On Religion, The Media and Life as a 20-something in Chicago

As a winery, Village Vintner was going to close up shop after six years on Randall Road. In fact, owner Steve Boyer closed the Carpentersville winery on Dec. 31, blaming his drop in production on the gloomy economy. “But,” he said, “I’ve been watching, and restaurants have been doing pretty good.” Plus, he added, “Microbreweries are big right now all over the U.S.” And that makes it the perfect time to uncork an idea he’s been aging a while: a restaurant with its own winery and microbrewery. That was his original concept for Village Vintner, he said, but he lacked the experience to run a restaurant. Enter some private investors and his brother Bob Boyer, who previously ran a 300-seat restaurant. The new Village Vintner Restaurant, Winery & Brewery, is expected to open in April at 2380 Esplanade Drive, right off Randall Road in Algonquin. That will make it just the third combination winery and brewery in Illinois — and the only one in the Chicago area, Boyer said. Despite what you’ve heard about the economy, some businesses across the Fox Valley are doing well — even expanding. That comes as business owners adjust to “the new norm,” according to Melissa Hernandez, executive director of the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s actually a really a good time to expand,” she said, “because you can get into a new location much cheaper than you could five years ago or even five years from now.” And the conversation Hernandez has heard in 2011 has changed in the last couple years. “People are more willing to barter. People are more wiling to be creative. It’s almost like we went back to basics.” Business owners still are nervous, she admitted. Five years ago, the good times were good enough to sustain business through the bad. And Patrick Skarr, vice president of advocacy at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, agrees that “there’s still a lot of uncertainty out there,” based on this year’s elections. That will impact employment costs, regulations and taxes, he added. Health insurance, payroll taxes and provisions in the Affordable Care Act are coming, and no one’s sure exactly how that will affect the cost of doing business. Still, Skarr noted, “One of the big things we’ve heard from our members is that things have kind of stabilized over the past year.” That includes government budgets and financing with banks. “That optimism is carrying over as we look to 2012,” he said. For the rest of the story, visit The Courier-News. Photo: Andrew Nelles for Sun-Times Media.

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Storyteller: Fox Valley businesses expanding as frozen ecomony thaws (Sun-Times Media)

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