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Fagen Pharmacy • The Flower Cart • McShane’s Business Products & Solutions • Skinny Britches Nutrition • United Way of Porter County • South Bend Airport • Fifth Third Bank • Kramer & Leonard • Pet Supplies Plus • Ozinga Brothers • Lithographic Communications • Peoples Bank • Tauber Law Offices • Westland, Kramer & Bennett • Burke, Costanza and Carberry • Bedroom City • Inspiration Fitness • HealthLinc • Popa Heating & Cooling • CK Building and Design • Cook Builders • Marina Shores • HBA of NWI • It’s Just Serendipity • Page Family Hearing • Welch’s Stop & Shop • Amatulli & Associates • Schilling Lumber • Cliff’s Heating, Refrigeration and A/C • Round the Clock • Center for Otolaryngology • Vyto’s Pharmacy • Highland Jewelers • Coach USA • McMahon & Associates • Salvation Army • Austgen Companies • Dawn Collins, Century 21 Executive Realty • Elmwood Funeral Chapel • Embassy Place • GNIAR • Villa Cesare • Cover-Rite Carpet & Design Center • Fagen Pharmacy • The Flower Cart • McShane’s Business Products & Solutions • Skinny Britches Nutrition • United Way of Porter County • South Bend Airport • Fifth Third Bank • Kramer & Leonard • Pet Supplies Plus • Ozinga Brothers • Lithographic Communications • Peoples Bank • Tauber Law Offices • Westland, Kramer & Bennett • Burke, Costanza and Carberry • Bedroom City • Inspiration Fitness • HealthLinc • Popa Heating & Cooling • CK Building and Design • Cook Builders • Marina Shores • HBA of NWI • It’s Just Serendipity • Page Family Hearing • Welch’s Stop & Shop • Amatulli & Associates • Schilling Lumber • Cliff’s Heating, Refrigeration and A/C • Round the Clock • Center for Otolaryngology • Vyto’s Pharmacy • Highland Jewelers • Coach USA • McMahon & Associates • Salvation Army • Austgen Companies • Dawn Collins, Century 21 Executive Realty • Elmwood Funeral Chapel • Embassy Place • GNIAR • Villa Cesare • Cover-Rite Carpet & Design Center • Fagen Pharmacy • The Flower Cart • McShane’s Business Products & Solutions • Skinny Britches Nutrition • United Way of Porter County • South Bend Airport • Fifth Third • Tauber

Schilling provides everything you need to create your dream home


tarted in 1945, Schilling has provided Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland with the means to build great residential homes and projects for over 65 years. We strive to give our customers an amazing experience with Schilling by offering solid advice, quality products and a neighborly attitude. Schilling is growing exponentially adding new services, refreshed showrooms, and quality products each year. They specialize in Kitchen & Bath, Windows & Doors, Flooring, Decking & Outdoor Living, Mouldings & Millwork, Lumber, Hardware and more. Schilling has a large set of in stock products that include cabinets, flooring, decking, and much more. Unlike other stores in the region, you can go into Schilling and order all new kitchen cabinetry and have it to your house within 24 hours through the in stock program they have in place. Schilling has been helping new home builders and developers for many

years and has proven they continue to innovate and offer the best experience possible. Schilling has had the chance to branch into more companies such as Schilling Development. Schilling Development is a multigeneration developer in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana dating to the 1890s. Schilling Development has developed numerous properties including current developments Rosewood Estates, Crossing Creek, Estates of Wellington and Peninsula point in St. John. Completed developments include Weston Ridge, Schillton Hills, Louis Estates and Timberland Estates in St. John. Schilling Development has numerous future developments throughout Lake and Porter counties in communities such as Crown Point, St. John, Chesterton, Cedar Lake, Lowell, Merrillville, Winfield and Valparaiso. These developments consist of singlefamily, multi-family, commercial and mixed use properties.

2 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014



Skinny Britches helps customers change their lives


ook no further than Michelle Morris of Skinny Britches for proof that a simple change in what you eat can change your life forever. Skinny Britches, a healthy meal replacement club in Schererville, works to change people’s lives by providing the tools to make a lifestyle change that is not only fun, but lasts. Morris knows this herself, having lost 12 percent of her body fat, more than 25 pounds of weight and 2 pants sizes in 14 months. And the method couldn’t be easier, she says. For $6, patrons can start off their day with a shot of aloe, a 16-ounce tea and a 20-ounce shake. “For people who stop in the morning at McDonald’s or Starbucks, they’re getting food that’s high in sodium and calories, and food that’s bad for you,” Morris says. Instead, a shot of aloe at Skinny Britches has many benefits, from helping the body absorb nutrients, combating acid reflux, improving skin conditions and more. A tea then helps provide energy and boosts metabolism.

good nutrition in your body and you stop eating the bad stuff out there.” Not only does bloating disappear, Morris says morning energy heightens. “You’re not so tired you want to hit the snooze button 10 times,” she says. “I never hit the snooze button and I’ve been doing this for 14 months.” Meals typically keep a person fullfeeling for at least three to five hours, depending on that person’s metabolism, she says. “We don’t call it a diet or weight loss program,” Morris says. “It’s a healthier way of living because you’re putting good nutrition in your body.” While some customers’ goals are to TONY V. MARTIN lose weight, others want to gain weight by building muscle or simply maintain Brett Morris, Tiffanie Whitescarver (manager), their look, she says. Michelle Morris (owner) and Bryce Morris. “I can say for the team I have, we’re very passionate about helping people The 20-ounce shake, which is considered a meal replacement, is full of reach their goals and have fun doing that,” Morris says. vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients The store’s science-based products and fiber for weight management, she help customers look and feel great while says. maintaining their weight. Sports and “If you come into the club three fitness products support recovery and consecutive days, you would feel a performance through good nutrition for cleanse,” Morris says. “You’re putting

those who are more focused on energy and fitness, she says. “And then we carry supplements for all different things, whether it’s to boost your immunity, to help people who get urinary tract infections, circulation, prostate health, allergies or to provide supplements for women going through menopause,” Morris says. In addition to supplements and shakes, Skinny Britches also offers other health food items such as meal replacement bars, protein bars, Lift-Off (which provides energy) and skin and hair care products. Interested in these products, but don’t have time to stop in the morning? Morris says not to worry. Skinny Britches’ products are available to order for home and make on your own time whenever you choose to use them. Make no mistake, however — going to the club provides much more. “We have a fun environment,” Morris says. “People who come here in the morning, we call them the breakfast club — three, four or five people at a time who share their weight loss stories and goals and have fun.”



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September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 3


Peoples Bank Chief Operating Officer Benjamin Bochnowski cuts the ribbon during a celebration of the First Federal bank reopening as a Peoples Bank in downtown Hammond.

People’s commitment to “You First Banking” makes a positive impact


s a community bank, Peoples Bank is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northwest Indiana. Years ago, the corporate office introduced the brand promise “You First Banking” to describe the tradition of service that employees have embraced for more than 100 years. “My great grandfather established the bank in 1910 to help immigrants buy homes,” Benjamin Bochnowski, Peoples Bank executive vice president and chief operating officer, says. “Just as he was committed to providing customers with exceptional value and an unparalleled banking experience so they could achieve their goals, we are dedicated to fulfilling the very same responsibilities to our shareholders, customers, employees and communities with ‘You First Banking.’” A fourth generation banker, Ben Bochnowski is a member of the leadership team committed to the future of Peoples bank. “We are in growth mode,” he says. “We have the resources and people in place to grow with the community.” With a deep sense of pride, Bochnowski recalls when his father (David A. Bochnowski, Peoples Bank chairman, president and chief executive officer) would point out the homes, buildings and developments Peoples Bank helped make possible for the people and businesses of Northwest Indiana. “I learned from a very early age that it’s important to understand your customers, but it’s another thing to understand their

4 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

needs,” he adds. “People connect to the community when they buy a home to raise a family and grow old. Customer service is the number one key to being successful, and it all starts with understanding why people walk in the door in the first place. Understanding their financial needs and goals and then partnering with them to achieve those goals – that’s what it’s all about.” Working to bring people closer to their financial goals, Peoples Bank is dedicated to introducing new products that better meet the needs of their customers while investing in technology that will continue to empower them to bank how and where they want. A public company since 1984, Bochnowski emphasizes the leadership team’s mission to always create value for each and every one of Peoples Bank stakeholders. The recent acquisition of First Federal in Hammond, which expands Peoples’ retail network to 14 offices in Lake and Porter counties, is a prime example. “I’m extremely proud of the entire Peoples team for what they accomplished with this merger. This was a very unique transaction, and with no cash, stock or other consideration paid, it is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2014,” he says. “Just as importantly, this merger reinforces our strong partnership in the community. We are excited about what we can offer the former First Federal customers, and look forward to growing our banking center network for all Peoples Bank customers.”


Cook Builders: Making the American Dream a reality for 40 years


true leader in the local building industry, Richard Cook has been committed to custom building since he started remodeling homes in 1974. A longtime member and past president of the Northwest Indiana Home Builders Association (HBA), he was one of the first to become a Certified Green Professional through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) program, which was introduced in 2008. “Our ultimate goal has always been to provide a home that is equally as beautiful as it is comfortable,” he says. “Many people don’t realize that you can incorporate green, energy-conscious building practices that improve comfort while reducing gas and electric consumption without significantly driving up the cost of construction by making the right choices.” As the company’s list of clients

hand-selected team of homebuilding experts were honored to be the builder of choice for their clients’ friends and families. The best part, according to Cook, is the fact that every home is custom, including the company’s more affordable homes. “People like new homes — it’s still the American dream,” he says. “We work hard with and for our homeowners, and it seems to work out well for everyone. The fact that we are able to build such a wide range of homes for people with such varying incomes is an indicator of TONY V. MARTIN, THE TIMES that fact.” Just as Cook Builders remains steadfast in its commitment to build grew, it wasn’t long before a handful homes that are beautiful, solid and of them asked Cook Builders to design efficient, Rich Cook is dedicated and build their next home. As a result, the company earned a stellar reputation to maintaining an open line of communication with each client. for building high-end custom homes “As a true custom home builder, we throughout Northwest Indiana. Then, as they focused more and more go the extra mile to meet all the unique on new construction, Rich Cook and his needs of every individual client,” Cook

explained. “Building a home can be a pretty daunting process, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. We’re finding our new online portal that shows what’s going on at every point to be a very big help. It guides our homeowners along, every step of the way, and once they see that screen full of big green checks, it’s a huge relief.” Currently building luxury homes in Munster (Community Estates), Crown Point (Ellendale Farm and Feather Rock) and St. John (Three Springs and Lake Hills), Cook Builders is also in the process of completing an entire street in Dyer’s Emerald Crossing. “I would have to say we are busier than we ever have been right now,” Cook says. “We have a model open from 12-4pm on Saturday and Sunday in Emerald Crossing where we can build a completely custom home starting in the $250s (maintenance-free cottage homes start in the $220s).

We vow to value the customer as an important partner, to communicate thoroughly throughout the entire project, and to provide customer service that people can brag about. We wanted to create an ambiance where people don’t want to leave, and this house has done that. The house is really us, our lifestyle; it’s all we wanted and ten times more.

-Pete & Jill


September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 5

Success stories encourage results at Inspiration Fitness


hen it comes to weight loss, personal health and fitness, there are countless websites and social media posts from people ready and willing to share their very own version of the secret to success. Angela Ramos admits she fell victim to a number of the confusing and conflicting posts she read online. “Following the birth of my fourth child, I took a look in the mirror and wasn’t happy with what I saw. My weight had slowly climbed to 200 pounds,” she explained. “I was a stayat-home mom, and I was overweight. I knew it was going to take the right combination of diet and exercise to reach my goal. Along the way, I discovered that the workout part is actually the easy part, it’s what goes on inside your head that is the biggest battle.” While she started off strong, Ramos struggled once her results stalled. “My transformation took one year, and about half way through, I hit that dreaded plateau,” she explained. “That’s when I discovered a forum

The owner of Inspiration Fitness, Inc., Angela Ramos, creates exercise programs to help her clients reach their individualized fitness goals.

quickly,” she explained. “Our first rented space was at Camp LRCA, then we moved onto the Crown Point Square. Three summers ago we moved to a 2,400-sq-ft warehouse on North Street, and two summers ago we expanded that space to 5,000-sq-ft. To date, we’ve helped more than 300 people transform their bodies and achieve their health and fitness goals with step-by-step advice and team PROVIDED coaching. Our success is built on goal setting and personal coaching.” As part of her personal journey and business plan, Ramos is a RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified) Trainer, certified online where a group of top fitness by ISSA (International Sports Sciences pros had come together to share their Association) as a Certified Fitness success stories. I jumped right in and told them my story. While I had sought Trainer, certified as a Specialist in Scientific Back Training by C.H.E.K. outside help online before, this time was different. They took me under their Institute (Corrective Holistic Exercise wing, and I was able to achieve my goal. Kinesiology Institute), a Youth Fitness I told them that I wanted to do this for Specialist with IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association), other people and they helped me get NCCPT (National Council for Certified started.” Personal Trainers) Yoga Instructor and Ramos started Inspiration Fitness in CPR certified. the basement of her home just 8 years In 2011, she was asked to join her ago. fitness mentors and write a chapter on “I started small but grew rather

“Kettlebells for Women’s Fat Loss” for the group’s best-selling book, 3 steps to Your Best Body in Record Time: America’s Leading Fitness Experts Reveal the Proven 3-Step System to the Body You Always Wanted . . . in Minimum Time. “They are still my mentors today, we still get together at least six or seven times every year to catch up with one another, and now I am a mentor as well,” Ramos said. “One thing that many people are surprised to see when they come to Inspiration Fitness is the fact that most of my team members have been clients. Just as I can tell them my story of how I was overweight myself, my team members can be very motivating as well. Unlike a majority of personal trainers who have been athletes all their lives, or have never been overweight, my coaches have been where my clients are. We’re 100 percent involved in the transformation process and even have a 100 percent results guarantee – give us 12 weeks, just 90 days, and we’ll give you a new healthy, terrific looking body that gets noticed and makes you proud.”

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1940 E. North Street, Crown Point Behind Westphal’s Heating and Air A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TIMES MEDIA CO.

