Allied Air Conditioning & Heating corp.
Palatine-based Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corp., which also has an office in Libertyville, is the only Illinois Carrier dealer to win the Carrier President’s Award for 10 consecutive years. Allied has been a Carrier dealer for over 40 years.
Founded in 1969 by Greg Budinger and Brent Bauer, who met while working for Parker Hannifin, a Chicago controls manufacturer, Allied grew steadily throughout the 1970s and 1980s, acquiring a Libertyville-based competitor during the 1980s in order to expand their reach.
Today Allied’s Palatine office is led by Greg’s son, Kevin Budinger, a graduate of Northern Illinois University. He has been involved in the business since 1992. From the Palatine and Libertyville offices, Allied’s 54 employees service residential and light commercial customers’ air conditioners, furnaces and boilers from the Wisconsin border to Naperville. They also install furnaces and air conditioners in new construction.
“What sets us apart from our competition is our product knowledge, experience, commitment to customer service and our ethical behavior,” Kevin said. “Most of our employees have been with us more than 10 years.”
The business motto “‘Treating your home as part of our family since 1969’ is our commitment and promise to our customers,” Kevin said. “By treating customers with honesty and respect, our goal is to be the company about which our customers want to tell friends and neighbors.”
Eric Marzinke and his father, Walter, opened ProMark Planners, a financial planning advisory business, in Palatine shortly after the turn of the millennium (July, 2000) and it has been growing like gangbusters ever since.
“We have been helping individuals, families and small business owners from all over the Chicagoland area invest and plan to the future for 18 years,” Marzinke said.
The elder Marzinke, an immigrant from Germany, worked as a district manager for AXA Equitable Life Insurance during the 1990s before going into the financial planning business with his son. He passed away in 2016.
“We have always encouraged prospective customers to stop in and see how we do business – at no charge. We aim to be a part of the team that helps them steer their ship and reach their goals, and to accomplish that we take a holistic planning approach,” he said.
“We work with them to plan their retirement by using investment tools and strategies that will protect what they have already earned and further build it up as time goes on,” Marzinke said. “To accomplish this we like to meet personally with our approximately 250 clients a couple of times each year and we tell them to call us anytime they have a question or concern.”
The advice they offer depends on the stage of life of the client and how comfortable they are with the various financial markets. Those in their early 30s can handle a little more risk than those in their 60s who should be protecting their assets with a more balanced portfolio consisting of both stocks and bonds, he noted.
“Each client has a different appetite for risk, but some exposure to equities is good for everyone,” Marzinke added. “It is a good way for people to keep in front of inflation. We actively work to help our clients capture lost opportunities.”
But what makes ProMark Planners unique, according to Marzinke, is the fact that they actively work to talk to clients on their unique level of understanding – not over their heads. “I try to paint my clients pictures and tell them stories in order to make clear the concepts I am explaining.”
Marzinke is joined in the office by his wife, Karen, and his assistant, Terry Ihm.
City Limits Harley Davidson
Perched on the edge of high population suburban areas, close to the Lake County line, City Limits Harley Davidson at 2015 N. Rand Rd. in Palatine has found the perfect place for their motorcycle dealership.
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts find their way to City Limits every day to purchase or rent a Harley Davidson motorcycle; to purchase Harley Davidson clothing and giftware; to learn to ride safely; to participate in a cross-country group tour; or even to store their motorcycles during the cold and snowy months.
City Limits is part of the 18-dealership Windy City Motorcycle Company and the affiliated Milwaukee Motorcycle Company.
“This is a great location. It is close to the city, but if you go just a couple of miles north or west, you are in the country where you can really enjoy riding,” said Rob McIlrath, general manager. “We do lots of rentals to people who don’t have enough free time to justify owning a bike, but want to get out and enjoy riding occasionally.”
Palatine has been home to a Harley Davidson dealership for about 30 years. Originally known as Suburban Harley-Davidson, it was sold 11 years ago and then moved to the current state-of-the-art facility seven years ago. It draws scores of customers from the surrounding communities, as well as from Palatine itself.
“We always have about 200 motorcycles in stock, but through our other dealerships we have access to 2,000 motorcycles at any given time,” McIlrath said.
City Limits sells not only motorcycles, but also parts, after-market items and accessories and riding gear. They also service motorcycles and teach new and prospective owners how to ride correctly. In fact, new owners are generally able to earn their motorcycle license within one week.
“Harley Davidson is very much a lifestyle – a brotherhood and sisterhood,” he said, “and we work hard to cater to people who enjoy the Harley Davidson way of life.”
Long-distance trips are often part of the overall cycling experience, so City Limits plans trips along Route 66, all the way to Santa Barbara, California, around Lake Michigan or even to the massive motorcycle rally held each summer in South Dakota. “Many from Europe even travel here and rent one of our motorcycles to tour the United States,” McIlrath said.
Those who choose to store their motorcycles out of the weather at City Limits during the winter pay a $300 storage fee for the season. In fact, the dealership annually stores over 700 motorcycles, McIlrath said. “But those who spend money on parts, clothing and service during the winter can earn credits on their winter storage, potentially getting that storage free.”
City Limits is active in the Palatine business community through its membership in the Chamber and by having a presence at community events like the Fourth of July festival.