How Arbor Joe Sprouted
Raised as a farm kid in Wisconsin, Joe Scharf has always been an outdoor kind of person, which eventually led him to the horticulture industry. After an early career in engineering, he shifted gears into teaching English abroad to satisfy his own travel bug when an opportunity arose with a nonprofit Christian organization. When that arrangement ended, he returned to the States and happened upon an ad in a local paper listing gardening and horticulture classes being held by the county. He took the time to immerse himself in this 4-5 week training, which led to a job with an established tree service company in Wisconsin that trained him and supported him in getting certified.
Although Joe loved that position, he wanted to move to Chicago where much of his social life was. He took his experience to one more tree service company before finally opening his own.
While he was grateful for the opportunity to contribute to other tree service companies, he found that his personal standards for tree care could flourish better with a company he owned and operated. Thus, in 2012 Arbor Joe Tree Care LLC was born.
Arbor Joe Tree Services
Arbor Joe is based in East Dundee and services central Fox Valley Illinois. When you call on Arbor Joe, you don’t get a crew you’ve never met before working on your trees; you get Joe. He’s there from start to finish to see the project through, ensuring that the job is done according to plan and with the health of the tree in mind.
Here are some common services you can receive from Arbor Joe:
In addition to assisting local residents, Arbor Joe also services golf courses, providing inventory and assessment as well as tree care and maintenance.
What truly makes Arbor Joe unique as a tree service provider, outside the personal attention you get from Joe being directly involved in the project, is the high quality standards and advocacy for the tree. Joe cares about the health and preservation of your trees, as well as the aesthetic of the tree structure. In other words, not only will Joe keep in mind the health of your trees, he’ll prune them with careful regard to ensure you don’t wind up with a pest problem or an overgrowth issue.
When Can Arbor Joe Care for Your Trees?
One myth Joe wants to dispel is that tree pruning can’t be done in the winter. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.
“Trees go dormant in winter but Arbor Joe does not.” – Joe Scharf
Winter is actually the ideal time for tree care because when the leaves have fallen, it is easier to see the structure of the tree and to prune without the added volume of the leaves.
How to Schedule Tree Services from Arbor Joe
“I like "do it yourself" clients who are smart and aware that they should NOT try to be a climbing arborist, and hire me to do the "vertical work" and more complicated tree projects, BUT they take care of all the debris once it is safely on the ground.” – Joe Schar
“I also like to do Neighborhood Tree Lift Rental Projects, helping neighbors band together to save time and money. Given the choice, I prefer to prune the tree rather than remove the tree, unlike some of the other businesses you may find. However, I will listen closely to your needs and give you appropriate choices to aid in making your final decision.” – Joe Scharf
“We build custom pieces that no one can find anywhere else.” – Daniel Ordoqui, Owner of Reclaimed Freedom
Reclaimed Freedom specializes in building totally one-of-a-kind, handmade tables, built ins, epoxy river live edge tables, custom reclaimed mantels for fireplaces, personalized signs, barn doors, farmhouse tables, benches, basement bars, countertops, coasters, charcuterie boards and other furnishings. Customers can also visit his workshop by appointment to select reclaimed barn wood and lumber supplies for their own do-it-yourself project.
From Carpenter To Custom Furniture Builder
Daniel comes from a remodeling background, a career he enjoyed for 18 years. When he started remodeling his own basement a few years back, he ran out of barn wood and had to get resourceful. He stumbled on a Southern Illinois barn owner that was looking for someone to demolish his barn for him. Daniel volunteered for the job and, in return, got access to beautifully historic barn wood that he could use for his basement project.
It didn’t take long for word to spread and Daniel found himself taking down other barns in the Southern parts of Illinois and bringing truckloads of gorgeous lumber back with him.
He started to tinker with the materials he was blessed with, building custom furniture for his own home. As friends, family and neighbors discovered his incredible talents at crafting original pieces in a high quality long-lasting way, demand grew and Reclaimed Freedom was born.
Today, Daniel’s crew is booked 3 months in advance for custom furniture orders.
Repurposing Wood, Reclaiming History
Daniel wants customers to rest assured that no trees are being cut down specifically for their custom furniture, unless they specifically request store bought lumber. The wood Daniel’s team utilizes in their projects is reclaimed from old barns and dying trees that were removed by homeowners through tree services.
In fact, Daniel’s team typically tears down the barns themselves at the request of the barn owner and, as he shares, it’s something special to behold. Breaking down aged barns allows Daniel and his team to experience the incredible handiwork of carpenters from a time passed first hand – and this heritage is preserved in each custom piece designed for customers.