CK Building and Design: It all starts with a blank slate


edicated to the promise of delivering new homes that reflect the personal design choices and dreams of their owners, CK Building & Design is also committed to investment protection. “We build homes families can enjoy for generations to come and take great pride in crafting affordable, efficient, innovative and fully customized homes,” owner Cory Kreith explains. “Buying someone else’s house always involves compromise. When it comes to new homes, people want the freedom and flexibility to build where and what they want. Our insight and passion allow us to create their personal dream home at a price and quality level that is second to none.” While there are many builders producing good quality homes for what they consider a fair price, CK Building & Design strives to give clients more. “A lot of people questioned my decision to open a homebuilding company at the height of the housing downturn,” Kreith explains. “But I saw an opportunity to redefine quality, service and experience in the building industry. I saw a need for more progressive and advanced building techniques, higher efficiencies through careful planning and design, responsible building practices including energy efficiency and green building, responsible corporate practices like reducing paper and utilizing advanced technology as well as providing clients with a ‘no surprises’ sense of being during construction.” Choosing Crown Point as the base for his company, the second-generation homebuilder with more than two decades of hands-on experience got busy. To date, Kreith, who earned a degree from Butler University followed by the Graduate Master Builder designation from the National Association of Home Builders (he is one of just two local builders to hold this prestigious NAHB accreditation), has built an impressive portfolio of top-rated energy efficient homes throughout Lake County. “Referrals have been the heart of my business since day one,” he says. “I have had the good fortune to work with a great group of extraordinary clients to help shape their visions. After spending so

much time with them, I am proud to say they are now like family.” Starting with a relaxed, collaborative environment, Kreith listens carefully to his clients as they describe their lifestyle and outline their wants and needs in a home. Then, using state-of-the-art 3D design software, he customizes and prices their plan, making revisions until they are completely thrilled with the design and comfortable with the budget. “Together we can add or subtract square footage, move walls and change the exterior look,” he says. “The

A Special publication of the Times Media Co.

possibilities are virtually endless, and the pricing is always included so you know what the actual cost will be to add a bedroom, extend the master walk-in closet or change the flooring,

countertops and cabinetry. The fact that I’m going to build a home designed exclusively for you – not something everybody else has – is what really sets me apart.”

September 28, 2014 | NWI Businesses You Should Know | 7

Coach USA takes customers where they need to go


800.248.8747 8 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

ake a look at Coach USA and—you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Mike Alvich, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, is enthusiastic talking about the company he has seen grow exponentially over the years. He explains traveling by bus today just isn’t the same experience it was years ago. “These are really comfortable buses, they’re handicap accessible, and they leave a smaller carbon footprint.” Alvich is in a position to compare the bus rides of yesteryear with today’s modern travel by bus. He’s been in the transportation business since 1964, having worked for an airline, the NYC Transit Authority, riding the subway and buses of his native New York City. Millions of Americans share his delight that bus travel has returned to a robust industry providing hassle-free and very affordable transportation. Coach USA is a family of 25 bus companies in the U.S. Probably familiar to many in Indiana is Coach USA’s Airport Supersaver service operating daily, express bus services from: Notre Dame, Michigan City, South Bend, Portage, Highland and Crestwood, Illinois to O’Hare and Midway Airports. “One of Coach USA’s services, called, has been the fastestgrowing, newest and most unique in the Coach USA network,” says Alvich. is a 21st century city-tocity express bus service offering free wifi, power outlets with fares from $1 plus a reservation fee on double decker buses to 120 destinations in the USA. “We launched in 2006 and we’ve served almost 40 million customers since then.” People using Coach USA’s buses around the USA are traveling for many different reasons: to get to and from airports, for leisure reasons, sightseeing, commuting to work, going to college, visiting friends and family and for business trips. But why choose bus travel? Coach USA buses are less expensive than many other modes of transportation, with comfortable, reclining window and aisle seats. An important consideration for many travelers is the ability to reduce pollution and its impact on people and the planet, as Coach USA has improved the fuel efficiency of its fleet even more. Most travelers experience a sense of relief as they take their comfortable seat and dive into a book, a work project,

music, use their cellphone or iPad or gratefully sleep while the professional driver gets them to their destination. Motorists can get weary of driving the same route, whether it’s just to work or an extended trip. Many report how wonderful it is to be able to really see the places they’re traveling through, and of having the choice to do something else rather than hang on to the wheel. “Americans love to travel. We can make it possible for them to travel at low prices; it’s very rewarding to know you can provide a quality, affordable service that’s really helpful to people,” says Alvich. He’s quick to point out that the company has a long history of providing fun and entertaining travel options. “Groups of people who share the same interest love traveling this way; they can charter a Coach USA bus and have fun, socialize, be able to stop and have a meal together, without all the hassle of comparing schedules and routes. They appreciate that our charter and tour department organizers are experts.” Coach USA buses are a modern fleet of clean and comfortable motorcoaches, with the industry’s best and most experienced drivers. All of Coach USA’s buses are fully ADA-compliant, committed to providing accessible transportation service to customers with special requirements. “Everyone has room to relax.” In addition to Coach USA’s Indiana Airport Supersaver bus services, in the Midwest, Coach USA runs airport services from Wisconsin to O’Hare, Airport”—and visitors to Chicago enjoy Coach USA’s Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Bus sightseeing line. Tour packages to Disneyland and Sea World in California are also popular on Coach USA’s Gray Line Southern California’s Tours services as are buses between Anaheim and Los Angeles International and John Wayne Airports. In Alvich’s hometown of New York City, Coach USA’s buses provide sightseeing tours and transportation to Newark Airport in addition to the fleet of buses providing daily commuter services. “Transportation has been my life’s work, yet I’ve been fascinated to see that you could successfully introduce a brand-new bus service into the market, like, a total innovation in transportation It has been one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had. And it continues to grow resulting in the creation of a thousand new jobs at Coach USA.”



The Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana gives customers the house of their dreams


he Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana (HBA of NWI), a not-for-profit trade association, is the result of a consolidation in January 2011 of the Building Industries Association of Northwest Indiana (chartered in 1954) and the Porter County Builders Association (chartered in 1974). The noteworthy history of this Association is reflected in the leadership of the top builders and developers in Northwest Indiana, along with the participation and support of thousands of associate members representing various trades and businesses. The members of HBA of NWI have been at the forefront of the creation of a multitude of developments in both counties, with a focus on providing the residents of Northwest Indiana with affordable, quality housing. “Our members are proud to be working in the homebuilding industry,” executive officer Vicky Gadd says. “For many people, owning a home equals achieving the American Dream. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of that.” Over the years the Association has produced many successful Parade of Homes tours, showcasing the latest in homebuilding, and Home & Garden (now Home & Lifestyle) Shows, featuring homebuilding and home improvement products and ideas. Thousands of visitors attend these events annually. The National Association of Home Builders reports that constructing 100

new homes creates more than 300 fulltime jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. A healthy housing industry means more jobs, a stronger economy and a larger property tax base to support local schools and communities. For most Americans, homeownership is still the single best long-term investment and a primary source of wealth and financial security. Yet, a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, stability and security. The Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana is dedicated to promoting, protecting and strengthening the local homebuilding market for those who work within it and those who desire a home to call their own. HBA of NWI offers memberships to builders, remodelers and associated building professionals. Our associate members include, brick and stone, insurance, window, appliance, HVAC, and lumber companies as well as many more trades and service providers associated with homebuilding. Membership includes membership in the Indiana Builders Association (IBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). There are many benefits to membership in HBA of NWI; you will find information about joining at or call Vicky Gadd at 888-812-9099.


The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.

—Abraham Lincoln

Owning a home is truly the cornerstone of the American way of life.

Members of the Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana are dedicated to promoting the American Dream of home ownership in Northwest Indiana.


See our membership directory at for builders, remodelers and members providing products and services for home building and remodeling.

Are you a building professional? Help support & protect your profession and the American Dream. Join today! 888-812-9099

800 East 86th Ave., Suite A Merrillville, IN 46410

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 9

Flower Cart is blooming in Porter County


10 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

ince 1976, the Flower Cart has been bringing fresh flowers, gifts, and candies to the region and they are blooming everywhere in downtown Chesterton and Valparaiso. They first began business in downtown Porter and in 1980 purchased a location Chesterton on 8th Street. In 2009 they built their current location on Calumet Avenue in downtown Chesterton, quickly outgrew the space, and so in 2012 expanded their fudge factory and candy store into a space next door called Sweetville. They also purchased a house behind the Chesterton store for further expansion. Three years ago, Flower Cart expanded into their Valparaiso location called Boutique in Bloom by Flower Cart and they will once again expand to the storefront next door in Valpo’s vibrant downtown. Raymond Brickner, who owns the business with his brother Steve Brickner, says, “In September we will double our square footage in the heart of downtown Valpo, right across from the Central Park Plaza. We are adding our fresh flower service to the community, offering a fully-operational florist. Our businesses in Valparaiso will now be called Flower Cart in Valparaiso, and Boutique in Bloom by Flower Cart. We will have a card store and gifts, along with fresh flowers, plants, and deliveries and we will add a homemade fudge counter and chocolates by Sweetville in this location. We will also feature our ‘store within a store’ of Troll Beads and have added the line ‘X by Troll Beads’. We will have a ‘store within a store’ of Spartina purses and jewelry, which is a popular new line from the Hilton Head Island coastal area of South Carolina. We will also be adding a Thymes ‘store within a store’ to offer their luxurious bath, body and home fragrance products. Our Kameleon jewelry is expanding there as well.” Brickner says that the growth has allowed them to grow their product lines but also their services as well. “This expansion will allow us to handle more weddings and even corporate events. We have hired someone to manage this part of our business, Jenny Wallace, who has been in the wedding industry for years. She will be in charge of our corporate and Chamber services, weekly flower deliveries to business, and the growing Bridal Division of our business,” he says.


Owner Raymond Brickner at Flower Cart, with locations in Chesterton and Valparaiso.

“WE ARE ADDING OUR FRESH FLOWER SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY, OFFERING A FULLYOPERATIONAL FLORIST.” RAYMOND BRICKNER Why did the Brickners choose to build their business into the Valpo community? Raymond says, “Just like Chesterton has been very good to us and the people have supported us, so too do the people of Valpo. Our stores fit well within Valpo’s downtown brick and mortar stores and Valpo has a very similar feel to Chesterton on a larger scale. It’s a similar environment. Plus, we were able to get one of the best, if not the best, corners in downtown Valpo after the prior business decided to move. It really will serve us well, being right across from Central Park Plaza. It’s a vibrant fit for our business, especially since Valparaiso is developing. It’s a great place for us to grow. It’s exciting to see what happens every year in Valpo and it’s the same with us!”


Expert legal advice and representation is all in the family at Tauber Law


hett Tauber has been an attorney since 1974. Passionate about the law, clients rely on him to handle personal injury litigation, probate and estate planning, corporate law, municipal law, real estate, business transactions and general civil litigation. First appointed to represent the School Town of Highland in 1978, Tauber was also asked to represent the Town of Highland in 1981. Since then, these annual appointments have been renewed every year with the exception of just 4 years for the School Board and 2 years for the Town. “Early in my career, I was involved in the landmark case of Doe v. Renfrow while representing the School Town of Highland, which I successfully argued before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals,” he said. “I am proud to say that this case continues to be recognized as legal precedent today.” Impressed by both the unique daily challenges and great opportunities to help people, Tara and Jared Tauber followed in their father’s footsteps, earning J.D. degrees at Valparaiso University in 2006 and 2007 respectively. “I was a teacher for six years, primarily

Rhett, Tara and Jared Tauber in the Lake Central school district, before I even thought about the possibility of going to law school,” Tara explained. “Although I didn’t start down this

– Hebron, Lake Station, Griffith and Highland – my practice includes personal injury, family and juvenile law, estate planning and probate, civil litigation, real estate and adoption, where I take great pride in being able to share the joy of my own experience with others.” “When I graduated from the IU Kelley School of Business, I knew two things: I wanted to help people, and I wanted to go to work every day and have something different to do,” Jared added. “It wasn’t long before I decided to enter the legal field where I could provide a wide array of services to individuals and corporations alike. I enjoy helping clients from a variety of backgrounds find the best solutions for each unique case, whether it’s a personal injury case, probate, litigation, real estate, business transaction or criminal matter.” Since establishing Tauber Law Offices in 2012, the trio has formed a comfortable PROVIDED partnership. “It’s been amazing to have Rhett as our professional mentor,” Tara and Jared agreed. “It’s our honor to work side-bypath, I realized there was only so much side with him, serving a great legacy of I could do in certain family situations longtime clients and word-of-mouth as a teacher. Now, along with the work referrals.” we do representing four school districts

Generations of Experience. Personal Service. Family Values. At Tauber Law Offices we treat you like family. Because we are one. The two generations of attorneys in the Tauber family have over a half century of combined experience, serving Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas. Our practice areas include: Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Probate Administration, Adoption, Family Law, Commercial and Business Law, Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Criminal Law. If you are in need of strong legal support and representation from an experienced Indiana attorney, please call 219-865-6666, or contact us by secure e-mail today.


A Full Service firm serving NW Indiana. 1415 Eagle Ridge Drive Schererville, IN • 219.865.6666 • A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TIMES MEDIA CO.

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 11

Popa Heating and Cooling delivers comfort


at Popa takes great pride in both the products and service provided by the family-owned and operated business she’s personally been a part of since 1986. Serving the community since 1968, Popa Heating and Cooling has grown from a hometown sheet metal shop that focused on new construction to a fullservice provider of new/replacement residential and light commercial HVAC systems. They also offer system maintenance and repair with qualified technicians who Popa provides with extensive training classes and FBI background checks for customer peace of mind. “It’s no secret that HVAC equipment is always getting more technical,” Popa says. “That’s why it’s so important to keep training and investing in our team. It’s a great feeling to hear how much a customer appreciates our quick, courteous service when I’m out and about in the community. Our customers are our neighbors and friends. It’s been that way for almost 45 years now, and we want to keep it that way.”

Pat Popa, owner of Popa Heating & Cooling finds it important to invest in her crew and stay up-to-date on the newest technology. TONY V. MARTIN

Along with residential HVAC for standard 1,200-1,400-sq-ft homes to custom built homes as large as 10,000sq-ft, Popa Heating and Cooling offers light commercial HVAC for retail, medical and office buildings. In addition, they can provide whole-house air cleaners, automatic humidifiers, electronic thermostats, carbon monoxide detectors and UV air purifiers. “It’s important to keep up with the latest technologies in our

business,” Popa adds. “For example, I recently attended a training session with Honeywell on their new wi-fi thermostat. We’ve already installed quite a few. I was surprised to see how many HVAC dealers had not yet been installing this newer technology. We’ve been recommending and installing it for years, and our customers love it!“ Considering the fact that pretty much everyone needs heating and air conditioning, Popa took on the task of

rebranding her company to make it more customer-focused about five years ago. “My customers tell me what they want, and I listen – plus everyone loves the polar bear and they remember us,” she says. “Whether they are building a new home, need a replacement or update, everyone wants maximum energy savings and long-term comfort. Our goal is to find the best possible system, and we go well beyond the minimum standards set by manufacturers, building codes and federal laws. We’ve had over 750 installs in the last five years, and I’m grateful we didn’t have to rely on a hot summer to grow our business this year.“ It all starts with listening to customers and providing what they want. “When I was in the waiting room at the hospital recently, a woman approached me to say hello,” Popa adds. “She recently had a new TRANE HVAC system installed, and I was so pleased to hear that she loved everything about her experience with us, especially the fact that she’s already saving money on her utility bills.”

Play the Scratch Off and Win up to $ 150 off per SEER up to $3,000 on select products. OR 48 equal monthly payments required on select products.

