, New Genoa-Kingston School Superintendent
Genoa Area Map
15 Tobinson Ace Hardware Celebrates 90 Years 19
2018 Genoa Area Chamber Membership Directory
The 2018 Genoa Area Business Directory Guide is published by Shaw Media in cooperation with the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce. Project Manager: Lisa Angel Design & Layout: Allison LaPorta Cover Photo: Genoa Guest House Contributing Writers: Stephen Haberkorn Contributing Photographers: Shaw Media Staff All information current as of January 2018
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Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
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The Genoa Chamber Ambassador Club meets the first Friday of each month from 12:00-1:00pm. Meeting Dates for 2018 January 5th â€˘ February 2nd â€˘ March 2nd April 6th â€˘ May 4th â€˘ June 1st July 6th â€˘ August 3rd â€˘ September 7th October 5th â€˘ November 2nd â€˘ December 7th
Locations will rotate throughout our membership. Our scheduled ribbon cuttings will take place immediately following our meetings. We invite you to join our Ambassador Club and network with us. GENOA CHAMBER AMBASSADOR CLUB
We want to be
MISSION STATEMENT: The Genoa Ambassador Club of the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce is a prestige public relations, booster and goodwill organization dedicated to a better community. It will concern itself with activities to enhance the image of the Genoa area Chamber of Commerce, create solidarity within the membership, and will bring about a greater appreciation among community citizens of what the Chamber stands for in terms of goodwill, civic participation, recognition and appreciation. AMBASSADOR CLUB MEMBERS Carolyn Tobinson of Tobinsonâ€™s Ace Hardware (Ambassador Chairman) Cortney Strohacker (Genoa Chamber Executive Director) Heather Criddle of First Midwest Bank Kristi Dunn of Genoa Park District Sherry Frankenbach of KVHS Gwen Garza of First Midwest Bank Jennifer Groce of NIU Tricia Herrera of SERVPRO of Dekalb County Krissy Johnson of The Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce Mary Keys of Genoa Guest House Diana King of Family Service Agency Brett Korth of Resource Bank Josh Kubiak of Edward Jones Investments Pattie Marx of Heartland Bank Anne Ostdick of Herb/o/logy Linda Peterson of Resource Bank Theresa Rossman of First Midwest Bank Danita Sims of Kishwaukee College Melissa Stoffregen of Coldwell Banker
Repurpose Existing Properties
By: Stephen Haberkorn
Two different retirees who recently relocated to the area are fulfilling dreams by repurposing long-vacant Genoa properties for their new family-run businesses. Following year-long, extensive renovations, both J6 Polymers and the Genoa Guest House recently opened for business. J6 Polymers renovated the former site of 84 Lumber on Derby Line Road that had been vacant since 2008, while the owners of the Genoa Guest house restored an historic home on South Sycamore Street that was built in the 1890s.
The Genoa Guest House The June 1, 1901 edition of The Genoa Journal newspaper announced the arrival of Dr. Thomas Austin and his wife to the City of Genoa. The article boasts of the fact that along with his medical practice, Dr. Austin would be bringing DeKalb County’s first X-ray machine. According to the paper, “a great factor” in the doctor’s decision to move his family to Genoa from Burlington was his father-in-law’s purchase of “the handsome residence property on South Sycamore.” Over a hundred years later, that same house at 231 South Sycamore Street has brought a new couple and a new business to the City of Genoa. Roger and Mary Keys from DeKalb are restoring the former home of the Austin family to its past glory and creating the new Genoa Guest House, the town’s first ever bed and breakfast. Roger and Mary are the perfect couple to take on this endeavor. Roger and their son Matt own RW Keys & Son a building restoration and historic preservation company which Roger established 45 years ago. Mary recently retired from Resource Bank
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
in 2015, where she served as the Director of Marketing. She owned a catering business for twenty-five years and worked at Northern Illinois University in food service management. Mary Keys has always enjoyed the hospitality business, and over the years her daughter and good friends remembered Mary telling them that she dreamed of having a bed and breakfast. After she retired, a light bulb went on. Their son, Matt had purchased the home at an auction in 2010. Over the years he seized every opportunity to salvage kitchen appliances, cabinets, and high-end fixtures and furnishings. It was the perfect opportunity.
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“The location is within a couple blocks of downtown,” she explained. “This town has no lodging. If you come to visit family and they don’t have room for you to stay, you have to go to Sycamore. When you come to the winery to meet friends, but you don’t want to drink and drive, where do you go?” Before Mary Keys could begin her dream of running a bed & breakfast, they had to get the property rezoned from residential to light commercial. They sent out notices to their neighbors about their proposal and informing them about a special zoning meeting at city hall. Eight neighbors showed up to the meeting and every one of them was very supportive. Stephanie Bradac, who lives across the street from the guest house, attended the meeting with her husband. “We were really excited about it,” said Bradac. “We heard about their plans and we definitely voiced our support and enthusiasm.” The full-blown construction on the house started in January of 2017. Since then, Roger Keys has been working at the house seven days a week, including many twelve-hour days. Roger Keys is deeply committed to preserving the architectural history of Illinois. He was on the Ellwood House board for fifteen years, including two stints as President. He served on the DeKalb Landmark Commission. He was also a board member and president for the Illinois Association of Historic Preservation Commissions. Roger frequently presents slideshows and educational lectures on historic preservation work. “I take a lot of photographs, so people can see step by step that it’s possible to do this,” said Roger Keys. The house in Genoa took a lot of work to get ready for guests, but after working on other people’s homes his whole life, Roger is finally going to live in a home he has restored. “When people come for a visit, they can see what Matt and I do for a living,” said Roger. “It’s kind of a good way to show off our expertise.”
