The City of West Chicago is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Brilliance in Business Awards. Earlier this year, the City made some changes to refresh the program, and one of them was to incorporate peer judging of the nominated businesses. Following the deliberations of the panel of five judges, which included representation from Choose DuPage, Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, and two local business owners, four West Chicago stand-out businesses were chosen for the honor: Evo Exhibits, Gloria’s Jewelry, Salud Dental, and Wise Plastics Technologies. The businesses represent the “best in class” for outstanding growth, downtown entrepreneurship, and small business model.
Award recipients will be recognized at the City of West Chicago’s City Council meeting on Monday, December 5, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. This year awardees will also enjoy a business site visit and meet-and-greet with Mayor Ruben Pineda; and an invitation to the first annual Brilliance in Business Awards breakfast.
“I look forward to celebrating the success of this year’s business award recipients at the December City Council meeting,” said Mayor Pineda. “I am also excited about making site visits to tour the facilities and meet and congratulate the many people who work behind the scenes and contribute to the success of the business”, he added.
According to West Chicago Business Development Coordinator, Luis Martinez, judges were in unanimous agreement based on compelling evidence presented to award two of the nominated businesses in the Outstanding Growth category.
Evo Exhibits – Outstanding Growth
Evo Exhibits, located at 399 Wegner Drive, was founded in 2009 and has since been on a trajectory of noteworthy growth. It began with an idea – selling kits from various manufacturers to trade show exhibitors and special event coordinators looking for products and services to help promote and differentiate their business or special events. The company operated out of co-founder Kent Jean’s basement until 2010 when it moved to a 3,800 square foot office in Itasca.
By 2011, the company added graphic design services, as well as introduced rental exhibits, prompting a need to add warehouse space. True to its name, Evo continued its evolution to accommodate its customers’ growing needs, and by 2013 moved to a 50,000 square foot facility with an on-site fabrication shop and loading docks in West Chicago. Today, its creative products range from portable displays, to showroom environments, to full custom exhibits and large rental inventory. Evo services its clients worldwide with show labor, shipping, furniture/carpet and A/V rentals replete with program management, exhibit storage and asset management.
In 2013, Evo was welcomed into Inc. Magazine’s prestigious 5,000, an exclusive group of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company has continued to be listed for the next three consecutive years. It shares the distinction with other notable businesses such as Intuit, Zappos, Jamba Juice and more.
“As one can imagine growth in any industry is a challenge but Evo Exhibits has progressively expanded internal operations to accommodate for client needs, increased its professional workforce, and continues to contribute meaningfully to West Chicago”, said Luis Martinez, City of West Chicago’s Business Development Coordinator.
Wise Plastics Technologies – Outstanding Growth
The addition of a 100,000+ square foot world-class manufacturing, assembly and warehousing facility (Plant 2) at 1601 W. Hawthorne Lane by Wise Plastics Technologies in November 2015, is a great milestone to an overall upward path of growth for the company which was founded in 1974 and which is headquartered in nearby St. Charles.
The centerpiece of the new West Chicago facility is a 20,000 square foot environmentally controlled assembly room that can be configured to support manual, semi-automated and fully automated assembly processes. Additional operations in West Chicago include plastic injection molding, raw material storage and finished goods warehousing and distribution. Wise serves many markets, including medical, automotive, appliance, military, lighting, and consumer products. It is very proud of the fact that it still supplies its very first customer from 1974. It credits its business model, which includes ownership’s commitment to continuously reinvest in employee development, technology, equipment and infrastructure in order to maintain the competitive edge it enjoys in the industry.
“In economic development terms, the creation of nearly 100 jobs many of which were filled by West Chicago residents, the construction of an innovative production facility, and the achievement of consecutive double-digit revenue growth are achievements to be recognized and celebrated,” commented Martinez.
The new jobs include machine operators, assemblers, technicians, warehouse workers, engineers, and various supervisors, managers and clerical support staff.
Gloria’s Jewelry – Outstanding Small Business
Gloria’s Jewelers, at 178 W. Washington Street, has been a staple of the West Chicago retail community for 25 years. The successful family-owned business began with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and love of jewelry. It has secured a tremendous reputation in the community and beyond through combining the two hallmarks of a treasured downtown small business: quality and personal service. It credits word of mouth referrals for continued growth of its customer base.
Gloria’s Jewelry has created a niche in design and repair, with many of its showroom pieces being made in-house. It is one of the few stores of its kind that maintains a watch smith and jeweler on the premises every day for customer convenience. The family is dedicated to the belief that quality jewelry is meant to last not only a lifetime, but for generations.
This year, Gloria’s Jewelry implemented full in-house CAD design, with the equipment needed to produce the most intricate and detailed pieces its customers could imagine. Staff does everything from in-house design to molding, casting and stone setting to produce one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
“Gloria’s Jewelry is a quintessential example of how small, family-owned businesses, through quality products and good customer service, can build a loyal customer following and thrive. We commend Gloria’s 25 years of service to the residents of West Chicago and to the vitality of downtown West Chicago, and acknowledge the hard work that it has accomplished in order to reach this milestone”, said Martinez.
Salud Dental – Outstanding Downtown Entrepreneurship
Downtown entrepreneurship is essential to a vibrant community. Retail, restaurant and service businesses that locate downtown provide residents and visitors reasons to visit the heart of the community, ensuring a community’s individual identity and personality and offering a unique business setting.
Salud Dental is one such business, a healthcare business located at 334 S. Neltnor Boulevard that has brought new energy to the east gateway of West Chicago’s historic downtown. Dr. Hiren Patel, DMD, explored several neighborhoods before choosing West Chicago. According to the practice’s website, he chose to practice here because of his belief in providing state of the art, relationship-based, comprehensive care that is tailored to fit into the lives and budget of his patients.
Salud Dental’s focus is in providing outstanding dental care, creating awareness for maintenance and preventative treatment, and alleviating some of the fear that is sometimes associated with a visit to the dentist. Within seven months of opening its doors, the West Chicago practice has welcomed more than 500 patients to its facility. The trained staff is also making continuous efforts towards bringing local awareness through community dental services in local schools and healthcare facilities.
“We commend Salud Dental for its excellent service and for attracting over 500 patients since opening its doors earlier this year. The investment in its business and in our community contributes to the overall quality of life for residents, visitors and other local businesses”, said Martinez.
The annual Brilliance in Business Award Program, created in 2009, is the highest honor given by the City of West Chicago in recognition of exemplary and innovative business practice. It aims to acknowledge the specific efforts businesses make towards achieving their goals and the positive impact they have on the community. The program highlights and acknowledges successful initiatives, projects, ventures, business models, and practices that continue to enhance the West Chicago business environment and further the community’s economic development goals. The Program brings to the forefront the level of diversity, creativity, and corporate citizenship that epitomizes West Chicago Business.