12 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


Major milestones, new decor cause for celebration at Villa Cesare


lans are taking shape for an incredible gala in honor of the 95th anniversary of Cesare Battisti Lodge No. 27 and the 25th anniversary of the group’s home base, Villa Cesare in Schererville. Also one of Northwest Indiana’s finest banquet facilities and wedding celebration destinations, Villa Cesare is taking reservations now for what’s sure to be a fun-filled evening on Saturday, November 15th. “Everyone is welcome to join us,” Villa Cesare general manager Richard Wolf says. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming The Vito Zatto Show, a highlyacclaimed Vegas-style act full of hilarious stand-up comedy, celebrity impersonations, incredible singing and audience participation, as the entertainment from 8pm to midnight, following cocktails and dinner, which get started at 6pm. Tickets for the evening which includes dinner and open bar plus the music and entertainment are $40.” This special event provides a great opportunity for Villa Cesare to show off its new décor, with recent upgrades noticeable throughout. Offering an inviting setting of European luxury and Italian

elegance for your special event, Villa Cesare’s three banquet rooms are spacious, bright and beautifully coordinated to accommodate groups of 50 to 800 people in a wide range of configurations. “Along with the new décor, we’ve really improved our service with three full-time event planners. Our goal is to be able to handle every last detail and provide a one-stop shop for all our party planners and brides,” Wolf says. “Over the summer, I would have to say we had more people than ever take advantage of our lovely outdoor ceremony space once they discovered all the great things we can offer from start to finish on their special day.” You can also check out the new and improved space during brunch, which is back by popular demand on Sundays beginning October 12th, Columbus Day, through the end of the year with service from 10:30am-2pm. Reservations are suggested, according to Wolf, but walkins are always welcome. All of the food at Villa Cesare is prepared on site by Sorelle Events under the direction of Executive Chef Fred Orth. For Sunday brunch, he is planning a full menu featuring omelet and carving stations plus a great variety of other entrees, sides and

cold salads with a divine sweet table to top everything off. “For the last several years, we have only been doing brunch on Mother’s Day and Easter,” Wolf adds. “We used do it more often and decided to restart it on Sundays for a few months to see how it goes since a number of people have expressed an interest in coming on a regular basis.” While many people are familiar with


25 Years

the outstanding food and facilities at Villa Cesare, the history of how it came to be is not necessarily as well known. One of 120-locally operated and managed lodges of the United States’ “Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America” (ISDA) Fraternal Association, Cesare Battisti Lodge No. 27 celebrates Italian American culture and values through social, civic and cultural events and programs.

Join Villa Cesare for All of Your Italian Favorites At Our Inaugural Brunch, Sunday October 12th and every Sunday thereafter 10:30am-2:00pm

Columbus Day Buffet ✦ Wide Selection of Cold Salads and Italian Cold Cuts & Cheeses ✦ Artisan Breads ✦ Breakfast Items including Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Hash Browns, French Toast ✦ Omelet Station ✦ Fresh Fruit ✦ Pasta Bar

✦ Italian Sausage & Peppers Meatballs Chicken Vesuvio Roast Pork & Dressing Carving Station Featuring Ham, Turkey & Roast Beef ✦ And our Excellent Sweet Table with a wide variety of Desserts ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

Make Reservations Today

900 Eagle Ridge Drive • Schererville, IN 219.322.3011 •

Adults $1995 / Children (3-11) $995


September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 13

Welch’s Stop & Shop delivers quality and high standards


t doesn’t take long for Ed Welch, owner of Welch’s Stop & Shop, to name his role model. It’s his late father, and you can hear the pride when Ed says, “My dad taught me about business and life, taking care of the customer while always keeping my morals and standards high.” The third-generation family business — Ed’s grandfather started the business in 1953 — provides top-quality meats for customers who don’t want to have to guess when it comes to selecting the best, freshest chops, steaks, roasts, ribs, and more. Unlike a huge grocery store where everything is prepackaged, at Welch’s the amount and cut are exactly to customers’ specifications. Whether customers need four pounds of ground chuck or a crown roast of pork for 8 to 10 people, that’s what Welch’s will provide. It’s a time- and cost-savings that everyone appreciates. Welch’s Meat Market offers a full line of meats, including popular freshcut steaks, ribeyes, porterhouse, filet mignon, sirloin, skirt steak and round steak. Welch says, “I love being around people and I love what I do,” so it’s not

quips, “I guess that’s four words!” Welch says if there’s a certain time of year that’s a favorite it’s summer and fall, “First, because everybody’s happy when the sun is shining! And second, so many people are grilling out. I enjoy helping them understand the right way to prepare the different cuts of meat.” ED WELCH One of the most frequently asked questions is how to prepare a really good surprising that is best days is … “every steak. day!” It makes meeting his goal all “The classic butcher’s approach is to that much easier: “To keep providing top-notch products with truly personal select a well-marbled New York strip or customer service. — keep people smiling ribeye. Bring the steak to temperature before cooking it, salt and pepper it, when they come in here.” then let it sit a few minutes before When he’s not working. “The best grilling it,” or, sear both sides in a hot thing is spending time with my family, pan, then finish in a hot oven. Allow it and going to the gym, in that order.” to “rest” a few minutes before cutting Challenges arise in every business; into it so the juices can redistribute for Ed Welch, “The worst was losing through the steak. A meat thermometer my father, three and a half years ago. can help avoid overcooking. Then we lost our manager in an auto “Providing top-quality meat and accident. It was hard on all of us, but service is our top priority. From our we all banded together each time to get hand-cut steaks to our homemade through it.” Ed Welch didn’t have to think long to sausage, our meat is delivered and come up with key words that exemplify prepared fresh daily. It makes me happy and appreciative to see people smiling his business philosophy: “friendly, when they leave, to know they had a quality, and high morals.” His ready TONY V. MARTIN great experience here.” smile comes through in his voice as he Ed Welch of Welch’s Stop & Shop.





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219-365-8190 • 11333 W. 95th St. • St. John 14 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

Having a birthday party or corporate event? Stressed out with party planning? Welch’s Stop & Shop is proud to introduce our new catering service...

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Elmwood Funeral Chapel celebrates 25th anniversary


hen the utmost in compassion, caring, and professional attention are essential, family-owned, community-involved Elmwood Funeral Chapel is there, offering its time and experience to help families through a difficult time. The Betkowski family is proud to be observing Elmwood Funeral Chapel’s 25th anniversary of serving families in their communities. “We understand that details are important and every family is different,” says James Betkowski, funeral director and co-owner with his wife Lu. “Family members need us to be attentive, to really hear their needs and preferences. And we’re right there with them, from the very first call, through each phase of the funeral service planning, visitation and service.” He is joined by six family members in the business, and if you ask son Joseph who his role model is, he answers swiftly and surely: “My role model is my pops. I wanted to join the family business because I like helping people, I like knowing I can try to make this time a little easier, try to smooth out the details and take that burden for the family.” The Betkowski family understands that

part of a funeral service,” says James. Even favorite sports teams or other special interests can be incorporated. Son Joseph, who is also a funeral director, adds, “We encourage families to let us know what it is that made their loved one so special, then we give ideas to customize the tribute to that person.” James and his wife Lu believe in being “professional and business-like, and we’re also compassionate. We get cards from people thanking us for how we were with them at the worst possible time in their lives.” Elmwood Funeral Chapel also offers After-Care Services to help with the grievPROVIDED ing process. James says families are finding that when Elmwood Funeral Chapel helps pre-plan parameters. Every service is planned as a services, “It really helps alleviate the stress unique, warm reflection of the person who and makes things a lot easier on the family.” has passed and not just part of a ritual or Cedar Lake residents as well as St. John tradition. The staff offers a wide array of options to express ways the loved ones lived and Chicago are welcome to use Elmwood Funeral Chapel’s comprehensive bereavetheir lives and touched the lives of those around them. ment resource libraries that are provided “I think a lot of families expect that costs free. may keep them from planning a memorable “My goal,” says Joseph, “is to continue and fitting tribute, but we help them conthe legacy my dad started, and to make him proud. He knows I care about families and sider how simple things like photographs, their communities.” special music or a memorial video can be Family-run Elmwood Funeral Chapel provides personalized service with dignity. James F. Betkowski, Funeral Director and owner, with wife Lu and sons James F. Betkowski Jr., Funeral Director; Joseph Betkowski, Funeral Director and Matt Betkowski, Certified Crematory Operator

families are from communities, and those communities are important to families. “We’re in Cedar Lake now, as well as St. John and Chicago, and we want to continue to help the communities we serve. We help church groups, kids’ athletics, and more— giving back is a big part of our philosophy,” says James, who began contributing to community causes early on. Every family who comes to Elmwood Funeral Chapel’s is given options to personalize a service and meet financial

Pre-Need Planning Is One Of The Most Loving Things You Can Do For Your Family

We invite you to tour our newest facility in

Cedar Lake, IN or stop by any of our locations for information on pre-need, funerals, cremation, veterans services and at-need planning. Thank you for the continued opportunities to serve families in both the East Side of Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Personal service from our family to yours.

11300 W. 97th Lane St. John, IN 219.365.3474 New location: 9931 Lincoln Plaza Way Cedar Lake, IN 219.374.9300 11200 S. Ewing Avenue Chicago, IL 773.731.2749 A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TIMES MEDIA CO.

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 15

Students and community members assemble care packages for service members at Purdue Calumet in 2013. COURTESY OF FIFTH THIRD BANK

Fifth Third Bank focuses on community initiatives

WE WERE CURIOUS, COULD A CHECKING ACCOUNT HELP FIGHT CANCER? We’ll give $150 to Stand Up To Cancer and $150 to you when you open a new Fifth Third Bank checking account with direct deposit and make three online bill payments. The money we donate helps fund cutting-edge research to help save lives. Learn more at

Offer not available to existing checking customers. Bank reserves the right to limit each customer to one new account-related gift incentive per calendar year. Checking account must be opened by 10/17/14. $50 minimum deposit required to open all accounts. New account, three online bill payments and direct deposit required within 90 days of account opening to obtain the $150 bonus. Bonus will be deposited into your new account within 6 weeks of completing requirements. The $150 cash bonus offer is valid for eligible interest-bearing or non-interestbearing checking accounts. Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) are accurate as of 06/15/14. Rates may change after account is opened. Fees may reduce earnings. APYs vary by market. Fifth Third Enhanced Checking is an interest-bearing checking account and all balances earn 0.05% APY in all markets. Fifth Third Preferred Checking is an interest-bearing account and all balances earn 0.24% APY in IL, IN, KY, MI, OH and WV; 0.38% APY in FL and TN; 0.40% APY in MO; 0.46% APY in NC; 0.50% APY in GA; and 0.60% APY in PA. Checking accounts may have monthly fees. Fifth Third Basic Checking and Business Checking accounts are excluded from this offer. See your banker for details. One bonus offer per account per household. Not valid with any other offer. The Curious Bank is a registered trademark of Fifth Third Bancorp. Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC. Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

16 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


s a regional bank, Fifth Third understands the issues that are so important to the local communities in the Northwest Indiana region and beyond. That is why, with the help of their customers, Fifth Third supports so many excellent causes and raises millions of dollars for charity and research. “We really are about serving the community in a number of ways, from children to vets to those struggling with cancer,” says Andrew Hayes, Marketing Director for Fifth Third’s Illinois and Indiana region. Right now, Fifth Third’s annual Stand Up to Cancer initiative is raising money for cancer research in a way that allows customers to participate in giving back. “To date, we have donated 2.4 million to the organization to fund cancer research,” Hayes says. “If someone opens a new account with direct deposit and two online bill pays, we donate $150 to the cause and give the account holder a bonus as well.” Later this fall, the bank is focused on providing help and support to America’s veterans. Fifth Third’s efforts start with customers, who can visit any banking center to write a message to a soldier from the Indiana or Illinois region currently deployed in Afghanistan. These messages will be included in care packages, which are assembled as part of Fifth Third’s annual Honoring Our Veterans, a day-long veterans appreciation event. “This is an annual effort of ours,”

Hayes says. “We take over Union Station [in Chicago] and in the Great Hall, we host a veterans hiring fair in partnership with” Locally, Fifth Third partnered with Purdue University Calumet in 2013 to assemble care packages for soldiers. In addition to the annual fair, Fifth Third hosts fundraising efforts at their banking centers to fund scholarships to help the family members of soldiers wounded or killed in action. “When a soldier is injured, it is often incumbent on the spouse or family member to provide for the family,” Hayes says. This scholarship, through Folds of Honor, gives $5,000 to eligible veterans’ families to acquire the skills they need to go back to work and support their families. For more information about the scholarship, visit Fifth Third also interacts with the community at many locally focused events. The bank is a major sponsor of the Gary SouthShore RailCats, and can be found interacting with the community and championing causes throughout the season. The bank also had a presence at many of the summer festivals, including most recently Popcorn Fest. In December, the bank will begin an Indiana-specific promotion to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Customers can purchase an ornament designed by a Riley child during the holiday season for $10 each. All proceeds go to Riley Children’s Hospital for treatment and research. More information can be found at



Lithographic helps clients communicate on time and on budget


n today’s world of ever-increasing communications channels, Lithographic Communications in Munster continues to focus on two of the most tried and true – Printing and Mailing. Lithographic is Northwest Indiana’s largest printing/mailing company, according to Richard Pietrzak, Sr., President/Owner. The fact that the business has grown from a small shop in 1988 with just three employees, to a state-of-the-art, full-service 25,000sq-ft facility with 60 employees today, is testament to the fact that they deliver great results for their clients. “Our company has an exceptional team of experienced employees that work hard every day to provide quality services,” he said. “We are focused on providing the very best in service, exceeding our customers’ expectations and always meeting required delivery dates. Our customers know they can trust us to get their job done right, on time and at a competitive price – and we take great pride in the fact that the majority of our new business comes from the referrals of satisfied clients.” Over the years, Lithographic has worked in partnership with their clients to better understand and anticipate their needs by offering more options with greater convenience and flexible pricing. Last year they printed and mailed more than 60 million pieces for a wide range of clients, both local and nationwide, including advertising agencies, a large local grocery chain, car dealers, casinos, financial institutions, and many other types of businesses. To serve such a wide range of clients, Lithographic offers conventional sheet-fed, web offset and digital

color variable data printing — which allows for highly personalized printed materials. On the fulfillment side, Lithographic’s full-service mailing department takes great pride in processing customer mailing lists to achieve the lowest possible postage rates and ensuring USPS mailing requirement compliance. “We have the experience and resources to get mail to its destination on time and on budget. We print everything from business cards, stationery, envelopes, forms brochures and presentation folders to card mailers, folded self-mailers, booklets/ catalogs and envelopes with multiple insertions and personalized matches. We work with our clients’ in-house database and also provide targeted mailing lists based on demographics, business types and many other unique selections,” Rich Pietrzak, Jr., General Manger of the company explained. “Our goal is to maximize the response of our clients’ creative efforts by supporting them with printing and mailing capabilities that are perfectly aligned with their communication needs. In our industry, it’s important to keep up with technology. Equipment is always evolving for improved quality and efficiency – but some things will always remain the same. We always want to understand our clients’ needs, provide exceptional customer service and produce their project utilizing the most cost-effective method of printing and/or mailing.” Lithographic Communications 9701 Indiana Parkway Munster, Indiana 46321-4003 219.924.9779