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Mary and Roger’s daughter, Meg, has an accounting business in Portland, Oregon. “She has kept our accounting in order, spear-headed the website, supported our vision, and made several trips halfway across the country to keep us on track,” said Mary Keys. “She wants to be sure that we don’t make it your grandma’s bed and breakfast,” said Mary. “When you come, you won’t find lace and roses. Everything you need for your comfort is brand new. It’s a beautiful, clean environment. And, yet, it’s kind of a cool place
because it was built in the 1890s.” Free WiFi is available throughout the house as well as plenty of outlets to charge your phones and devices. Guests can choose from three different bedrooms and will enjoy a delicious gourmet breakfast, with accommodations for any special dietary needs. The house is also available for get-togethers such as showers or anniversary parties. One of their neighbors hosts a family reunion every summer and wants to rent the guest house so that her sisters can stay there, because she doesn’t have enough bedrooms in her home. “It’s a place that you can come, kick back and feel pampered,” said Mary Keys. Neighbors have really appreciated the work the Keys have done on the historic home. “We can see the guest house from our living room window and it’s just great to see someone take an old property and bring it back to its original beauty,” said Bradac. “It improved our view. Obviously, it improves the value of the homes in the neighborhood. And it contributes to the beautification and restoration of Genoa. We’re all for that.” Guests can make reservations online for bookings beginning in March. For more information call 847-792-1435 or visit their website at genoaguesthouse.com.
fibre aviation parts to be both incredibly lightweight and strong. Their JFoam™ product is so strong that you can drive a pickup truck over it without denting it. Their products have over 40 years of proven performance in the aerospace and defense markets. They sell into the areas of military communications, and their products were on all 137 NASA space shuttle launches. One of their major customers is Boeing Space. “It puts Genoa on the map,” said Cortney Strohacker, Executive Director of the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce. “They’re the only company in the world that does what they do.” When it came down to looking at plants, they searched all over Illinois. They needed a rail siding for shipping, and that eliminated almost all of the plants they looked at. Some of them had the capability of adding a rail spur, but it generally takes two to three years to put one in and costs an incredible amount of money, Wood said. “I happen to live three miles from here,” said Wood, “and I kept coming by this little place that had a for sale sign on it.” The original facility had five metal buildings, but they removed two of them and are still in the process of recycling the materials. Before they even began construction, they contacted the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce in order to hire as many local laborers as possible.
After retiring in 2014 as Vice President and General Manager of Global Polymers for Stepan Company in Northfield, IL, Robert Wood wanted to leave a legacy for his sons, so he started J6 Polymers by purchasing the Specialty Polyurethane Systems business from his former company.
“They have done an amazing job in there,” said Strohacker. “They’ve cleaned everything up. They totally redid the whole inside and outside. All of the neighbors at Derby Line Estates across the street are so happy that they’re there and have put the attention into it that they have.”
Three of Wood’s sons currently work for the business. One runs production. One is in the laboratory. And the third runs customer service and is the Chief Financial Officer. His sons have prior experience working with him through his real estate business, and they were actively involved in rebuilding their family’s 45acre property in Kingston Township.
J6 Polymers has also received a lot of assistance from the City of Genoa in order to do necessary utility upgrades, such as adding new utility poles and increasing their natural gas capacity. “We are very happy with what we have here,” said Wood. “We would only have gotten a fraction of the total value anywhere else. If we had to start from scratch, the money we put in, including the acquisition, wouldn’t have even paid for [the first] building, let alone rail access, parking lot, asphalt, fences, and everything else.”
J6 Polymers produces state-of-the-art polymer components for things like airplane and helicopter propellers, airplane stabilizers, wing tips, and radomes. Their polymers allow carbon
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Continues to Grow By: Stephen Haberkorn
As the annual Genoa Volksfest continues to grow and incorporate new organizations, its impact is growing as well by raising money for more local non-profits, providing resources for other local events throughout the year, enhancing the Kishwaukee River area, and even providing valuable experience for local musicians. When Carolyn Tobinson and Brian Wallace founded the Kishwaukee Valley Wanderers several years ago, they came up with the idea for a weekend-long festival featuring a recreational walk, called a Volksmarch, that would be held in conjunction with the established Great Genoa Duck Race. One of the goals that came out of the Genoa SOARing meetings that took place in 2014 was to find more ways to utilize the Kishwaukee River area, so they chose Carroll Memorial Park as the location for the outdoor festival. “The City has been so great about everything, and they’ve made improvements down by the river because we’ve drawn attention to it,” said Cortney Strohacker, Executive Director for the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce. “They just got a grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation to do more things down there.” They have already put in a canoe launch and a fire pit and plan to add horseshoe pits. “It’s exciting and it’s beautiful,” Strohacker said. The Chamber used to organize the Friday and Sunday events and the Kishwaukee Valley Wanderers did Saturday, but now they are both just doing everything together. Each year, the Genoa Volksfest has grown as the organizers try to figure out ways to incorporate more of the local organizations. The most-famous Volksfest in the world is the Oktoberfest held yearly in Munich, Germany, so it only made sense to include a craft beer and wine festival among the Genoa Volksfest activities. Since the beginning, the Goodfellows of Genoa-Kingston have helped out with serving in the beer tent and then take home a lot of the proceeds. The Goodfellows of Genoa-Kingston began in 2014 as an offshoot of the DeKalb-Sycamore Goodfellows charity organization. They have about twenty core members and many others who help out when called upon. Their primary activity is to provide Christmas gifts of warm, winter clothing to needy families. Applications are sent out through the Genoa-Kingston School District; therefore, all the families who receive presents have at least one school-aged child in the district. Kate Appleby, Co-Founder of the Genoa-Kingston Goodfellows, is a big fan of Volksfest. “They have done such an amazing job for this community,” said Appleby. “It’s one non-for-profit helping other non-for-profits and all the money stays in the community. They wrapped their arms around us and just support us.” This past year, the Kishwaukee Wanderers were able to cut a $2000 check to the Goodfellows.
