The Green Oaks-Libertyville-Mundelein-Vernon Hills area is brimming with a myriad of businesses, providing excellent products, services and resources for the everyday needs of residents and local businesspeople.
Dr. Sean Walker realized a dream when he opened his Optimize Chiropractic office at 1746 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, in May 2017. The Strum, Wisconsin, native had longed to live in the Chicago area, so he and his wife, Katie, moved here in late 2016 and began searching for an office space.
Prior to embarking on his Illinois adventure, Dr. Walker received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, followed by his Chiropractic degree from Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa. While there, he worked as the head intern in the Troxell Intern program where he practiced the full spine Gonstead Chiropractic method.
“I serve to help whole families adapt better and have an optimal life experience,” he said. “I have even learned Spanish to better serve the Lake County area.”
Dr. Walker learned the value of chiropractic care after he suffered an injury while playing basketball. It was a chiropractor who brought him relief and allowed him to compete again.
After graduation from chiropractic school, Dr. Walker spent nearly three years serving with his mentor, Dr. Lyle Koca, in Omaha, Nebraska, before making his long-awaited move to the Chicago area.
Interestingly, Dr. Walker joined the GLMV Chamber before he even opened his doors.
Mickey Finn’s Brewery
Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville led the craft brewery charge in Illinois, opening in 1994. It was the first facility of its kind in the state and next year will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Since 2004, Mickey Finn’s has been owned by Brian Grano who moved it to 345 N. Milwaukee Ave. – a vintage 1917 auto repair garage – in 2014.
The brewery makes a wide variety of beers that rotate through the pub. There is the Double IPA Pineapple Express, the 847 Wheat Ale, the Amber Ale and – during the holidays – Santa’s Magic, a Belgian strong ale. Currently they are available for consumption in the pub or take out using 64-ounce growlers. Soon, however, Grano plans to start canning his brews so people can purchase them in more manageable portions.
Mickey Finn’s has indoor seating for about 220, as well as a beer garden. It features an urban industrial look with a concrete floor, brick walls and a high barrel roof with exposed rafters.
Meals served range from burgers and wings to pizza and salads, all of which get rave reviews. So it is a popular destination for corporate groups, bar crawls, bachelor parties and families/dates. Many also choose to work there on weekday afternoons because it has very fast WiFi.
The Print Refinery at Click Incorporated
Most people have stacks of old VHS tapes they recorded of their family years ago, albums of photos and much more personal memorabilia that they would like to preserve for posterity. Most are stuffed in drawers or piled up in closets, precious but unwieldy.
Six years ago two former Wolf Camera managers, Nick Gillenwater and Mike Magee, teamed up to meet the ongoing imaging needs of Lake County, transferring those old photos and VHS tapes onto more modern, fluid technology (i.e., flash drives, cloud computing). All of the work is done in-house for added security.
For the first five years, the business was known as Click Incorporated but recently they re-branded to “The Print Refinery at Click Incorporated.” Their office is located at 1000 N. Butterfield Rd., Ste. 1025 in Vernon Hills. It is the only business of its type in Lake County and they charge by the hour for video/photo conversions.
“Our tagline is ‘We Print Anything on Everything,’ which means that in addition to converting old photos and videos for safekeeping, we print posters, signage, business cards, checks, door hangers, rack cards, window signs, trade show materials and promotional pieces,” Gillenwater said.
They offer free pick-up and delivery within a 10-mile radius for those with orders of $100 or more.
Lakes Apothecary opened in Mundelein in fall 2017 after pharmacist Byron Strakusek grew weary of working for a big box store’s pharmacy.
After 10 years of working in that environment, he had tired of the corporate limitations and wanted to run his own shop. So, Strakusek chose to open a Health Mart-affiliated pharmacy in his hometown, at 404 N. Seymour Ave.
Lakes Apothecary fills and compounds prescriptions for both humans and pets and it sells over-the-counter remedies, vitamins, topical creams and ointments, compression stockings, ace bandages, braces and other items to help residents stay as healthy and active as possible.
“We are growing and adapting to the community and seeing what they need. We offer vaccinations, provide drug disposal facilities and take insurance,” Strakusek said. “We also work with people who are looking for alternative medications and more cost-effective solutions and we won’t stop searching until we find a solution. Little-by-little, by word-of-mouth, we are convincing people to try us.”
“It’s so nice to feel like we are being taken care of by someone who genuinely cares. Byron and his assistants are the perfect example of why it’s so much better to shop small and local. We are fortunate to have them,” Catherine Swanson-Flauter wrote on the Apothecary’s Facebook page.
Aspen Landscapes, Inc.
Aspen Landscapes, Inc., based at Route 60 and Fairfield Road in Grayslake, has been a part of the Lake County business environment since Steve Policht, an Antioch resident, and Todd Felinczak, a resident of Libertyville, joined forces in 1996 to start the enterprise and work for themselves.