A Special publication of the Times Media Co.

design print mail


September 28, 2014 | NWI Businesses You Should Know | 17

Ozinga’s family tradition of service


e all know the phrase “mom and pop shop” means a family-owned business that has been passed down through the generations, caters to community, and takes time to go the extra mile, but little did we know that this phrase could conjure up the image of a ready-mix concrete company. Ozinga is a fourth generation family business that has grown in size since opening in 1928, but has never lost sight of those founding principles that began with Martin Ozinga, Sr. Tim Ozinga, marketing communications director and co-owner says the company was started by his great grandfather as a horse and wagon operation and today serves nearly all of Chicagoland and its outlying suburbs as well as Northwest Indiana, where Ozinga has been operating since the 1970s. “Today we work with a lot of customers in the region, from homeowners doing patios and sidewalks for their home, to commercial building projects. We’ve done roadway work for Reith-Riley Construction, and the

“IT’S EXCITING DRIVING THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES WE OPERATE IN, KNOWING THAT WE HAD A PART IN BUILDING IT.” TIM OZINGA actually a gentleman working with us PROVIDED out of Gary who is a fourth generation on our staff, which is unusual and Ozinga’s Gary location employs many Northwest extraordinary.” Indiana residents. Not only is the connection and longevity of staff and customers part expansion of the BP facility in Whiting was one of our biggest projects in recent of the Ozinga culture, but so too is history. We’ve been a part of Indiana for the beauty of the business itself. “It’s exciting driving through the over 40 years now,” Tim Ozinga says. The passage of time and the expansion neighborhoods and communities we operate in, knowing that we had a part of the business do not mean that the in building it. It’s fulfilling to know foundation of Ozinga has wavered—it that we had a small role in helping that is concrete solid. Although the business community grow,” says Ozinga. is always changing, Ozinga still finds it There are challenges in the concrete essential to build on relationships and industry but they certainly work to meet grow together with their customers. those challenges as they arise, such Relationships within the company are as the seasonal nature of the business essential too. Ozinga noted, “there is

and the constantly changing weather and traffic conditions. “We have to constantly adapt to the situations that are occurring. It keeps us on our feet, but we see that as a good thing,” said Ozinga. “When we’re on the cusp of the new building season and we start to see how the year is going to look, it’s a thrilling time.” Every year at springtime, Ozinga holds a kick off event for their coworkers to get everyone prepared and excited for the upcoming season. Meeting the challenges, demands, and even thrills of the concrete industry is what has made Ozinga last for four generations. Ozinga adds, “We definitely have a pro-growth mindset so we’re hoping to grow to be able to serve more customers. Part of that growth is transitioning our fleet to natural gas and opening up a CNG fueling station in Gary to serve the needs of the growing community.” With an eye on innovation and feet planted firmly in tradition, Ozinga is prepared to continue serving the Indiana community for many generations to come.

Building Indiana together for over 40 years Let’s continue the tradition

18 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


Dr. Bethany Cataldi’s Center for Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery: Treating patients with care


s he gets ready to leave Dr. Bethany Catladi’s office following his postoperative visit, her patient Michael takes a moment and thanks Dr. Cataldi. “I haven’t been able to sleep this well since I was a kid, and my wife loves that I don’t keep her up every night since I’ve stopped snoring. Thank you Dr.Cataldi,” he says. “You’re very welcome, Michael,” replies the doctor. “I’m pleased that you’re feeling so much better.” Michael leaves Dr. Cataldi’s office with not only his improved health but also with a renewed sense of wellbeing and vigor. It’s mid-morning and Dr. Cataldi has just completed a checkup with her patient Barbara for whom she’s recently performed a mini facelift. Barbara is visibly glowing about the results of her procedure: “I feel great! Not only do I look years younger, but I feel younger too. I have to admit that I was scared at first about getting a facelift, but you know what, Dr. Cataldi? You really made be feel at ease before and after surgery, and you really listened to my request that I look as natural as possible. Thank you—I’m so happy.” “You’re welcome, Barbara. I’ll see you again at your follow-up,” replies Dr. Cataldi. Barbara leaves Dr. Cataldi’s office, another patient with not only an elevated appearance but also with an elevated spirit and selfimage. These are the stories of only two of the many thousands of patients surgeon Bethany Cataldi, D.O. has successfully treated in the region. An Otolaryngology (ear, nose, neck and throat) and Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Cataldi established the Center for Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery to provide comprehensive and innovative care as well as advanced Facial Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Rejuvenation services. Dr. Cataldi believes that a balanced approach in patient care is critical to


Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon

• Adult & Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat Care • Sinus & Nasal Disorders • Chronic Ear Infections • Tonsil & Adenoid Surgery • Snoring & Sleep Apnea Relief • Balance Disorders • Vocal Cord Disorders • Hearing Loss

LOOK BETTER. Facial cial Plastic Su Surgery & Cosmetic Rejuv Rejuvenation PROVIDED

“IT’S A WONDERFUL PRIVILEGE TO SEE THAT MY CARE IS MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN MY PATIENTS’ LIVES.” BETHANY CATALDI, D.O. her high level of care. “My philosophy in treating a patient is that treatment should be directed at not only the disease or pathology but also any social, environmental, and familial factors that may affect the patient’s care. I believe that innovative health care must be accompanied by the highest degree of compassionate patient care. It‘s essential for the health of Northwest Indiana that as physicians, we provide both.” Dr. Cataldi strives to provide personal care and dedication to her patients’ health even as her practice continues to grow and innovate. “Whether it’s ear, nose neck and throat or facial plastic/cosmetic surgery, it’s a wonderful privilege to see that my care is making a positive difference in my patients’ lives.”


• MINIMALL MINIMALLY INVASIVE Face Lifts & Neck Lifts • Skin Cancer ncer & Skin Lesion Su Surgery • Nasal Reconstru Reconstruction • Wrinkle Reduction • Chemical emical Peels • Restylane • Juvederm • Botox


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Center for Otolaryngology & Facial Plastic Surgery, L.L.C. DR. BETHANY CATALDI

Three Convenient Locations: 2203 45th Street Suite B • Highland 701 Superior Ave. • Munster 333 W. 89th Ave. • Merrillville

Tel: (219) 836-4820 September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 19

Raymundo Garcia and Karen Maravilla celebrate the store’s 5th anniversary.

Thank you for voting us the #1 antique store in The Times “Best of the Region” 4 years in a row!


Thurs-Sat 10 – 4 5630 Hohman Avenue Downtown Hammond, IN 46320 Located just 25 minutes south of Chicago!

A collection of our favorite things: • Antiques • Architectural Finds/Tools & Hardware • Collectibles/Beatles, Elvis & more Visit us often! • Custom Gift Baskets New inventory • Furniture/Home Décor received daily. • Greeting Cards and Stationery • Handmade creations by LOCAL artiists • Jewelry • Sports/Trains/Cars/Fishing/Golf Memorabilia • Vintage clothing, purses, hats, gloves, scarves • Yummies And a treasure trove of “accidental discoveries”!

Like us on Facebook for notifications on special events, sales, and more!


219.932.NEAT (6328)


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5630 Hohman Avenue Downtown Hammond, IN 46320 Thurs-Sat 10 – 4


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May not be used in combination with discounts or other offers.

20 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

It’s Just Serendipity revitalizes downtown Hammond hen It’s Just Serendipity opened 5 years ago, Karen Maravilla and her partner, Raymundo Garcia, had a conversation that went far beyond the antiques, art, handmade creations, furniture, memorabilia and more for sale at the store. Their talk reached into the heart of community involvement by examining ways they could help revitalize downtown Hammond, Ind. Now, “We are honored to have been voted the Number 1 Antique Store in The Times Best of the Region for 4 years in a row,” says Maravilla. These days all kinds of surprising and unique treasures can be found at It’s Just Serendipity — along with a cheerful, can-do attitude for furthering Hammond’s return as a popular destination. “We believe it’s important for individuals to invest in their city to help bring about positive change. Raymundo and I decided we wanted to follow the mantra: Be the change you wish to see in the world,” says Maravilla. Garcia purchased three abandoned buildings in downtown and has been lovingly restoring them. Maravilla’s involvement in the community is extensive: She’s on the board of directors for South Shore Arts and the Hammond Development Corporation, past chairman of the board of Munster Chamber of Commerce, active in the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Downtown Hammond Council , a not-for-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to beautify and promote the downtown district. “People who may think they don’t have time to volunteer may not have made it a priority.” Her parents took her shopping in

downtown Hammond, and now, “to have one of those businesses gives me a great sense of pride and joy. People think they’re really saving when they shop online, but most do not realize how our community loses that way. When you shop locally, that money is spent locally and comes right back into the community.” Visit for details. There are two other local complementary shops in downtown Hammond. “All three of us are open on the same days, because it encourages shopping downtown.” And Maravilla uses vintage glassware to hold other small businesses’ cards. “People appreciate that you’re helping your neighbor.” They also appreciate Maravilla’s enthusiasm. “I come to work every day and love it! I learn about northwest Indiana and get to work with creative and positive individuals who support the arts, are artists themselves, and make our world a more beautiful place.” Maravilla says she learned exceptional customer service while working at Marshall Field in Chicago. She believes in giving new life to materials as well as communities. Recently an old, floor model radio was re-purposed into a wine cabinet. New inventory comes in daily, making the store a must-repeat experience. A Wish Book helps her customers find what they collect or are on the hunt for, and layaway ensures that you don’t miss out on an “I must have that” item. Then there are the items she calls the “yummies” — local honey, jam, cookies, cheese crisps, toffee, and more. But what makes it all really sweet is Maravilla’s philosophy: “I feel we should all help make our corner of the world a better place.”


Vyto’s Pharmacy offers the personal attention of a family-owned business with the professional know-how of highly trained pharmacists and technicians. TONY V. MARTIN

Vyto’s Pharmacy offers personal service and convenience


yto’s Pharmacy offers the personal attention of a familyowned business with the professional know-how of highly trained pharmacists and technicians. Owners/Pharmacists Nathan and V.J. Damasius think it is a perfect combination, one that began more than 23 years ago. “Our father started the pharmacy in 1989 and now we have three—two in Hammond and one in Highland—so it’s been a family affair. My brother is a pharmacist and my mother, a retired high school teacher, pays the bills and writes the pay checks.” A part of American Associated Pharmacies, Vyto’s can provide the same medications at a fraction of the price. “We’re extremely competitive with our prices. You don’t necessarily think that of a smaller pharmacy.” Damasius values the tradition of personal customer service. “We work toward pricing like the big chain pharmacies do, but we always try to relate to the patients and make sure they’re happy. It’s about more than the price of everything.” You don’t necessarily think a smaller pharmacy would be doing its own compounding of medicines, either, but Vyto’s does and it’s something Damasius is proud of. “We focus on it, with a lab and staff just for compounding, and that’s different from some other pharmacies.” Vyto’s compounding department joined Professional Compounding Centers of America to ensure patients receive the best in compounded medications. Vyto’s will deliver medications to your door free of charge. That’s made possible because since medications are made from scratch. “We can put together the exact dosage forms and strengths that are not traditionally available. The customer’s doctor can tweak the dosage just for that

patient and we can compound that.” Customizing for patients is possible, since, unlike commercially available products, if there’s an element such as lactose that the customer doesn’t want, Vyto’s can compound the medication without it. Some people don’t want animal gelatins that are present in some forms, so that can be avoided as well. Vyto’s also compounds bio-identical hormones for women, making the dose correct for each individual. Even pet owners benefit from a compounding pharmacy, since veterinarians won’t always have exactly what the pet needs, based on its weight. “We can make it a nice flavor, too.” Vyto’s provides its quality products and superior services while relieving costs to customers throughout Lake County, Indiana and south Cook County in Illinois. That includes Vyto’s Durable Medical Equipment Team, HQAAaccredited to make sure customers get the newest technologies in DME merchandise and proper Medicare and Medicaid billing. And all staff continues to attend programs and lectures, while pharmacists provide the community with seminars about modern medicine and other healthcare information. When not at the business, V.J. Damasius says hanging with the family is just the best. “I have a two-year old, that’s easily the most fun.” VJ and his wife, Morgan, are expecting another boy in November. Nathan and his wife, Rosa, just added a second girl to the family as well. Nathan says, “Spending time with my girls is what I do when I am not working.” He counts it a happy situation that at work, “I like the challenge of helping others and working in the nice atmosphere with the great staff here.” And that’s a good prescription for success.


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A Special Publication of the times media Co.