Appleby said that it’s easy rounding up volunteers to pour at the Volksfest beer tent. Some of the people are actively involved in the Goodfellows and others are just friends who like helping out. “I call up some people and I say, ‘Hey, you want to pour some beer?’ We do a couple shifts. It’s not too hard, because once they’ve done it, it’s actually fun,” Appleby said. Other organizations that have been involved in the craft beer festival over the years include Crossroads Community Church and the Genoa Lions Club. The United Way has also served at Volksfest. “We as the Kishwaukee Valley Wanderers don’t do anything but facilitate this,” said Brian Wallace. “It is the businesses in town that actually give money to make the events happen.” The second year of Volksfest, they got Boy Scout Troop 71 to provide breakfast on Sunday. They provided the money to buy the food for the burrito breakfast and then the Boy Scouts made $900-$1000. Wallace believes the leftover food was delivered to Hope Haven in DeKalb. The Genoa-Kingston Education Foundation helped pour beer and wine on Friday night and received $1000 from the bar proceeds. The PTO made $500-$600 off their fun fair on Sunday. This year, they also had the Sons of the American Legion come and grill. “You come and participate; then you can take the money home,” explained Wallace. The school district supports Volksfest in other ways, as well. The Genoa-Kingston High School Impact Club helps set up and the high school marching band performs on Sunday. Another new addition in 2017 was helicopter rides provided by Ride the Helo! They ended up getting postponed, but 300 people took advantage of the $20 rides in the Robinson R-44 helicopter a few weeks later. As the Chamber and the Wanderers continue to look for new ways to enhance the festival, they may try to bring in a petting zoo to add to the duck race and fun fair. They are also considering other options for Friday night, such as Lucha Libre wrestlers. During the first two years of Volksfest, they would have several bands from around the area perform during “Rockin’ the Kish” on Friday night. This past year, however, the Dan Dillett experience headlined the Friday concert. Dillett, who grew up in Genoa and whose father is the CEO of Custom Aluminum Products, had performed during the Craft Beverage Festival on Saturday the previous year and was a big hit. Dillett said that it’s humbling to perform in his hometown in front of people he grew up with. He has performed in Chicago, Milwaukee and Nashville, but he appreciates the opportunity to play for friends
and family because they always give him honest feedback. As a further benefit, he sold out of all the merchandise he brought to the show, including his EP and Dan Dillett Experience shirts. Dillett added that when he was growing up there wasn’t a lot of social events to go to in the city, other than Genoa Days, so he always went to DeKalb Corn Fest and Sycamore Pumpkin Fest. “When the Chamber started doing things within the community, it really sparked an interest in me and I saw that within the community, too,” said Dillett. “I think Volksfest is an awesome way to just bring people together and bring businesses together within the city. It’s just a good place to hang out. It’s been nothing but positivity.” The Kishwaukee Valley Wanderers do keep some of the money from Volksfest, but they end up putting it back into other organizations throughout the year, as well as using it to put on events of their own to give people in the community even more things to do. They provided the bar for the Chamber holiday party, because the Chamber does so much to make Volksfest happen. They also did the raffle at the Goodfellows dueling pianos fundraiser.
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The other events the Wanderers organize throughout the year besides Volksfest are a Poker Walk on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and Kayaking and Canoeing on the Kish River in the middle of July.
Next year’s 4th Annual Volksfest will be September 7th, 8th and 9th.
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Getting to Know
Brent O’Daniell New Genoa-Kingston School Superintendent By Stephen Haberkorn
Brent O’Daniell, new Superintendent for Genoa-Kingston CUSD 424, wants you to know that no matter what your concern is, you’ve got his ear. During his interview with the school board before being hired, he said being a good listener is his greatest strength. “I like to hear what’s on people’s minds, whether it’s good or bad,” said O’Daniell. “I’m very good at accepting constructive criticism. If somebody’s trying to help me or the district be better, I want to hear it. I’m not so proud as to think I have all the answers.” Joe Burgess retired last June after admirably serving the GenoaKingston school district for seven years as Superintendent. O’Daniell, his successor, comes to the district from Virginia CUSD #64 in downstate Illinois, where he was the Superintendent for the last five years. Brent O’Daniell grew up in Southern Illinois in a little town outside of Mt. Vernon called Woodlawn, which is an hour east of St. Louis, Missouri. Both of his parents were educators in the Woodlawn School District. His mother was an elementary teacher and his dad was a Jr. High/ High School teacher who later went into administration, becoming a principal and superintendent before working in the regional superintendent’s office at the end of his career. “They were the impetus behind my getting into education,” said O’Daniell. “It’s really all I ever knew. I heard a lot of the professional conversations at home and thought it would be something I would be interested in doing.” While he was in middle school, O’Daniell’s family also raised pheasants, quail, wild turkeys and chuckar partridges. He currently enjoys hunting, fishing and playing golf in his spare time. Sports have always been a big part of the O’Daniell family culture. Brent said that his wife, Stacie, was a fantastic basketball player. His primary sport was baseball. After starring in high school, he went on to play at Rend Lake College in Southern Illinois and then at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Stacie O’Daniell also coached basketball, while Brent coached baseball and softball and served as an official for the IHSA in baseball, softball and basketball. “We loved to play with the kids outside when they were growing up, and it always seemed to include a ball of some sort,” said O’Daniell.