Today they employ 25 people and dedicate themselves to designing outdoor environments – both landscapes and hardscapes (patios, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, walls etc.) – and then maintaining them moving forward – if they are located nearby. In the winter, they snowplow for many of their local clients and plan client landscapes in advance of spring.
“Our maintenance guys handle spring clean-ups, weekly mowing, fall clean-ups, bush trimming, aeration and fertilizing,” Policht said. He and Felinczak design both landscape and hardscape jobs.
“We do installations throughout Lake County and northern Cook County, including Chicago. In fact, we have done some on Navy Pier and at the new Theater on the Lake on Lakeshore Drive,” Policht said.
Hansa Coffee Roasters
Hansa Coffee Roasters, 755 N. Milwaukee Ave., is a specialty coffee roaster/retailer based in Libertyville, with additional shops in Lake Bluff and Highland Park. Since 2013, they have specialized in wonderful coffees sourced from small, quality-focused families and cooperatives around the world and have showcased them in the seasons they are at their freshest.
The enterprise is owned by Kevin Kane and Tom Maegdlin, former bankers who became disillusioned with financial services and chose to dive into the coffee business, which Maegdlin knew well from his younger years.
Maegdlin focuses his efforts on the coffee while Kane handles the customer service side of the business.
“We strive to make sure that the 10 minutes a customer spends in our shop is the best ww10 minutes of their day and, as a result, we have become a community meeting place – just like in the old ‘Cheers’ television show,” Kane said. “Our shop is a place where the normal barriers between people of all ages break down. They meet people here whom they probably wouldn’t meet anywhere else and that builds a sense of community.”
The Hansa coffee roasting and wholesale business takes place in Libertyville, too, in a structure right behind the shop. In fact, they provide coffee and brewing equipment to some of the best restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and churches throughout the Chicago area.
Joseph’s Associates, Incorporated
Joseph’s Associates has been a part of major social events all over Lake County, southern Wisconsin and beyond for 56 years. They have created centerpieces (both floral and non-floral), décor of all descriptions and have helped hosts deal with finding caterers, tent suppliers, party planners and others who will contribute to each event’s success.
Those events have ranged from relatively small birthday parties to galas for up to 1,500 people and in between there have been many weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties and more. During 2017, Daniel Dugo, owner with his sister, Christy, estimates Joseph’s Associates handled arrangements for between 100 and 150 such events, sometimes as many as nine in a weekend.
“And we also do the normal floral arrangements that other flower shops do, too,” Daniel said.
Opened in 1962 and run for years by Joe and Joan Dugo, the parents of today’s brother-sister team, Joseph’s Associates opened in Lake County because that is where the Dugos lived and Joe had grown tired of commuting to Chicago.
Today the shop employs 14 full-time designers and regularly hires free-lancers and laborers to help them deal with the events on their docket.
“Our aim is to wow guests when they walk into the room where our arrangements are displayed,” he said.
Joseph’s Associates is located at 1022 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville.
The Stokovich family has specialized in the care of aging senior citizens for 70 years – the past 40 years of which has taken place on a large tract in Libertyville, according to Michael Babicz, marketing director. Brothers John and Milan Stokovich oversee Libertyville Manor Caring Community while their cousin, Olga Bjernes, is Young At Heart Preschool administrator.
They are licensed to care for 174 individuals who are in need of independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and rehabilitation. In recent years, they have been progressively renovating and updating the one-story, four-wing facility.
While most residents are 55 or older, they can also handle younger rehabilitation patients who have suffered a stroke or heart incident. Short-term respite for patients whose care-takers want to vacation and senior day care seven days a week for those whose families need to work is available.
Libertyville Manor also houses an on-campus day care for children, ages five weeks to six years, Monday through Friday. There is constant programming and two meals a day plus a snack, cooked and prepared on site. The pre-school offers a unique intergenerational program through which the children interact with the elderly.
The campus offers a variety of free public programs and facility rentals in the giant atrium. Residents enjoy many indoor activities, musical programs and planting raised gardens.Whimsy
Your imagination is virtually the only constraint when ordering sculptured balloon creations from Holly Nagel’s balloon art studio, Whimsy, based in Lake Villa. She is known for using balloons to make everything from large sculptures (like the Tyrannosaurus she made for the Field Museum) to table centerpieces of all sizes and descriptions. Her customers range from Fortune 500 corporations to non-profits to individuals.
Creating balloon art since 1998, Nagel was the then-frenzied mother of a two-year-old which prompted her to take an after-work clown class and then her creativity took over.
Today she not only runs Holly Nagel Entertainment (for programs) and Whimsy (for deliveries, décor), but also tours the country, educating corporate conference attendees about creative problem solving and nonverbal communication using, of course, balloons.
“Balloons are a joy,” she said. “I was fortunate that they came into my life when they did.”
Today she has assistants who help her create unimagined delights for her clients. For instance, a two-story Jack in the Beanstalk was installed at an area school which stayed in place for over two weeks.
Whimsy also offers a subscription service. Businesses and individuals can sign up to receive balloon art periodically throughout the year – using them to add holiday flavor to any office, home or business.