Round the Clock remains NWI’s favorite family restaurant


t’s one of the best decisions I could have made.” At age 28, Rinoula Alexiades is marketing manager for four Round the Clock restaurants. She’s been involved in the familyowned business for four years, and she and her brothers are the third generation with a deep commitment to providing a comfortable, pleasing dining experience. “Our parents are really good at teaching us the business. . Then, too, my brothers bring a younger vibe to the discussion. Our parents let us try new things, so it’s a good mix, with my parents’ experience in the business.” Consistency is key, whether it’s a new twist on a familiar dish or a longtime popular favorite. “We make sure the menu items taste exactly the same at all four restaurants. Our customers expect that from us,” says Alexiades. Creating new menu items means “We get to try a lot of new foods, so that’s a fun process. Still, my favorite time of year is fall, because we bring back our pumpkin pie — my personal favorite!” Ever since the stores’ openings — Schererville in 1977, Highland in 1996, Hammond and Lansing in 2013 — each

Families and senior citizens can smile at menu choices. “They benefit greatly from the value we offer. Our senior menu is only $8.49, and they receive 20 percent off menu items between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.” Employees tend to stay. Jan, at Schererville, has been with the Schererville store since it opened, and many have been with the company 15 years or more. They do meet interesting people. Alexiades recalls her dad meeting customer who was at Pearl Harbor. “He was 94 years old and my dad got to hear about it from him. People from all over come here; getting to know them a little is really special.” Success hasn’t changed the desire to wow the customers in new ways. “We’re TONY V. MARTIN good at that, but you always want to do even better.” Diners can enjoy Round the Clock 24 hours a day at all Northwest Indiana locations. It makes us feel good to know we can give the people of northwest Indiana re-branding, along with the new logo. is serving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. an affordable and delicious option for “We always ask our employees to be Lunch and dinner are served, and the dining out. We truly care about keeping smiling. That helps customers to be extensive breakfast menu is available all day, every day. “Our menu has an option smiling and happy.” Serving Smiles starts our prices low and keeping the quality of with the training, on to holding the door our food high. We take pride in knowing for everyone, and of course we always for people, to making sure the parking lot that we feed so many families for such a aim for our slogan, Serving Smiles.” great value.” is shoveled and salted. Serving Smiles is part of the stores’


September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 23

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September 28, 2014 | NWI Businesses You Should Know | 25

South Bend International Airport connects Indiana to the world


hen local industrialist, Vincent Bendix, began construction of an airport for northern Indiana back in 1929, little did he know at the time that his vision for the area would quickly open up a ‘window to the world.’ Today the South Bend airport serves hundreds of thousands of travelers each year and can easily take anyone wherever they want to be, says Julie Curtis, director of marketing and development. Name your destination— South Bend can get you there with just one stop. “When making travel plans, people should absolutely start and end here in South Bend for a number of great reasons. First, it’s fast and convenient. We are just one simple stop from anywhere in the entire world. And second, we’re your neighbor. It’s important to support the local economy here in Indiana rather than another city in another state,” Curtis says. South Bend International Airport (SBN) is growing, expanding services and working diligently to add new nonstop destinations in order to widen their

direct reach and further boost the area’s economy. Flying locally has become increasingly popular for both business and leisure travelers alike, and is often easier and less expensive than traveling to larger out-of-state airports. Consider your options here in South Bend. Through United Airlines, SBN offers six daily flights to Chicago O’Hare which makes for a great way to travel at whatever time fits your schedule. And starting October 26th, United expands east coast opportunities by offering daily nonstop service to New York City through Newark Airport. For travel to our north and south, Delta Airlines departs five times daily to Detroit, Michigan, and multiple times daily to both Minneapolis, Minnesota and Atlanta, Georgia. “These are all hub cities for our airlines, so our travelers are well connected and can easily get to wherever they need to go,” says Curtis. And for the leisure traveler, South Bend is home to Allegiant Airlines which travels nonstop to popular vacation destinations including Las Vegas, Phoenix/ Mesa, and three Florida destinations: Tampa/St. Petersburg, Orlando/Sanford

competed with every other airport in the United States for this route. We target destinations that we know would be a win for our market. United saw the value in our market and we’re very fortunate to have them as our partner for this new service,” Curtis says. And now SBN’s expansion sights are set internationally. Industry experts point to international travel as the greatest opportunity for future growth. To this end, South Bend received its international designation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection this past April, and is currently constructing a federal inspection station and general aviation facility. “These new facilities are needed to land international commercial and corporate flights so people can clear customs right here in South Bend. We identified demand to international marPROVIDED kets prior to moving forward with this designation and are in discussions with South Bend International Airport is Northern several airlines for nonstop service,” says Indiana’s gateway to anywhere in the world. Curtis. “Mexico and the Bahamas are our and Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers. first points of interest. We will also look “We had been working on the New at Toronto and Ireland down the road. York route for about two years and We are targeting a start date of fall 2015.”





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Amatulli and Associates exemplifies professionalism and commitment


• Being people who can be trusted • Keeping confidentiality – that’s of the utmost importance to us. • Appreciating the unique capabilities and contributions of each person. • Fostering growth. • Staying fully engaged with our families, friends, and community. That’s when we’re at our best. John Amatulli notes, “We achieve far more as a team than as individuals. We HIGH PRIORITIES do not tolerate those who put their own Amatulli and Associates places a high TONY V. MARTIN priority on partnering with their clients self-serving interests above those of our Amatulli & Associates Financial Services Team, clients and colleagues.” through the decision-making process. John S. Amatulli (center) That’s because “We are passionately Whatever phase of investment the committed to service. Through our client may be in, “We strive to provide dedication to service, we create value for Life Insurance Company as one of the top investment and risk management our clients and community.” It makes consulting services to a diverse clientele three financial advisors in the country of investors,” says John Amatulli. “Those sense, then, that all clients have access related to customer satisfaction. to tools that will help them understand strategies help clients meet current and How does he do it? Amatulli says future opportunities, issues, and multiple their personal situations – and be able to the keys are keeping in contact with his relate them to current tax, market, and life-stage needs. As decision partners clients and also offering a “Safe Money” life conditions. place for his clients’ retirement funds. His with our clients, we work with them to “We are committed to the highest level construct the very best strategy for their level of expertise makes him a soughtof personal performance,” says Amatulli. life circumstances.” after presenter of “Retirement Planning That’s integrity – the cornerstone of Throughout the entire process for each Workshops” throughout Northwest SAFELY INVESTING Amatulli and Associates. client, “Trust and honesty are essential Indiana and Chicagoland suburbs. Just how satisfied clients are with “We are optimistic, confident, and to us,” says Amatulli. “We do what we say “We feel your risk should come down decisions about investment and insurance driven by a sense of urgency and desire to we will do,” including as you get older,” says Amatulli. “A lot of is a great measure of success. In 2012 excel on behalf of every client.” • Communicating with candor people have lost a lot of money because John Amatulli was recognized by Aviva they had their money at risk while retired. “That’s not the way we operate. For safety, we deal in a lot of bonds and annuities.” As a board member of the Better Business Bureau, “We do a lot at the bureau to make sure people are treated fairly. Unfortunately, the number-one age group that gets scammed is seniors.”

f there had to be just one word to describe John Amatulli and his firm, it would be integrity, for that is the cornerstone of Amatulli and Associates, a financial services and insurance firm. They combine integrity with outstanding professionalism and commitment to guiding clients’ portfolios to the desired outcome, so no wonder the St. John, Ind., firm has a sterling reputation. Amatulli, who is on the board of directors for the Indiana BBB, oversees along with other board members the practices of Indiana businesses. Clients know that when they work with Amatulli and Associates to maximize their investments, they are working with a firm that focuses on clients’ needs and vision for their future. John Amatulli and his firm make investment and insurance recommendations, especially for people who are retired or nearing retirement.



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219-365-5544 • September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 27

Austgen Companies offers service with decades of experience


hen customers are ready for a completely new electrical system, a fleet repair, or acquiring a property, Austgen Companies in Griffith, Ind., is ready too, with all the experience, equipment, and qualified people to get the job done. “We’re a third-generation company that’s been in business for 70 years,” says Mike Austgen, president of Austgen Companies. It’s clear he’s proud of how the business that began in 1944 as an appliance store has expanded to include Austgen Electric, a full-service electrical contractor Austgen Properties, a property management company; and Austgen Fleet Service, specializing in mechanical repair of fleet vehicles. “Austgen Companies has diversified over time, allowing us to offer more services to our valued customers, with excellence always at the forefront of our business.” As a full-service electrical department taking projects from design to completion, Austgen Electric specializes in taking a concept, designing a solution and building the design. That includes medium voltage

provides instrumentation, controls and automation programming services. Residential service is the newest component of the electrical division. You can hear the energy, as Mike Austgen explains. “We have started a residential division to offer the same professional service and attention to detail to the homeowner that we do in our commercial and industrial customers.” Over the years, the company has TONY V. MARTIN consistently made quality a priority, in its services and customer interactions, Austgen Companies utilizing certified electricians power distribution, control systems and specializing in all aspects of industrial, commercial and residential work. The programming. An all-inclusive service like this helps customers’ projects move highest quality, dependability, efficiency and safety standards are essential forward faster and more smoothly. aspects of every project. “We have the ability to quickly size The second-generation Austgen up a project’s requirements, and are Properties offers real estate rentals very competitive in our pricing,” says for just about every need, including Austgen. The company philosophy industrial buildings, commercial applies to every aspect of the three companies under the Austgen umbrella: business spaces, U-lock storage spaces and even living spaces, from studio The electrical division offers apartments to three-bedroom homes in industrial and commercial electrical northwest Indiana. construction and services, along with Austgen understands commercial and process controls. The company has industrial needs require a wide variety its own U.L. listed panel shop and

of options, so and industrial spaces range from 600 to 100,000 square feet, commercial/retail suites range from 500 to 15,000 square feet, and storage units are available from 5-by-5 feet to 15,000 square feet. Austgen Fleet Service has been offering specialization in mechanical repair of fleet vehicles for 30 years, including, fleet service and repair for such needs as walking beam rebuilds, leaf springs, DOT inspections, RV repairs, 24-hour roadside service, and school bus inspections and repair. Austgen offers years of experience and quality work to every job. “There is no job we can’t handle,” says Mike Austgen. He is generous in his praise for the companies’ employees. “It takes a professional, committed team to meet the Austgen standards for excellence. Austgen Companies has been successful because of its employees. They’re the best in the industry and the quality of their workmanship is second to none. “Our goal for the future is to have the fourth generation taking over the business, with the same dedication to top-notch, first-class service and products, for every single customer.”

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28 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


United Way of Porter County gives hope to thousands


ince 1957, the United Way of Porter County has been raising funds to help the people of Porter County from beginning of life through the end of life. “We truly are a Porter County organization, made up of all Porter County volunteers. The money we raise stays in Porter County and as the county has grown, so have we through the generosity of our donors,” says Sharon Kish, president of the United Way of Porter County. Kish says that since the inception of the United Way of Porter County, the organization has raised $64,798,137 through their donors. “The important part of this number is that it shows what was invested back into our community, into health and human services,” says Kish. The United Way of Porter County improves the lives of those in the region by working to improve education, provide financial stability and promote healthy lives. Kish says, “We have a wonderful array of services in Porter County and we’ve been able to support and help them grow and to provide our residents the critical services they need. There are very few people in Porter County who have not

been touched by a United Way-funded service.” Focusing funding on these three main components to a good quality of life — education, financial stability and healthcare — allows the United Way of Porter County to reach the most number of people in the most meaningful ways. “The education component focuses on such services as funding afterschool programs and preschool programs. The financial stability component is not only focused on providing emergency assistance, but allowing residents to become and remain financially stable, so they don’t need those services. Finally, we focus on access to healthcare. We


provide funding to many children and their families through the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCAs, Hilltop Neighborhood House and our Success by Six/United for Children program, which is a regional initiative that has now broadened through the third grade. We provide end of life care through hospice and VNA, funding to St. Agnes Adult Day Care, emergency assistance through Porter County Aging & Community Services, the Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities. We do the volunteer income tax program for lower income and elderly and people with disabilities, and last year alone we completed and filed over 500 tax returns which brought back over $500,000 in refunds to those families. This is an economic boost to not only the families, but to the county. We are focusing on leadership training through Young Leaders United and through our Power of Youth (POY) Council. The POY has at least three students from every high school in Porter County, who do volunteer activities and raise funds. Last year, POY members raised $18,000 that was allocated to youth-serving organizations,” Kish says. “Our goal is to have an impact on

people’s lives in a positive way. With our partners, we want to work to find solutions to some of the most critical needs in our community. Our need for volunteers will continue to increase, so we are trying to engage more people in volunteer activities. They are the lifeblood of nonprofits and enable the organizations to serve more people. We know that once people retire, they take those skills with them; so we hope that when people retire, they will find their passion and volunteer through our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). We are also recruiting AmeriCorps members to serve as tutors, mentors and career advisors in the schools and volunteer capacity builders in area nonprofits. Plus, we are starting Community Conversations as we prepare a new strategic plan for United Way of Porter County. We are listening to people and their hopes and aspirations for themselves and their families,” Kish says. “We believe in our motto — LIVE UNITED — and we want everyone to know that they can ‘be the one” to make a difference in someone’s life, right here in Porter County!”

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 29



Presenting new bathrobes to Captain Robb Buttrey, second from right, of The Salvation Army are, from left, Sally Van Bokkelen and Amy Franklin from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Munster and Cheryl Steen from First Presbyterian Church of Highland. The bathrobes were given to residents of The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Gary.

Salvation Army ARC helps adults in need in Northwest Indiana


OCTOBER TH 4 - 9 AM Built on FAITH, servicing your FAMILY, FUTURE of thrift shopping in South Holland 30 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

he Gary Adult Rehabilitation Center is a residential rehabilitation facility with a bed capacity of 110. The purpose of the rehabilitation program is to help men overcome serious life problems, such as drugs and alcohol. Housing, meals, clothing and program services are provided without cost to program participants during the 6- to 12-month duration of the rehabilitation program. Program components consist of individual and group counseling, substance abuse education, 12-step programs, GED preparation, work therapy, Bible study and chapel services, and re-entry and alumni support. In addition to the program components, counselors and staff help program participants develop good work ethic and encourage other responsible behaviors and decisions through positive reinforcement. The rehabilitation program is focused on developing a

relationship with Christ, spiritual growth and moral regeneration. These, in turn, give program participants confidence, hope, meaning and purpose in their once shattered lives. However, the work of The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Gary is only possible through the generous donation of goods and sale of used goods in our family stores. The Gary ARC covers Northwest Indiana and the southern Illinois suburbs to Joliet. The collection and sale of goods at Salvation Army Family Stores within this region is the primary source of funding for the Gary ARC. The Gary ARC program is supported by four family stores with a new location soon to open in South Holland, Ill. The South Holland location is approximately 17,000 square feet, will employee 64 part-time workers and eight full-time workers, and will be the future of thrift shopping for the Gary ARC region.