Their daughter, Lauren, and son, Brendan, both became accomplished athletes as well, and were recruited to play softball and baseball, respectively, in college. O’Daniell earned his teaching certification while at Lindenwood University. He was certified to teach physical education, but his first teaching position at Odin Schools was in high school math on a provisional certificate. He taught math and physical Education at the K-12 school just outside of Salem, IL for eight years. The ninth year, they hired him as principal. In 2004, he moved on to the Nashville (IL) school district 49, where he served as a principal for three years and then district superintendent for five years. He was hired in 2012 to be the Superintendent for Virginia CUSD 64, which is located just outside of Springfield. He served there for five years and supervised the building of a new Jr./Sr. High School during that time. “Genoa-Kingston has a lot of the same demographic values as the Nashville School District,” said O’Daniell. “It’s also a larger school district, which was something that I was very interested in—having the opportunity to influence even more students’ lives and more families.” Even though O’Daniell grew up and served all of his professional career in southern and central Illinois, he had recently taken some leadership courses and learned more about schools in the northern part of the state. “The big joke down south was, ‘All those northern schools have to worry about is the pH balance in their pools,’ which obviously is not the case,” said O’Daniell. Another factor influencing O’Daniell’s decision to move up north was that both of his children chose to attend Aurora University, which is about a 45-minute drive from Genoa. His daughter, Lauren, is a junior studying nursing and his son, Brendan, is a freshman majoring in Communications and Political Science. Lauren played softball her first two years at Aurora, so O’Daniell was used to making the trip up north to watch her games.
His wife, Stacie, is also an educator. She covered maternity leaves at both the Genoa-Kingston Middle School and High School this year while looking for an administrative position for next year. O’Daniell enjoys seeing the growth and maturation process of students, and is particularly happy when he can help them overcome adversity. “It does my heart good to see a kid who could easily have turned the wrong way, make the right decision and wind up being very successful,” said O’Daniell. One of his priorities as the new Superintendent is letting people in the community know about all of the good things that are going on in the Genoa-Kingston schools, particularly through the use of social media and the “gkcogs” hashtag. “I think it’s important to tell your own story, because if you don’t tell it somebody’s going to tell it for you, and it might not be the way you want it to be told. And they may not have all the facts,” said O’Daniell. Some of his other goals for the district include having a 100% graduation rate (currently, it’s 92%), closing the socioeconomic achievement gap, and working with the board to create a district strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. To help guide their district strategic plan, they have surveyed all the staff and all the students in grades 3-12 and will survey the parents and community members next. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and honestly, there’s not a lot broken here. There’s just a lot of fine tuning that needs to be done,” said O’Daniell. One thing he is already grateful for is the involvement of the local business owners in the community and how they are present at school events. “The opportunity to work with the Chamber is a blessing,” said O’Daniell. “Not all school districts have that luxury. I want to say thank you, not only to Cortney but to the board for including the school district in the Chamber and allowing us to work alongside the professionals and hopefully add to the desire of those looking for a place to live, to come live here in Genoa.”
“I’ve always loved kids,” said O’Daniell. “If I have a bad day, I just take a walk through an elementary school and you can’t help but smile. They’re so honest, genuine and loving.”
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Tobinson Ace Hardware
Celebrates 90 Years
By: Stephen Haberkorn
The history of Tobinson Ace Hardware in Genoa is like a blueprint for success. They premiered on Broadway Avenue in Rockford, IL a couple years before the Great Depression. After becoming a fixture for decades in the city of 140,000 people, they packed up the business and moved to the quiet town of Genoa, with its 3000 residents in 1974. Initially located on Main Street, they moved storefronts once more before settling into an out-of-the-way building off Route 23. Yet despite five locations, four name changes, and the move to a significantly smaller community, not only has Tobinson Hardware managed to survive for 90 years but they have continually grown bigger and better. On February 12, 1927, the Tobinson brothers, Rheinhold (Ray) and Gunnar, opened their paint and auto accessories store at 1522 Broadway in Rockford. Within a few years, they started selling hardware and Gunnar retired to Florida, leaving the store in Ray’s very capable hands. In an article written in the Rockford Morning Star in July of 1974, announcing the business’s move to Genoa, Ray Tobinson was described as “one of the most respected businessmen ever to open his doors to Rockford Customers.” He passed away in 1983. On staying in business during the Great Depression, Ray’s granddaughter, Carolyn, who now runs the store said, “That’s the nice thing about a hardware store. Pretty much everybody needs something. Especially in tough times, people stay put and they fix what they have.”
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
with the bookkeeping, and they have another sister, Jacki Glew, who was involved in the store for a while before becoming a dietician and moving to Evanston. The girls grew up playing at the store and doing odd jobs, such as putting merchandise away for a quarter. They would play store in the back room with an old cash register, using flat washers for money, Ginny Wilcox said. Carolyn’s daughter, Emily Prickett, works at the store now, becoming the fourth generation of the family to wear a hardware vest. They even have name tags at the store for Carolyn’s grandchildren. Her oldest grandson is 10 and she taught him how to run the register. “They come and help out quite a bit,” said Carolyn Tobinson.
Ray’s son and Carolyn’s father, Dave, returned to the business in the early 1960’s after graduating from Northwestern University with a Business Administration degree, getting married, and working for Stanley Tools in Dallas, Texas. When the area their store was located in became run down, Ray and his son looked at sites on the outskirts of Rockford and in Wisconsin before choosing to move to Genoa in 1974. They purchased an existing hardware store named Crawford’s at 303 W. Main Street, where the Beth Fowler dance studio now stands. One of the employees at Crawford’s, Paul Harmon, agreed to stay on to help them get started in the new town. “He was a wonderful help to my parents,” said Carolyn Tobinson. In 1984, they moved the store across the street to the current site of Napa Auto Parts, 330 W. Main Street. Dave and Kate Tobinson’s oldest daughter, Carolyn, moved back to Genoa from Washington State with her family in 1994 when her husband retired from the military. She had also served in the Army after high school. At that time, her sister, Leslie Sanderson, was working at the Downton Genoa store and they opened a second store in Rochelle, which Carolyn ran until they closed it in 2000. Dave and Kate Tobinson retired in 2002 and Carolyn took over management of the store in Genoa. “My mother moved both of them to Arizona on purpose, so that dad would not be in the store all the time,” said Carolyn. Leslie left the business then, and now works at Heartland Bank in Genoa. All four of the Tobinson daughters have worked in the family business off and on over the years. Ginny Wilcox currently helps
In 2007, they expanded by constructing the current 12,000 squarefoot facility at 361 Sycamore Road, and opened in January of 2008 with the help of the high school athletic department. According to Carolyn Tobinson, they had one team at the old store packing up tote bags full of merchandise, another team that traveled across town and brought the totes to the new location, and then a third team at the new store unloading. They were able to move the entire store in one day. That event perfectly illustrates how connected the hardware store is to the Genoa community. Over the years, they have changed associations and names several times. They started out independent as Tobinson Brothers. At that time, Ace Hardware was only 3 years old. Their main focus was originally paint, which continues to be their top department. While in Rockford, they joined the Frankfurth Hardware Association and became Tobinson’s Pro Hardware. When Frankforth went bankrupt in the mid-1970’s, they switched over to United Hardware and took on the brand name “Hardware Hank.” Their Hardware Hank mascot would march in parades in town. In 1991, they finally signed up to become an Ace Hardware store. Carolyn Tobinson said the family-run business has managed to keep going for 90 years because her grandfather and parents modeled good work ethic and lived simply. “My grandfather worked long hours and so did my parents, as I do now, too,” said Tobinson. “This is my second home. I’m comfortable here and I’m just as happy to be here as I am to be at home. I love getting to interact with the community, with other Ace dealers, and my staff.” They have also been fortunate to have a great team at Tobinson Hardware, many of whom started there in high school. Their paint expert, Kara Marola, has been there twelve years. Lorene McIntyre
See upcoming events, browse our history & share your memories! Visit www.kish.edu/50th www.genoaareachamber.com
has worked at the store for nineteen years. They provide the kind of service you’ll only get in a small town. “If we don’t have it at Ace, we’ll find it somewhere else for them,” said McIntyre. “I have called competitors to see if they have something in stock for someone, because we want the customer to be happy.” People will come in sometimes and forget their wallet at home. They will write down what they’re taking and let them come back the next day to pay. And they’ve never been stiffed. Carolyn recently delivered an item to a customer in Kirkland who needed it after the store was closed. She drove it out there herself. “You can’t get that at Walmart,” said Carolyn Tobinson.
There have been some multiple recipients of the Dave Tobinson award over the years, including Carolyn Tobinson. “I asked to present the award so that I wouldn’t get it again,” said Tobinson. “It’s been really rewarding for me, because I get to be part of the decision process.” Cortney Strohacker, Executive Director of the Genoa Chamber of Commerce, said that Dave Tobinson, despite being mild-mannered and soft-spoken, was not afraid to lead and take risks, such as moving his business to a town of 3000 people. “I think that’s what we all want to emulate. And when we see that in other business people, we want them to be recognized.”
Dave Tobinson Award The Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce presents four main awards yearly. The big one goes to the Chamber member who truly stands out among all the members— someone who has done great things throughout the year and has helped to support and advance their mission. In 1994, that award was named the Dave Tobinson Award, after the Tobinson Ace Hardware owner. Carolyn Tobinson recalls her father being active in the community and serving at a lot of Chamber events. She remembers him one year being lifted up in the air on a pallet to help put up the Christmas decorations downtown on a Sunday morning, before the city took over that job from the Chamber.
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Kingston Mutual Insurance Company
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784-5657kingstonmutual.com (815)(815) 784-5657
420 W. MAIN ST. GENOA, ILLINOIS 60135
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GENOA AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
815.895.2125 | FirstMidwest.com
2018 Genoa Area Chamber M embership
Joe Misurelli touched the hearts and souls of the people who have had the pleasure of working with him through the years. He was a visionary as an administrator and was always working hard to make Genoa a better place. He will be truly missed.
Rest In Peace Joe.