Fagen Pharmacy brings family care to NWI communities


agen Pharmacy just received the Health Mart Community Healthcare Excellence Award. They are one of only 10 pharmacies in the nation to receive this award for consistently providing care and services that add measurable value to patient health care and community wellness. This award reinforces that the founding principles are as strong today as it was with the first store opened by Gerald A. Fagen, RPh, in 1972. Melissa Fagen, marketing and media director for Fagen Pharmacy, as well as the founder’s daughter, says, “People don’t realize that it was my dad who started the business when he was just four years out of college. After his father died when he was only 14, he had to go to work to support his family. He worked for Glen Park Pharmacy, in Gary, Indiana. Because of his time at work, he was able to observe an independent pharmacy owner and how he took care of people. That pharmacist became his mentor. Opportunities can come out of life’s most difficult times.” Today, Fagen Pharmacy’s 23 locations are found throughout Northwest Indiana, as well as three in Illinois. Taking care of customers like family is still a part of Gerald A. Fagen’s founding principle. The staff at Fagen Pharmacy is the difference, says Fagen. “We receive heartfelt customer feedback all the time. We find the right people to work for us and we are blessed to have a lot of people who stay with us for many years once they do. We have some really fantastic employees, who are passionate about taking care of people. Seeing so many examples of genuine loyalty from employees and customers are both humbling and heartwarming.” Fagen Pharmacy is finalizing the installation of a new state-of-the-art pharmacy system. The pharmacy will roll out a mobile refill application when the project is complete. They will also be working on chainwide medication synchronization. Instead of getting chronic meds on many different refill dates, the pharmacy will be able to coordinate them to refill on a single date. Fagen Pharmacy’s expansion is centered on need. “We serve so many patients in nearly a dozen counties through our hospice contracts. Out of the new healthcare policies, we


Owner of Fagen Pharmacy Jerry Fagen, RPh, left, and Compounding Pharmacist Jim Spanopoulos stand inside the company’s Valparaiso store.

now work with hospitals to help cut down on patient readmissions through our Careful Transitions program. Type 2 Diabetes is increasing at alarming rates and because of that, we have been offering Diabetes education on a monthly basis,” says Fagen. The American Diabetes Association has recognized Fagen Pharmacy’s diabetes education program for meeting the national standards they set for diabetes self-management education. By assessing patient medications, lifestyle, and personal needs in advance, everyone can have more successful class sessions and follow-up consultations. For more information about diabetes education, call (219) 462-0047. Many groups in the area are active in mission work or have needs based on their international travel. Not only does the pharmacy offer standard vaccines like flu, shingles and pneumonia, they also offer travel vaccines. Consider Fagen Pharmacy your vaccination destination. For more information on travel vaccines, call (219) 462-0047. The pharmacy does a tremendous business serving moms with new babies. In Valparaiso, the store has gone beyond offering Medela breast pumps and accessories. They now offer nursing bras by both Boob Design & Bravado as well as nursing clothing by Boob Design. Fagen Pharmacy has certified fitters that can work with women in Northwest Indiana. For insurance questions or more information, call: (219) 462-2381 ext. 3. For more information, find Fagen Pharmacy on facebook or go to fagenpharmacy. com. For more information, call (219) 9876468 or email



Heallth Mart Hea

Community Heal Healthcare Excellence Excellence Award 2014

We are 1 of only 10 pharmacies in the nation to receive this award

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Call us to transfer your prescriptions today! 23 Locations in IN & IL September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 31

McMahon & Associates partners with clients on the road to success


rom a one-room office on 45th Street that had a simple 10-key adding machine to serve the needs of a handful of clients in 1971, Terry McMahon & Company P.C. has evolved into a fullservice accounting practice that provides a menu of more than a dozen services for businesses in 16 different industries. Working out of a state-of-the-art headquarters on Calumet Avenue since 2008, McMahon & Associates Certified Public Accountants, P.C. now has a specialized team of 28 on board. “When we moved into our new offices, we felt a name change was also in order,” McMahon, who is now one of three owners, says. “For the last 43 years, we have always been very appreciative of our loyal clients, dedicated staff and professional associations with lawyers, bankers, insurance agents and other important advisors. It is with great pride that we offer a unique blend of big firm services and small firm caring.” In addition to Terry McMahon, CPA

who serves as president and CEO, the leadership team includes Jill Jones, CPA, CVA vice president and account manager, and Karen McMahon, EA, corporate secretary, treasurer and account manager. Consistently voted Northwest Indiana’s #1 CPA Firm, McMahon & Associates has led the category on the Best of Northwest Indiana Business list for 9 years now. Serving clients who are brand new entrepreneurs to established multi-state business owners; the firm always keeps an eye on the bottom line in order to achieve the goals that define success for each one. McMahon & Associates offer services for every stage of business and every state of life – from advanced technical tax expertise, including IRS Enrolled Agent designation, to basic bookkeeping and payroll services. “We have always been committed to providing high quality customer service, and in order to do that, we have always ensured our team has access to the latest processing software and research

dissenting shareholder situations and wrongful death, while business valuations are most commonly required when an attorney is involved in engagements that deal with adequacy of life insurance, bankruptcy and foreclosures, buy/sell agreements, charitable contributions, eminent domain, employee stock ownership plans, estate and gift taxes, initial public offerings, liquidation or reorganization, mergers or acquisitions, the sale of a TONY V. MARTIN business, split-ups or spin-offs, and McMahon & Associates succession planning. “Due to the vision of some of our software,” McMahon explained. “The community leaders, our local economy firm also provides a platform for staff to has adjusted from a heavy dependency enhance their technical knowledge and on the steel industry to one more develop their professional careers.” economically diverse,” McMahon reflects. Leading by example, Jones recently completed the certification process with “With expanded professional service agencies, retail, medical practices, the National Association of Certified entertainment, and various other Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) to services, the region has grown greatly earn the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation. Litigation consulting over the years. This business transition has provided all of us an opportunity for needs for valuations include business prosperity.” disruption, divorce, partner disputes/

10010 Calumet Avenue • Munster, IN 46321 Phone: 219.924.3450 • Fax: 219.924.1640

All Stages of Business... and Life • Voted Best Accounting Firm by Readers of the Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine Nine Consecutive Years and Running




• Our Unique Blend of Large Firm Services with Small Firm Caring Help to Improve Your Bottom Line • Celebrating Over 40 Years of Helping Businesses Grow and Looking Forward to Another 40 Years Servicing Northwest Indiana • Our Commitment to the Integrity of Our Services and Depth of Our Relationships Allow Our Professionals to Individualize the Needs of Each Client

To Experience the McMahon Difference Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation 32 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


Cliff’s Heating and Cooling makes the region comfortable


e have achieved being the best in the area — but our number one goal is to maintain those standards.” Clifford Purnell won’t accept anything less from his family-owned heating and cooling business and makes sure all the aspects of Cliff’s Heating & Cooling measure up to his high standards. After all, those are his customers’ high standards. “We’ve been in business for 35 years now, offering excellent service and the top products in the industry, so customers do come back to us (when they want a new system or maintenance). But I think it boils down to our family background and atmosphere, and customers can see our people are quality tradesman from start to finish.” Cliff’s Heating & Cooling provides the best possible indoor/outdoor weather solution, “And since we’ve installed many indoor weather systems in Northwest Indiana and Illinois, we’ve earned a reputation for doing the job right the first time.” Purnell firmly believes the highestquality equipment helps maintain that high standard, so he relies on the best.

York is the leader in home heating and cooling equipment and is a go-to dealer for reliability and top performance. Cliff’s is the largest standby generator dealer in Northwest Indiana, and was the 2011 Largest Kohler Dealer in Indiana. Purnell says the heating and cooling business is very challenging since it’s directly related to weather conditions, but “Our knowledge of products and expertise can resolve the toughest challenges.” He also says getting the word out about home energy use is critical. “I think a lot of people understand that heating and air conditioning systems are the biggest energy users in the home — up to 75 percent of the utility bill. But they may not realize a new, high-efficiency furnace can save up to fifty percent in operating costs over a ten-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have efficiencies of 65 percent or less, but now furnaces are available that are up to 96 percent efficient. “That can mean a big cost savings.” Purnell says some of his best customers have regular maintenance performed, making their equipment run longer and

have fewer breakdowns. “That makes our business run smoother and it makes a happy customer, too.” Purnell said he has a lot of respect for people — in fact, part of what makes him happy to come to work every day is meeting new customers and hearing their life stories. “I like being a part of helping customers achieve their goals and peace of mind.” That calls for Cliff’s careful process that begins with asking questions about what the customer would like. Next is using the industry leader, York. Just as important is training certified technicians to see the job through and make sure unit or system performs to the customer’s expectations. Quick, professional service and complete service plans keep the systems operating at peak efficiency. “Cliff’s” sums it up: Cliff’s = Courteous Leaders In Friendly Family Service. Family time is important to Purnell, too. “When I’m not working, quality family time is the best. That — and fishing.” On the job, a great feeling comes from the number of referrals from customers. “It tells us we are doing a great job for the community.” Man Adjusting Thermostat

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September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 33

Page Family Hearing Hear You Are Family! Come in and Hear the difference

All Hearing Aid Purchase

Include Lifetime:

Call today to set up your appointment for a FREE no obligations Hearing Exam and start your free trial!

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Page Family Hearing 112 E 90th Drive, Merrillville, IN 46410 219-525-4485 • • Open Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5PM 34 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

Hearing preservation starts with testing at Page Family Hearing


assie Poplawski discovered she needed hearing aids in college. “I’ve had ear issues all my life,” she said. “When I was in college, a friend of mine in the dorm for all health majors was studying Speech Pathology and Audiology. Since I was already familiar with some of the terminology and issues, I decided to try the introductory class.” That’s when she was told she had hearing loss. “There was an extra credit opportunity for working with a graduate student, so I signed up,” Poplawski continued. “As it turned out, I was not a good candidate for the study and was referred to a doctor. Once I started wearing hearing aids, I knew I wanted to be in the field and officially changed my major.” Today, as the founder and owner of Page Family Hearing in Merrillville, Poplawski is realizing her dream of focusing on adult hearing testing and hearing aid fittings. “I worked for some of the top hearing aid centers in Illinois and then Indiana after I got married,” she explained. “During that time I saw so many people who were reluctant to get hearing help and heard countless tales of the ‘hearing aid in a drawer’ syndrome. So many people do not realize that it takes time for the brain to adjust to the sounds again – that is does take time to get used to wearing them and adjustments are often needed. This transition period can last 3-4 weeks, and we’re here to help you get through it.” According to the American SpeechLanguage-Hearing Association, hearing loss in adults has a number of contributing factors, including age, genetics, noise exposure, and chronic disease. Age-related hearing loss is generally a slow progression that affects both ears equally. One of the first signs of hearing loss is often an inability to hear and understand speech in noisy environments. “That’s when you need to have your hearing tested,” Poplawski warns. “We use the very latest technology to establish a base line so we will notice

“RECENT RESEARCH SHOWS UNTREATED HEARING LOSS CAN CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO HOW THE BRAIN PROCESSES SOUND — CLARITY AND UNDERSTANDING ARE SOMETIMES LOST IF NO ACTION IS TAKEN.” KASSIE POPLAWSKI even the most subtle changes over time. This will help us determine whether hearing aids are necessary to preserve your hearing overall.” Because of the slow progression, many adults do not readily acknowledge hearing loss and consider it a normal sign of aging. However waiting too long to address it can have dire consequences. “Recent research shows untreated hearing loss can cause irreversible damage to how the brain processes sound — clarity and understanding are sometimes lost if no action is taken,” Poplawski added. “A lot of people are surprised by the serious effects of leaving hearing loss untreated. While it’s common practice to use other assisted devices like glasses or dentures, there’s a social stigma with hearing aids. However, I have seen too many people come in for the first time in as many as 15 years after they noticed the first signs of hearing loss. By then, there may not be much we can do to help them. No one wants to be saying shoulda, coulda, woulda when it comes to their hearing. Especially when simple testing that takes just 20-25 minutes can determine hearing ability.”


Kramer and Leonard keeps business moving


ince 1983, Kramer & Leonard has been helping the region run their businesses—from moving Porter Hospital from their old location to their new location and providing state-of-the art equipment and office furniture for their administration and staff, to supplying pens and paper to a small downtown shop. The difference, says Greg Fox, President of Kramer & Leonard , is the attention to each individual customer. “My wife Mary, CEO of the company, and I have been doing this now for 27 years. My father-in-law, Paul Leonard, bought a stationery shop in Chesterton in 1983 and Mary and I were both in corporate careers. However, we wanted to raise our family in one town, and so we moved to Chesterton from St. Louis and began working with Paul. When Paul was ready to retire, Mary and I, along with Mary’s sister Julie Leonard and brother Kevin Leonard, bought the business from my father-in-law in 1992. We built our first building in 1993. We quickly outgrew that location and built our second building four years later, our third building in 1999, so keep doubling our size. But we’ve always stayed in Chesterton from a logistics standpoint. It’s a great place to service Chicago and Northern Indiana,” says Fox. How has Kramer & Leonard been able to grow so rapidly? Fox says, “This is such a misunderstood word, but it really is our service. We have a wonderful assortment of people working for our company, from interior designers and project managers in our office furniture department, to our machine division, to our field technicians, and janitorial and cleaning specialists. We have designers to help businesses promote their brand and provide assistance with promotional products, and of course, we are an office supply company as well. We do so many things. A lot of our competitors specialize in one thing such as office supplies or office furniture, but we are a single source. A lot of companies are trying to streamline the number of vendors they offer, but this is where we really shine—we are a single source for business. We distribute in all 50 states and Canada. People think that big box is less expensive when in reality, we are, so companies that have sophisticated buyers know that we are less expensive.” Serving each client’s individual needs comes through the expertise of Kramer


Mary and Greg Fox have run Kramer and Leonard for 27 years.

& Leonard’s employees. “We have some of the most experienced people in the industry. They stay with us for a long time and the average length of our staff is approaching 20 years. They have been around when typewriters were the most popular item we sold. They know not only the new products, but also the lesser known products, so we really can help customers when they have a problem. Anyone can get you copy paper but it’s those unusual things that are an important differentiator. If you’re looking to solve a problem, call us. We do offer desktop delivery and can deliver to different departments in the building, rather than just dropping the order off in the mailroom or the shipping dock. We deliver right to the individual, which helps save time and money for the customer. Another facet of our business is our online ordering, which is more of an ordering website than a shopping website. A lot of our competitors want you to shop, but we want our customers to have a low-cost experience so they don’t buy unnecessary items. We take the customer to cost-effective solutions, not things that aren’t important,” says Fox.





Burke Costanza & Carberry attorneys Nancy Townsend, George Carberry, Jeff Williams and John Bushemi.

Burke Costanza & Carberry: Resolving legal issues while advancing Northwest Indiana




Our Attorneys Terence M. Austgen Elizabeth M. Bezak Julia M. Bochnowski Michael J. Bolde John P. Bushemi George W. Carberry Diana A. Carpintero H. Jonathon Costas Daniel A. Gioia Paul A. Leonard, Jr. Gregory R. Lyman Robert F. Parker

Phillip A. Pluister Tory Prasco Dana Rifai Patricia Román Hass Jon A. Schmaltz Kathryn D. Schmidt Natalie Shrader Kevin E. Steele Nancy J. Townsend Jeff K. Williams Margaret A. Williford Ann Marie Woolwine 9191 Broadway | Merrillville, IN 46410 | t. 219.769.1313 156 Washington St. | Valparaiso, IN 46383 | t. 219.531.0134 150 N. Michigan Ave., 8th Floor | Chicago, IL 60601 36 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


ith roots established in a small Gary law firm more than 65 years ago, Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP (BCC) has grown right along with Northwest Indiana. Formed in 1988 through a merger of two of the area’s oldest and most distinguished law firms, BCC is now a 25-lawyer firm with offices in Merrillville, Valparaiso and Chicago. “Engaged” is how Managing Partner George Carberry describes the firm’s professional profile. When it comes to the practice of law, many of the firm’s lawyers earn specialty certification and achieve professional recognition from national, state and local bar associations such as the Defense Trial Lawyers Association, Indiana State Bar and Lake County and Porter County Bar Associations. As a result, BCC serves as an advocate and counselor in virtually every area of civil law — representing clients in business matters, family law, personal and commercial litigation, estate planning, probate and trust administration, health care law, mediation and arbitration, and default recovery litigation. Beyond that, you’ll find BCC lawyers are passionate about improving the communities in which they live and work, with many committed, active participants in a wide range of professional and civic leadership roles. A few examples with direct impact on their individual and

business clientele include the Valparaiso, Crossroads, Duneland and Winfield Chambers of Commerce, Crossroads YMCA, TradeWinds, Opportunity Enterprises and United Way of Porter County. A great source of pride is the fact these lawyers—along with generosity of the firm’s administrative and paraprofessional staff—contribute thousands of pounds of food plus money to the Northwest Indiana Food Bank, the firm’s signature charitable beneficiary. As a result, BCC has been the recipient of the first-place award for food donations in the Indiana Attorney General’s “March Against Hunger” campaign for each of the last three years. Speaking of award winning, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine has recognized BCC as a leader among Northwest Indiana law firms with “Best of” awards in the areas of Business Law, Estate Planning Law and Litigation each and every year since 2010. ‘’The true value of such recognition is that it enables the firm to spread its influence in service to its clients across the broadest audience possible in Northwest Indiana and Chicago,” Carberry says. “This firm takes great pride in its heritage and continues to build on a great tradition in the practice of law by anticipating and responding to the changing needs of clients and the community.”