B95 WDKB Radio 2201 N. 1st, DeKalb (815) 758-0950 • b95fm.com
Bethany Animal Hospital 2400 Bethany Rd., Sycamore (815) 756-8925 • bethanyvet.com
Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell 511 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-4582 • cbhonig-bell.com
Alan Browne Chevrolet 700 Pearson Dr., Genoa (815) 784-2511 • mychevy.biz
Banner Up Signs 1170 E. State St., Sycamore (815) 899-9211 • bannerupsigns.com
BonTer Solutions (847) 453-3290 • bontersolutions.com
Corner Grill on Main 137 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-2233 • corner-grill.com
All Natural Chiropractic 405 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-4455 • all-naturalchiro.com
Barnaby Printing Services 1620 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore (815) 895-6555 • barnaby.com
Accurate Towing 531 E. Sycamore St., Sycamore (815) 899-9200
All-Star Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. 1500 E. Lincoln Hwy., Ste. 3, DeKalb (815) 758-8585 • all-starheating.com Alpine Bank 306 W. Main St., Kirkland (815) 522-3322 • bankalpine.com American Family Insurance 119 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5554
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Becker Law Office 213 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-2695 Benzinger Printing 673 Park Ave., Genoa (815) 784-6560 • benzinger.com Beth Fowler School Of Dance 303 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5658 BethFowlerSchoolOfDance.Com
Caseys General Store 129 E. Railroad St., Kingston (815) 784-9040 • caseys.com Century 21 New Heritage II 120 W. Oak Knoll Dr., Hampshire (847) 683-2000 • newheritage.com City of Genoa 333 E. First St., Genoa (815) 784-2327 • genoa-il.com cmj Technologies 435 Borden Ave., Sycamore (815) 899-2468 • cmjtech.net
Country Financial 305 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-6688 Crossroads Community Church P.O. Box 334 • Genoa CrossWind Community Church 13100 Cherry Rd., Genoa (815) 784-5427 • genoafoursquare.org Crown Exteriors, Inc. 113 N. Genoa St., Ste. D, Genoa (815) 784-3003 • crownexteriors.net Crumpets 221 W. Main St., Genoa, IL 60135 (815) 784-6121 • crumpetsillinois.com
Custom Aluminum Products 312 Eureka St., Genoa, IL 60135 (847) 717-5500 custom-aluminum.com
Faith United Methodist Church 325 S. Stott St., Genoa (815) 784-5143 • genoafaithumc.org
DCCVB - DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau 111 S. 2nd St., Ste. 202, DeKalb (815) 756-1336 • dekalbcountycvb.com
Family Service Agency of DeKalb County, Inc. 14 Health Services Dr., DeKalb (815) 758-8616 • fsadekalbcounty.org
DeBenedetto’s Restaurant 414 W. Main St., Kirkland (815) 217-2282 • debenedetto.com
Faranda’s Banquet Center 302 Grove Street • DeKalb (815) 981-3304 • farandas.com
DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder 110 E. Sycamore St., 2nd Fl., Sycamore (815) 895-7142 dekalbcounty.org/coclerk
First Midwest Bank 601 Pearson Dr., Genoa (779) 382-7001 • firstmidwest.com
DeKalb County Community Foundation 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore (815) 748-5383 • dekalbccf.org DeKalb County Community Gardens (815) 793-0950 • dekalbgardens.org DeKalb County EDC 421 N. California St., Ste. 200 Building 1B, Sycamore (815) 895-2711 • dcedc.org DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore (815) 748-5383 dekalbcountypartners.org DeKalb County Veterans Assistance Commission 2500 N. Annie Glidden Rd., Ste. A DeKalb • (815) 756-8129 Dog Guard of Illinois 602 Sandra St., Kingston (815) 467-8134 • dogguardofil.com
Edward Jones - Financial Advisor Josh Kubiak 599 Pearson Dr., Ste. 2, Genoa (815) 784-3734 • edwardjones.com Elder Care Services 1701 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb (815) 758-6550 • ecsdekalb.org Emmaus Baptist Church (815) 784-9098
First National Bank 511 W. State St. • Sycamore (815) 991-9824 • fnbil.com Floor to Ceiling 2439 Bethany Road, Sycamore (815) 756-8575 • floortoceiling.com Forthright Financial Planning, LLC. 352 ½ W. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-8885 • ForthRightFP.net
Genoa Motors 231 Sycamore Rd., Genoa (815) 784-2600 • genoamotors.com Genoa Park District 400 E. Second St., Genoa (815) 784-5612 • genoaparks.com Genoa Pharmacy 228 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-2122 hampshirepharmacy.com Genoa Public Library 240 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-2627 • genoalibrary.org Genoa Smiles 619 E. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5166 • genoasmiles.com Genoa Super Wash 360 Sycamore Rd., Genoa (815) 784-4386 Genoa Veterans Home Corp. 311 S. Washington St., Genoa (815) 784-5967 • genoavetshome.us Genoa-Kingston CUSD #424 980 Park Ave., Genoa (815) 784-6222 • gkschools.org
G.K. Trailblazers (815) 761-7951 • gktrailblazers.com
Genoa-Kingston Education Foundation Genoa, IL 60135 (815) 757-4162 • gkedfoundation.org
Genoa Animal Hospital 703 Pearson Dr., Genoa (815) 784-6109 genoaanimialhospital.com
Genoa-Kingston Fire Department 317 Railroad, Genoa (815) 784-3412 • genoa-il.com
Genoa Auto Parts-Napa 330 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-4300 • napaonline.com Genoa Café 233 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-6647 Genoa Community Women’s Club (815) 761-0515 Genoa Fitness Center 333 E. First St., Genoa (815) 784-3488 • genoaparks.org Genoa Guest House, LLC 231 S. Sycamore, Genoa (815) 751-0703 • genoaguesthouse.com
Genoa-Kingston PTO Genoa • (630) 750-6640 Genoa-Kingston United Way, Inc. P.O. Box 5, Genoa (815) 784-6282 • gkunitedway.com Goodfellows of Genoa/Kingston P.O. Box 255, Genoa (847) 343-3984 • goodfellowscharity.org Gospel Life Bible Church (815) 501-4234 Greenlee - A Textron Company 702 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-8011 • greenlee.com
Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County P.O. Box 503 • DeKal (815) 758-5055 • hfhdcillinois.org Hauser Ross Eye Institute 1630 Gateway Dr., Sycamore (815) 756-8571 • Hauser-Ross.com Heartland Bank & Trust Services 327 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5101 • hbtbank.com Hendrik Stables 12757 Base Line Rd., Kingston (815) 970-1941 • hendrikstables.com Herb/o/logy (815) 739-0139 herb-o-logy.myshopify.com Herron & Co. Barbers 113 N. Genoa St., Ste. A, Genoa (779) 382-0543 herronandcobarbers.com Hill’s Tap 319 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5982 • hillstap.com Hobnobbers Food & Spirits 2030 Baron Dr., Sycamore (815) 991-5775 hobnobbersresturant.com Hoffman Realty, LLC 535 Babson Rd., Monroe Center (815) 522-3255 • hoffman-realty.com Home Town Storage 405 S. Hadsall, Genoa (815) 355-7271 • htsitsakeeper.com Hurley and Volk Orthodontics 895 S. State St., Hampshire (847) 289-8800 • hurleyvolkortho.com
Illinois Community Credit Union 508 W. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-4541 • myiccu.org
J6 Polymers 601 Derby Line Rd., Genoa (815) 517-1179 • j6polymers.com
Jeffrey Caron Optometry 318 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-6480
Law Office of Paula Rieghns, Ltd. 203 W. Grant Hwy., Marengo (815) 901-2273 • rieghnslaw.com
Kar-Fre Flowers 1126 E. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-6558 • karfre.com
LawnWorks P.O. Box 384, Genoa (815) 784-6309
Karlsbad Tavern 413 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-6336 karlsbadtaverngenoa.com
The Lincoln Inn Resturant 240 East Lincoln Hwy. • DeKalb (815) 756-2345 • thelincolninn.com
Katherine M. Photography Sycamore • (815) 757-3018 katherinephotography.com Kingston American Legion Willard Aves Post 1010 Kingston Mutual Insurance Company 420 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-5657 • kingstonmutual.com Kishwaukee College 21193 S. Malta Rd., Malta (815) 825-2086 • kish.edu Kishwaukee Education Consortium 21255 Malta Rd., P.O. Box 263, Malta (815) 825-2000 • kecprograms.com Kishwaukee Family YMCA 2500 W. Bethany Rd., Sycamore (815) 756-9577 • kishymca.org Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra P.O. Box 310, DeKalb (815) 756-3728 • kishorchestra.org Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society 622 Park Ave., Genoa (815) 784-5559 Kishwaukee Valley Wanderers Genoa • (815) 761-4660 Knights of Columbus Hampshire • (847) 987-1989 Krueger & Associates, Ltd. 103 N. State St. • Hampshire (847) 683-2500 • Kruegertax.com
Lindgren Power, LLC (815) 703-8531 • lindgrenpower.com Liquor ‘n’ Wine 540 E. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-9780 • liquornwine.net Lloyd Landscaping and Garden Center 662 Park Ave., Genoa (779) 382-0402 lloydlandscaping.com Lynn’s Carpet Cleaning, Inc. P.O. Box 271, Genoa (815) 784-3385 lynnscarpetcleaning.com
Marc’s Lawn Service, LLC 502 N. Main St., Ste. 2, Sycamore (815) 739-7818 marcslawnservice.com Mark Carlson - State Farm Insurance Agency 318 W. Main St., #1, Genoa (815) 784-3337 • statefarm.com Midwest Tents & Events 300 W. Lincoln Hwy., Ste. 1 Cortland • (877) 388-8368 rentmidwesttents.com Morning Star Media 240 Edwards St., Sycamore (815) 899-0150 morningstarmediagroup.com
Northern Illinois University 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb (815) 753-0916 • niu.edu
Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce
Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 540 E. Main St., Ste. 5, Genoa (815) 784-6417 • northernrehabpt.com Northwestern Medicine One Kish Hospital Dr., DeKalb (815) 756-1521 • nm.org Northwestern Medicine Genoa 599 Pearson Dr., Genoa (815) 784-6437 • nm.org Northwestern Medicine Physical Therapy Genoa 599 Pearson Dr., Genoa (815) 784-2100 • nm.org Norwex Genoa • (815) 784-2807 amykuhn.norwex.biz Nutra Metrix Kingston • (815) 970-3385 Nutrametrix.com
Olson Funeral & Cremation Services, Cooper-Quiram Chapel 1245 Somonauk St., Sycamore (815) 784-2518 • olsonfh.com Olympia Chiropractic 1680 Mediterranean Dr., Sycamore (815) 899-6061 olympicchiroandpt.com OPG DeKalb, Inc. P.O. Box 33, Cortland (815) 501-0705
Pete’s Castle/Marathon 104 W. Main St., Genoa, IL 60135 (847) 683-2188 Pleasant Hill Construction, Inc. 29439 Pleasant Hill Rd., Kingston (850) 685-7113 pleasanthillconstructioninc.com Prairie State Winery 222 W. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-4540 prairiestatewinery.com Profit Partners Consulting, Inc. (815) 217-5420