Luxurious, Convenient Newly Constructed Homes


Two great options welcome renters home in Highland


esigned and built for people searching for great comfort, privacy and convenience in a rental home, Embassy Place at White Oak Estates and Prairie Square, which is currently under construction nearby, are two of Northwest Indiana’s most distinctive places for renters to call home. Embassy Place offers well-appointed rental residences with a level of living normally associated with a luxury home. Exceptional amenities that are sure to impress even the most discerning resident include attractive brick exteriors, private and attached one-car garages, spacious bedroom suites with full baths, contemporary kitchens with microwaves, dishwashers, ranges and frost-free refrigerators with ice makers, utility/laundry rooms with full-size washers and dryers, fireplaces, sheltered balconies or patios, whirlpool tubs in select apartment homes, vaulted ceilings on the second floor only, smoke alarms and cable ready. Add to all that a great location near plenty of shopping, dining, service and entertainment options and this neighborhood, where residents take great pride in their homes, is truly unbeatable. Plus, you’ll enjoy a high caliber of maintenance with an on-site staff and 24-hour on-call emergency service. “We invite you to enjoy your own private world as part of White Oak Estates, the premier residential community in Munster and Highland,” property manager Joyce Koch added. “The White Oak Estates community features five landscaped lakes, three parks with over eight acres of dedicated park area, over twenty-seven acres of dedicated open space, and the stately architecture associated with the White

Oak Estates name. With a sidewalk walking trail system linking the entire White Oak Estates community, Embassy Place residents can enjoy the spacious open areas, recreational activities and architectural grandeur enjoyed by all residents of the White Oak Estates community. We take pride in providing our residents with communities in settings and locations where they will be proud to call home.” For more information on Embassy Place, visit Koch at 2219 Teakwood Circle in Highland. You can also call 219.924.6500 or 219.924.7163, e-mail or go to Taking premier rental living to the next level, Prairie Square is nearing completion at the corner of 45th Street and Prairie Avenue. Plans for Prairie Square include the following one-of-a-kind living amenities: gated access to the property, on-site fitness center, secured parking and bike storage, café, Clubhouse with free Wi-Fi and indoor/outdoor fireplace plus a mailroom. These modern rental units include elite finishes such as GE stainless style appliances, stone tops and wood-style plank floors. Washers and dryers are also included in these apartment homes. Deposits on these beautiful new contemporary apartment homes that start at $855 for a one bedroom, one bath on the main floor and range up to $1,145 for a two bedroom, two bath on the third floor with vaulted ceiling. For more information on Prairie Square, visit the leasing office at 2121 45th Street in Highland. You can also call 219.934.3420, e-mail: leasing@ or go to www. for a virtual tour.


You'll be mesmerized the moment you enter. Prairie Square features one-of-a-kind living amenities that include gated access to the property, on-site fitness center, secured parking and bike storage, café, Clubhouse with free Wi-Fi and in/outdoor fireplace and a mailroom. Prairie Square is your premiere destination for modern rental residences at an affordable price! • 1 and 2 bedroom units with 1 and 2 baths • Furnished units available

• • • •

Plank flooring Stone Countertops Stainless Steel Appliances Washer and Dryer in unit

2121 45th St., Highland, IN 46322 n (219) 924-3410

• All Brick • Attached Garage • 2 Bedrooms • 2 Baths • Fireplace • All Appliances • In-unit laundry room Rents from $1395 - $1425 per month.

2219 Teakwood Circle • Highland IN

(219) 924-6500

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 37





MUST BE A PREFERRED PET CLUB MEMBER. SIGN UP IN-STORE TODAY. IT’S EASY! May be redeemed at Valparaiso Pet Supplies Plus location only. One coupon per household please. No cash value. May not be used with any other offer. OFFER EXPIRES OCTOBER 5, 2014.

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Pet Supplies Plus has everything man’s best friend needs


VALPARAISO 2410 Laporte Ave. - 219.531.0622


PORTAGE - 6030 Central Ave. - 219.763.0697 38 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014


Pet Supplies Plus, Dyer

n 1988, Pet Supplies Plus opened their first location in Redford, Michigan and since then over 300 franchise and corporate-owned stores in 23 Midwest and eastern states have opened, including locations right here in Northwest Indiana, in Crown Point, Valparaiso, Dyer, and Portage. Tammy Quinn who owns the Valparaiso location with her husband Joey, and the Dyer location with her father, says that even though Pet Supplies Plus has grown by leaps and bounds, they still have a momand-pop approach that benefits the customers. “We’re not corporate and we like to be in our stores and work in the stores. Even though Pet Supplies Plus is a franchise, we are in the stores and see first-hand what the customers want and don’t want. We live in Valparaiso and like to see our neighbors coming in,” says Tammy. Quinn says they are different from other stores because they focus, not just the selection of specialty products, but also listening to the customer and what they need for their pets. “We try to focus on the customer and whatever we can do to make that customer happy. We will special order a product if we don’t carry it in the store. We will research to

see if it’s a product we can bring into the store, or we will offer the product to the customer on a weekly basis or as often as they need. All of our employees know they go to the customer as soon as they step in the store to see what they need, because our customers like to talk about their pets. Their pets are their family, so we want our employees to engage with the customer to discover their story. Pets are a member of the family. They are incredibly important, and it doesn’t matter if it is a hamster or a rat, pet owners will do anything for them,” says Quinn. Pet Supplies Plus maintains a stellar staff that is knowledgeable about products and addressing the needs of people’s pets. Quinn says, “Our store manager Brett Abatie does all of our hiring and he works hard to make them happy and keep them educated about new products. He will frequently have product reps come in and educate the employees so they have extra knowledge of the food and product, and he passes along his own information to the employees. He has been with us over ten years and all of our managers have been with us a long time and they are very good.”


Marina Shores boasts 255 boat slips at this serene waterfront community.


Experience vacation living every day at Marina Shores


ive the good life in a true boaters’ paradise right here in Northwest Indiana. Steiner Homes has partnered with Marina Shores at Dune Harbor to bring all new single-family homes plus one and two-story condominiums in a one-of-a-kind maintenance-free waterfront community loaded with resort-style amenities. Located along Highway 12, directly across from the Ogden Dunes South Shore line stop, which provides convenient service to downtown Chicago, Marina Shores is an exclusive development with plans for just 225 homes/condos with 255 boat slips that provide easy Lake Michigan access. Under new project manager Dave Bresnahan, this newly revitalized development has seen many changes to both the marina as well as the surrounding landscape. Along with naming Steiner Homes as the featured builder at Marina Shores, Bresnahan is also partnering with Michelle Golab, who recently re-opened Latitudes Waterfront Dining & Events, where guests are currently enjoying upscale family dining and a boaterfriendly lounge featuring fresh, new lunch and cocktail menus plus Sunday brunch with dinner hours starting midSeptember. Other additions and improvements include fully electric and WIFI connected floating docks plus the completely updated fitness center, clubhouse with shower/laundry facilities and outdoor heated pool. There’s also a convenient fuel dock plus Ship Store with select apparel,

merchandise, ice cream, beverages and snacks. Look for Steiner Homes to bring their distinctive style and sophisticated craftsmanship to Marina Shores with new models coming soon, including Nantucket and Newport Waterfront Condominium homes in eight-unit buildings. Single-family home lots start in the $60s and buyers have the option of customizing an existing plan or starting from scratch. “We know building a home can be a big task, and we do our best to make it as stress-free as possible,” Dan Steiner says. “A lot of customers walk through our homes and can’t believe what all they get for the price. We do our best to get competitive pricing so they can get more for their money, but, in the end, it’s our exceptional standards that really set us apart when it comes to building a home to spend the rest of your life in.” “We are introducing completely new plans for Marina Shores,” Dave Gring, who has been Director of Sales at Steiner Homes for 10 years, adds. “Everything we’re doing at Marina Shores is in keeping with our style – a bit of east coast shore and arts and crafts, just on lots that are a little different size than what’s typical in other Northwest Indiana communities – a bit more narrow and deeper. Our buyers typically spend a great deal of time on the Internet searching for what they really want in a new home. It’s our job to help them make their vision come to life, and that means we often incorporate quite a few unique amenities and products beyond the norm.”



Local real estate professional association upholds the industry’s highest standards


No better time than the present Buy a home | Sell a home | Become a REALTOR® Northwest Indiana, your forever home Contact a local REALTOR® today

Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® 800 East 86th Ave., Merrillville, IN 46410 219-795-3600 or 800-338-8489

40 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

uying a home can sometimes be a challenging process, but there’s a reason why homeownership continues to be the American Dream. Investing in a home can provide tremendous benefits throughout your lifetime. A home is where we make memories, build our futures and feel comfortable and secure. It is also one of the best ways for individuals and families to build financial security over the long term. Because buying a home is one of the most important decisions most people will make in their lifetime, there are a number of resources available to help navigate real estate’ every-changing climate. However, it’s important to always keep in mind that real estate is local, and the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) has the very latest local information, including real estate market statistics, region economics and community dynamics. In addition to providing helpful information for buyers and sellers that’s only a click away at, the professional association offers periodic homeownership-related seminars on timely topics led by industry experts. Along with local real estate brokers, GNIAR’s membership includes dozens of real estate-related affiliates. It’s important to work with a local real estate professional. A local real estate professional can provide valuable counsel, discuss listings, show you homes in person, negotiate on your behalf and help you stay focused on the emotional and financial issues that are most important. For example, once preapproved for a loan, buyers should consider what they need and want in a home. Whether it’s a certain number of bedrooms, a large kitchen, or to be close to schools or public transportation, a local broker can help you narrow down

IT’S IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL, AND THE GREATER NORTHWEST INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (GNIAR) HAS THE VERY LATEST LOCAL INFORMATION, INCLUDING REAL ESTATE MARKET STATISTICS, REGION ECONOMICS AND COMMUNITY DYNAMICS. what you’re looking for in a home and community. Along with searching for a broker online at, you can meet them at open houses, which are also advertised on the website. Open houses help buyers get a sense of what is currently available. When you visit, try to picture yourself in the home and whether it will continue to meet your needs in the future, since the typical owner stays in their home for nine years. Need a mortgage lender or home inspection specialist? GNIAR affiliate members specialize in areas such as appraisal, interior design, architecture, landscaping, insurance, moving & storage, insurance and more. Interested in becoming a professional real estate broker or broker? Recently there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who are interested in becoming the person who is making the dream of homeownership come true for people. With so many people considering the various aspects of real estate as a future career – whether full time or part time – GNIAR has the information they need to get started and thrive in the dynamic real estate industry. To learn more about the local real estate market, trends in our area, search for a Realtor or find a home, visit


Local owners make Lynn’s Bedroom City Northwest Indiana’s #1 sleep shop


amily owned and operated, Lynn’s Bedroom City wants you to visit one of their five conveniently located stores for quality bedding and furniture plus the information you need to make an educated decision based on your needs and budget – all with a more friendly shopping experience. “That’s what really makes us stand out in our customers’ minds,” owner Scott Lynn explains. “People also definitely appreciate the fact that they have a locally owned and operated option where their hard-earned money stays right here in Northwest Indiana. We live in the same communities, take our kids to the same schools, shop at the same grocery stores and eat at the same restaurants. It’s always nice when customers stop to say hello and share their story with me. That’s what we’re here for – to help them sleep better and enjoy greater comfort.” According to the Better Sleep Council, a good night’s sleep, just like proper diet and exercise, is essential to your mental, emotional and physical health. Although we spend 33 percent of our lives asleep, we barely give it much thought – until we can’t sleep, and then it becomes a point of obsession. “I would have to say that at least 80 percent of the people we see in our stores are not sleeping well for one reason or another,” Lynn adds. “Our goal is to fit their body and their wallet with the best possible option for their situation. That’s why we train our team to educate the customer. National chains train their people to sell, to get customers to spend as much money as possible once they walk in the door.” According to Lynn, there are different options for people with special support needs – those experiencing back, hip or shoulder pain for example – in a variety of price points. “We could sell high-end beds all day too,” Lynn explains. “But we prefer to walk people through the process, let them try two or three different beds, so we can narrow down their needs for support and comfort. Then we have a better idea of how to fit that with their budget. I think sales people get bad rap across the board, no matter what they are selling. At the end of the day, we are in the business of helping people get a better night’s sleep, and we are going to be right here

– living and working in the very same communities — to help them for years to come.” With a complete line of Serta and Tempur-Pedic mattresses, Lynn’s Bedroom City offers more options than a typical national chain as well. They also carry a large selection of high quality and competitively priced bedroom furniture. “Over the years, our customers have been asking for a one-stop shop for all their furniture needs,” Lynn says. “Our selection of bedroom furniture was a hit from day one, so we decided to add more options. Keeping in mind our customers desire for comfort, we started with a great selection of sofas, loveseats and chairs. Now we are an authorized retailer, dealer, reseller, gallery and distributor for a number of the finest home furniture manufacturers.” With the addition of their new Portage location, which the company built from the ground up using local union tradesman, Lynn’s Bedroom City included plenty of space to display a range of great furnishings for living, dining and working at home. “Customers have responded so well that we are now looking into expanding a few other locations to do more of the same,” Lynn adds. “Building the Portage store was a great experience for us. We learned even more about the importance of supporting the people who live and work in Northwest Indiana. We are proud of the new $1.5 million investment we have made here.” Lynn’s Bedroom City Store proudly carries and displays the finest furniture name brands for our customers in Merrillville, Schererville, Valparaiso, Portage and Northeast Indiana. We are Each brand we sell shares our philosophy of offering quality furnishings at an outstanding value. We invite you to come visit our great showroom, for the best selection and the best deals. Lynn’s Bedroom City has stores in Merrillville, Schererville, Valparaiso, and Portage Indiana and offers great quality furniture, at guaranteed low prices. Servicing Northwest Indiana areas such as Merrillville, Schererville, Valparaiso, Portage, Munster, Highland, Griffith, St. John, Crown Point, Dyer, Chesterton, and Hobart. Lynn’s Bedroom City is the place to buy Serta & Tempurpedic Mattresses in Northwest Indiana!