R Hansel & Son Company 221 N. Sycamore, Genoa (815) 784-5500 Ralfie’s BBQ and Catering Oregon • (815) 757-0275 Raynor Door Authority 9450 Forest Hill Rd., Loves Park (815) 654-0310 Red Farm Antiques 6199 Wolf Rd., Kingston (715) 493-2344 Re/Max Classic 514 E. Main St., Genoa (815) 784-2800 • eshometeam.com Resource Bank 310 Hwy. 23, Genoa (815) 784-8301 • resourcebank.com
Paparazzi Kingston • (815) 988-9434 paparazziaccessories.com/72078
Responsive Roofing 221 W. Lincoln Hwy., Ste C., DeKalb (815) 901-8860 responsiveroofing.com
Parties with Character Sycamore • (815) 762-3653 partieswithcharacter.me
Rick Amato States Attorney Sycamore • (815) 739-1840 amatoforstatesattorney.com
Paulsen Appliance 245 W. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-6373 paulsenappliance.com
Rivers’ Mexican Cantina and Grill 407 Sycamore Rd., Ste, #9, Genoa (815) 784-2017
Pest Control Consultants 1100 W. 2nd St. Dixon, IL 61021 (815) 284-4101 • pccil.com
S&A Maintenance Services, Inc. 610 W. Second St., Genoa (815) 784-8416 sandamaintenance.com
Safe Passage P.O. Box 621, DeKalb (815) 756-7930 • safepassagedv.org Senator Dave Syverson 555 S. Perryville Rd., Rockford (815) 381-0006 sentatordavesyverson.com Service Concepts, Inc. 404 S. Centre Dr., Genoa (815) 784-4100 serviceconceptsinc.com Servpro of DeKalb County 515 5th Ave., Rochelle (815) 758-3900 • servpro.com Seyller’s, Inc. P.O. Box 158, Genoa (815) 784-3724 • seyllers.com Shaw Media 1586 Barber Greene Rd., DeKalb (815) 756-4841 • daily-chronicle.com Slater-Butala Funeral Home 132 W. Main, Genoa (815) 784-5191 butalafuneralhomes.com Slingerland & Clark, P.C. 499 E. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-5141 slingerlandandclark.com
St. Catherine’s Catholic Church 340 S. Stott St., Genoa (815) 784-2355 st-catherine-genoa.org State Representative Robert Pritchard Sycamore • (815) 748-3494 pritchardstaterep.com Studio 815 701 Pearson Dr., Ste. 3 • Genoa (815) 355-0480 studio815genoa.business.site Sweet Dream Deserts and Catering 1969 DeKalb Ave., Ste. B Sycamore • (815) 756-8150 sweetdreamdesserts.com Sycamore Integrated Health 920 W. Prairie Dr., Ste. J., Sycamore • (815) 895-3354 sycamoreintegratedhealth.com Sycamore Park District 940 E. State St., Sycamore (815) 895-3365 sycamoreparkdistrict.com Sycamore Precision Machine 334 E. First St., Genoa (815) 784-5151 sycamoreprecision.com
T. Allen & Associates, LLC 502 E. Main St., Genoa, IL 60135 (815) 784-6547 • tallencpa.com The Copper Cow, Inc. 6465 Cherry Valley Rd., Kingston (815) 222-5278 The Gracie Center P.O. Box 277, Kingston (815) 884-0842 • thegraciecenter.org Theisen Roofing 1122 Pleasant St., P.O. BOX 641 DeKalb • (815) 758-8998 theisenroofing.com Thirty-One Genoa • (847) 815-1553 mythirtyone.com/kristidunn Tobinson Ace Hardware 361 Sycamore Rd., Genoa (815) 784-6004 • acehardware.com Trinity Lutheran Church 33930 N. State Rd., Genoa (815) 784-2522 • tlcgenoa.org Tuff Services, Inc. P.O. Box 263, Sycamore (815) 995-7878
Village of Kingston 101 E. Railroad St., Kingston (815) 784-5572 villageofkingston.org Voluntary Action Center 1606 Bethany Rd., Sycamore (815) 758-3932 • vacdk.com
Wakoh Wear, Inc. 673 Park Ave., Genoa (815) 784-2734 • wakohwear.com Walcamp Outdoor Ministeries 32653 Five Points Rd., Kingston (815) 784-5141 • walcamp.org Walnut Street Daycare Center 201 Walnut St., Genoa (815) 784-2223 walnutstreetdaycare.com White Pony Woodworks Kingston • (847) 204-1346 WLBKFM98.9/ AM1360,WSQRFM93.5/AM1180 2410 Sycamore Rd., DeKalb (815) 748-1000 x201 wlbkradio.com
Your Graphix, Inc. (815) 762-1837 • your-graphix.com
Alan Browne Chevy..............................................................................24
Hurley & Volk Orthodontics.................................................................11
American Family Insurance - Manuel Pena.........................................23
Kingston Mutual Insurance..................................................................18
Bethany Animal Hospital.......................................................................6
Century 21- New Heritage...................................................................11
Northwestern Medicine - Kishwaukee Hospital....................................5
Country Financial - David Gingerich......................................................6
First Midwest Bank..............................................................................18
Genoa Auto - Napa Auto....................................................................17
Genoa Guest House.............................................................................11
State Farm - Mark Carlson....................................................................5
Tobinson’s Ace Hardware.....................................................................18
Trinity Lutheran Church.......................................................................16
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Published on Mar 5, 2018