Visit us online at

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the only mattress specialty store where your money stays in nwi

Now Carrying Living Room & Dining Room Furniture At Our New Portage Store


2705 LaPorte Ave Next to Centier Bank





709 US 41

1649 E. 80th Ave.

6245 US Hwy 6




Next to Petsmart

Behind Pier 1

In Front of Lowes


1862 W 81st Ave 2 Miles West of 1-65


September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 41

HealthLinc provides reliable care in 6 locations


welve years ago, when asked if she knew anyone who might want to run a health center, Beth Wrobel replied, “Don’t look at me, I don’t like blood.” But Wrobel, who earned a mechanical engineering degree at Valparaiso University and had recently taken time off from a 22-year career at NIPSC0 to care for her father, was never one to shy away from a challenge. Wrobel signed on as CEO of Hilltop Community Health Center, part of the Hilltop Neighborhood House in Valparaiso, after learning it was transitioning to a state-funded facility. Later the name was changed to HealthLinc, with the “c” in HealthLinc representing HealthLinc’s commitment to community – something that will never change regardless of what their name is or how many clinics they operate. “I had some experience with major grant work at NIPSCO so I saw this as an opportunity to ‘re-engineer’ healthcare,” she says. “I was now in the business of keeping people well and improving the community’s quality of life.” With a focus on an approach that is

behavioral health consultants and support staff. We are all focused on providing integrated care for our patients,” Wrobel explains. “When I started here, there were three people on the senior management team – me, myself and I – plus a handful of employees. Now there are six Health Centers, a mobile school-based health center, and 250 employees. Sometimes I have to pinch myself; it’s been an amazing journey.” A self-proclaimed visionary who refuses JONATHAN MIANO to look at the barriers, Wrobel knows and HealthLinc CEO Beth Wrobel, left, U.S. Rep. Pete appreciates the value of a great staff. Visclosky, D-Ind., center, and East Chicago Mayor “When you surround yourself with the Anthony Copeland talk after a ribbon-cutting right people, you can get things done,” she ceremony for the new HealthLinc health center in says. “I travel to each site at least once a East Chicago. month to foster team building, innovation and outreach. The goal is to always get “not traditional,” HealthLinc strives to help a little better every day. Each one of our locations is so different.” people change behaviors to get healthy. “Anybody can use our clinics – my “We’re here to serve people without family goes to our Valparaiso clinic because a healthcare home, to help them stay I know they will receive high-quality care healthy as well as care for them when from our staff,” Wrobel adds. they are sick or injured. Our team of From the very first clinic in Valparaiso healthcare providers includes physicians, (Porter County), HealthLinc branched nurse practitioners and dentists, as well out to provide services in Michigan City as nurses, hygienists, medical assistants,

42 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

(LaPorte County), Porter-Starke (also in Valparaiso), Knox (Starke County) and Mishawaka (St. Joseph County). Most recently, they entered Lake County with an East Chicago location. “When we were celebrating the East Chicago grand opening, I told Mayor Copeland that we want to be the healthiest city in Lake County, and he shook his head,” Wrobel recalls. “So I said in the state, and he shook his head again. We agreed on becoming the healthiest city in the country. That’s the plan, and we will continue to focus on making those improvements necessary to get there. We know that’s not going to necessarily happen tomorrow, but we can all keep working together to get there someday.” In addition to providing quality, patient-centered, affordable healthcare, HealthLinc also has special “navigators” dedicated to helping uninsured and underinsured families and individuals determine their eligibility for insurance plans, support programs and sliding fee scales. HealthLinc wants to be the medical home for you and your family. Visit a location near you to learn more.


McShane’s provides essential business solutions


cShane’s began in 1921 as a stationery store in Hammond and has evolved into the largest independent office products and equipment dealer in Northern Indiana today. Brian McShane says that his family began the business with a foundation on helping their customers with affordable products and services. “My grandfather started the business and my brother, Niall, and I began working during high school and college. Because we are family oriented we care about the real needs of our clients and I think that makes us unique. We continually train our employees so we can better understand those needs and help find the best affordable solution. We are continually doing research, keeping us up to date on the latest technology and products. We have aligned ourselves with the leading manufacturers: Canon, Konica Minolta and Muratec and our 15 technicians are manufacturer trained and certified on the equipment we sell. There is so much to know about the products and services we sell and how they will impact our client’s bottom line,” McShane says. “The longevity of our employees shows

McShane’s whole team is dedicated to provide excellence for their clients. COURTESY OF BRIAN MCSHANE

loyalty and commitment to not only our company, but our clients. We pride ourselves on keeping the best employees and we have some who have been with the company for over 35 years. They genuinely like working here,” he says. The difference is felt by the client who continues to see McShane’s as an extension of their own business. He says, “I think our clients see the value


we provide. We keep them current on technology and help their employees be more productive. Some of these products are critical to their processes and can add to the capabilities of what they can offer their own customers. It is essential that our clients know they can rely on us. We keep adapting to the changes in our industry and continue to be a resource for the changes that lie ahead. We have done

a good job because our employees take it to heart to learn what the products can do. We do on-site repairs to the printers and multi-function devices with our coverage being from Chicago to Elkhart.” In addition to expertise on sophisticated office equipment, McShane’s also sells essential items like coffee, paper and office supplies. “We provide next day, desk top delivery with our own fleet and drivers who go the extra mile to deliver the product where the client requests it to go. We also sell a large quantity of janitorial supplies as that industry is changing. We allow smaller quantities to be ordered and also recommend a complete line of green products.” McShane’s continues to give back to the community in which they serve. McShane says, “We support local charities which is paramount to our culture here at McShane’s. We promote and donate to organizations like the Food Bank of NW Indiana, United Way of Lake and Porter counties, Trade Winds and about 100 other worthy causes. Giving back is important and every dollar our client spends locally really does make a difference.”

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 43

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New construction specialists Dawn and Aaron Collins welcome 2015 Parade of Homes to Brigata Hills


he Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana recently revealed they will be going back to a traditional single-site Parade of Homes next summer and introduced Valparaiso’s Brigata Hills as the host site. This popular annual consumer event gives people interested in building or buying a new home the opportunity to interact with the area’s top experts in the field. “The Parade of Homes typically showcases high-end designer homes, so Brigata Hills is an ideal setting for the HBA to once again feature the latest design and decorating trends, as well as new and sustainable building techniques and leading edge home technologies,” Dawn Collins, who along with Aaron Collins is broker/owner of Valparaiso’s Century 21 Executive Realty, says. “We are definitely looking forward to being a part of this prestigious event.” Offering exceptionally gracious living, Brigata Hills is ideally situated on the west/northwest side of Valparaiso at the intersection of 500 N and Froberg

Road, just five minutes from the city’s lively downtown. Reminiscent of the rolling Tuscan hills, this exclusive enclave of generous home sites and exquisite custom-built luxury homes radiates timeless appeal. “Brigata Hills offers a lifetime of privacy and distinction with an open rural feel, mature trees and impeccable landscape,” Collins adds. “We are proud to be the marketers of choice for this development and have forged key partnerships with a number of the area’s top builders, including Sommers Construction and Charlson Custom Homes, both preferred builders in Brigata Hills, among others including Sterling Homes in Sand Creek, Sunshine Homes in Sagamore and Cornerstone Construction in Edgewood.” In order to serve such a broad client base, the team at Century 21 Executive Realty is first and foremost devoted to serving the needs of buyers and sellers throughout Northwest Indiana. That starts with real-time, experience-based market knowledge and a 24/7 dedication to meeting all of their unique needs.

“Like Brigata Hills, the Century 21 Executive brand identity is on the luxury side of the business with people expecting a high-end approach to customer service, and we are dedicated to delivering that every minute of the day,” Collins adds. “We are extremely focused on immediate responsiveness both over the phone and internet. Our state-of-the-art Valparaiso office is driven by technology with a personalized team approach to customer service.” Along with a seasoned staff of brokers and agents, Century 21 Executive Realty also offers in-house Title through Fidelity and in-house lending. “We take pride in going the extra mile, making Century 21 Executive a one stop Real Estate shop,” Collins says. “Our promise to you is ‘smarter, bolder, faster.’ My team lives and works in this community. Not only are we real estate experts, we are committed to making a difference through our widespread TONY V. MARTIN participation and the many leadership Century 21 Executive Realty’s Aaron Collins and roles we have held in a variety of Dawn Collins are always working to find your charitable giving and civic organizations.” dream home.

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On 500 N, 1 mile East of 149, Valparaiso A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TIMES MEDIA CO.

September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 45

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46 | NWI Businesses You Should Know | September 28, 2014

A Special Publication of the times media Co.

Cover-Rite flooring provides expert service and beautiful work


hen the flooring in a home or business has such an impact on first impressions and comfort, it’s just essential to have the best products and the best-qualified installers of carpet and tile. And it’s a great deal when you can get all that at reasonable price points. Cover-Rite, a family-owned business in Highland, Ind., is the flooring business that residents and commercial owners have looked to for 40 years for its reliable and beautiful work. “My father started the business in 1974,” says Kevin Kolodziej, vice president. “In 1999 he asked me to join him and learn the family business. It was a good decision—I enjoy working with our Northwest Indiana customers and the design aspect of what we offer.” Cover-Rite carries a large selection of tile, carpet, wood, laminate, and luxury vinyl floors, as well as commercial products. Just walking through the 17,000-square-foot facility with all the newest colors and styles of flooring—the largest selection of flooring in northwest Indiana—will inspire ideas. Need flooring that will withstand high-traffic areas

and still look great? Want a fresh look for the kitchen, dining room, and living room? With more than 250 carpet styles, hundreds of tiles to choose from, and hardwood and vinyl floors, “The only problem is where to start!” says Kolodziej. “It’s always amazing, the speed at which style trends change. Just when you think there can’t possibly be another type of floor, there’s another really great, new product.” All the products at Cover-Rite are known and trusted brand names including Alexander Smith, American Showcase, Legendary Beauty, Softique®, Infinity Nylon Carpet Fiber®, Premier Stainmaster®, Mohawk, Shaw, Karndean, Armstrong, Congoleum, Legacy, Bruce, Teragren, Columbia and many more. The keys to long-lasting flooring that looks good year after year are quality products and professional installers. “Our installers are part of the business. They’ve been with us for years, so we choose which installer is going to every job to make sure the customer is satisfied. Our installer is the last person the customer meets who represents our company, so we are very selective in

whom we hire.” Cover-Rite installers have more than 450 years of combined experience! Cover-Rite professionals will come to a resident’s home and measure for a free estimate and consultation, for carpet, hardwood, tile, stone, ceramic, porcelain, granite, slate, laminate, vinyl, resilient, area rugs and window fashions. And for any customers needing cleaning of carpet, tile, or grout, Kristopher Kolodziej, Kevin’s brother and other business partner, takes care of that aspect of the business, with a solid five years’ experience providing excellent service. The selling style at Cover-Rite is courteous, and there’s real interest in helping customers find the product that fits their style and their budget. “We try to treat our customers as friends,” says Kolodziej. “We want to earn the trust of all our guests. We do not have hidden charges, or bait and switch selling styles. We just offer good products and service at a fair price.” That attitude began with Kolodziej’s dad. “My father instilled the trait in me of wanting to come to work each morning. He taught me the most


important part of the day is opening,” and with that good start Kolodziej gets installers and products to the job site. Unlike many companies, “Unless the customer requests for a specific installation time, we make them the first priority of the day—between 8:30 and 9 a.m.—not between 8 and noon.” Kolodziej says the people on his team are all different, “Which is good, since we have customers who have different personalities. But they all share a common trait: They are very eager to satisfy the customer. I found them through friends and referrals.” While spending time with his wife and three children is his favorite activity, Kolodziej says work is lively in fall and spring: “We have a national gold tag sales event in October and May to help kick off the seasons.” Kolodziej says he’d like to see people support family-owned-and-operated businesses, where the money spent stays in the community. “And you know it makes you feel good when you get the call from a satisfied customer who gives you a compliment.” Kolodziej smiles and says, “It lets us know we are Covering you Rite.”


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September 28, 2014 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | 47

Westland Kramer & Bennett offers personalized representation


he attention each client receives at Westland Kramer & Bennett is personal, whether it’s for a traffic ticket, criminal charges, personal injury, estate planning or corporate law. With decades of combined legal practice experience, the attorneys are recognized as trusted, skilled, and knowledgeable legal advocates for their clients and who strive to provide the peace of mind their clients need. “Our clients come back to us because of the level of service they receive here,” says attorney Nicole Bennett. “We return phone calls in a timely manner, we take the time to answer questions for whatever legal issue they’re dealing with. We let them know we’re here for them – it’s personal.” Bennett speaks with energy; even as a teen she wanted to be a lawyer. After law school she was deputy prosecutor in the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office for six years, has been in private practice for 10 years, and has been with Westland Kramer & Bennett for two-and-ahalf years. Her experience as a former deputy prosecutor provides insights from the “other side” that are invaluable

every step of the process. While most accident and injury cases are settled and don’t go to trial, for the ones that do, the firm protects the clients’ rights in court with thorough investigation and a passion to get the best compensation for the client. Are there ever surprises? Sure, Bennett says. “Honesty and trust between an attorney and the client is so important. You don’t want to find out later that the client didn’t tell you something that truly would have affected the outcome. That doesn’t happen often; we try to help clients TONY V. MARTIN understand we’re here for them. And we’re always grateful for their trust.” Jack Kramer, Nicole Bennett and David Westland The general practice located in Schererville, Ind., offers legal counsel to her clients. and peace of mind for individuals, With the firm serving Lake and families, and business clients. Changes Porter counties for a wide range of in the law go into effect July 1, so that cases, every day is different, though there’s one element that doesn’t change can be an interesting and busy time. for Bennett and the firm: her dedication “And at the beginning of the year, after the holidays, people tend to put things to providing the best legal counsel in perspective and seek our services — possible combined with compassion maybe prepare an estate plan, or take and relationship. “Everyone here is care of things they didn’t get to during dedicated,” and she explains that legal the year.” cases can quickly become complicated Bennett notes that even when people so the firm is with the client through

are charged in a criminal activity, they may also want guidance with how it affects their job or their family, their license, their liberty. “In fact, the new laws that allow for erasing a prior conviction have kept us very busy helping people get a new lease on life.” “We may help them with a decision that can have a significant effect on the family or job. That makes it rewarding — I really think that’s part of our role as attorneys. It’s not just the case itself.” Bennett recalls a former client who called her several years ago to thank her. The client had weathered the difficult case, graduated from college, and was doing well. “She was grateful for having been heard. That is more reward than any salary can provide,” says Bennett today. Away from work, family and personal time recharge Bennett’s energy. “My children’s sporting events are fun. And I do a lot of running, massage therapy, yoga, all to relax and take a break. I think we all need that.” Once she’s back at work, “I want to continue to grow. There have been a lot of changes in the law that affect a lot of people, and I want to help them.”

Providing Peace of Mind Just When You Need It David W. Westland, Jack A. Kramer, Nicole A. Bennett and Stephen R. Moell

Nicole Bennett, former Lake County Deputy Prosecutor, she knows the system!

Call 219.440.7550 • 141 West Lincoln Highway (Second Floor) Schererville, IN 48 | NWI BUSINESSES YOU SHOULD KNOW | September 28, 2014

Criminal Defense Personal Injury Estate Planning A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TIMES MEDIA CO.

NWI Businesses You Should Know  
NWI Businesses You Should Know