“We see the history and what went into it; how they build it (the barn), it's like walking into a time capsule.” – Daniel Ordoqui
The reclaimed wood is part of what makes each custom piece so special; there is a story behind the source of each item. It’s like bringing a part of history into your home and giving it a new chapter.
What’s more, because Daniel’s crew is usually responsible for the tear down and preparation of the wood, they are able to acquire materials at a much lower cost than traditional lumber companies; a savings that is passed on to his customers.
How to Begin Your Custom Furniture Project
Reclaimed Freedom services the entire Fox Valley area and beyond, with customers coming from Rockford and Chicago too.
Contact Daniel today to schedule a consultation to start imagining a set of custom reclaimed furniture that will be uniquely yours.
About Kitty Kaddy, the Assistive Pet Care Product Line
Kitty Kaddy products are designed to enable people who otherwise couldn’t have a pet to take care of one. The line is intended mostly for dogs and cats, including extended and easy grip feeding bowls, long handle scoopers and handled litter pan.
We make things that are really useful for people. Everything we manufacture are made in America. – Marsha Peters
When people lose the ability to bend, lift and kneel – whether permanently or temporarily – they also lose the ability to care for a pet. Yet with the Kitty Kaddy line of products that features extended and easy grip handles, pet owners can continue to care for their furry friends without physical harm or exhaustion.
An Unusual Invention Solves a Widespread Pet Care Problem
With the baby boomer generation aging more and more in their own homes, there is a far-reaching need for tools that make self-sufficiency possible. And while there are many products out there to help with individual self care, what has been missing are products to assist with pet care.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in 5 pet owners has a disability that may limit our ability to physically care for our pets. – Kitty Kaddy website
With kids and grandkids out of the house, many seniors find company among their furry family members. Unfortunately, caring for pets as people age can become challenging because it requires bending, kneeling and lifting.
This is precisely why Robert and Marsha’s Kitty Kaddy line of pet care assistance products has been such a hit with home health aids, hospice departments and orthopedics – it extends the years seniors can care for their animals.
Marsha even tells the story of one grandmother who was hospitalized with a broken hip. When her dog was taken to a shelter due to her condition, she told her family to just leave her at the hospital to die, saying that she didn’t have any reason to go on if her baby wasn’t waiting for her. She refused to get out of bad so they got her dog back.
Even seniors that have the advantage of home health aids can’t rely on these professionals for pet assistance because that isn’t part of their set of responsibilities. Kitty Kaddy is an affordable solution to this problem because it allows the pet owner to continue to care for their animals without bringing in expensive home pet care providers.
An Unusual Invention Solves a Widespread Pet Care Problem
Robert Peters has won two design awards for his product inventions, which have also been featured on Cat Fancy magazine. Discover an easier way for you or a disabled love one to care for pets at home and order online at KittyKaddy.com.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa to New Years and the Chinese New Years as well as other holiday traditions, residents of Fox Valley find themselves hunting down the perfect gifts and party resources. So this little guide highlights some local, holiday-related products and services available near you to keep in mind during this season of giving and celebrating.
Holiday Gift Ideas
All Natural Pain Relief & Anxiety Management
Studies are rapidly showing that all natural CBD oil (cannabidiol from hemp without THC) allows the body to experience relief from pain and mental ailments. Local provider CryBaby CBD offers the highest quality tinctures, gummies, roll on or balm sticks, body butters, soaps, bath salts and even pet treats for humans and pets in the Fox Valley area. Their products make loving gifts for family and friends and can be purchased online or in person.
Wine Bottles & Wine Tasting Experiences
If you love wine but haven't had a chance to visit 100 Grapes Wine Tasting Room in downtown St. Charles, now is a wonderful time to do so! Not only is their wine tasting experience down-to-earth and never intimidating, their wines are simple and delicious. This time of year they are hosting holiday-themed events, such as holiday art and sip projects, so check out the calendar on their website or Facebook page to attend one. They also offer gift certificates to allow loved ones to enjoy a flight, tasting or bottle of their own.
Snow Blower or Lawn Mower Tune-Up
If you're always stuck on what to buy for your dad, brother, husband or landscaping lady in your life, this could be the creative answer you've been looking for! Two Guys Small Engine Repair provides full tune-ups and repairs for household machines, such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, generators, leaf blowers, chain saws, weed eaters, tractors, trimmers and more. Which means, your loved one's favorite home maintenance machine will be in fine working condition when they're ready to use it.
Handcrafted Local Candles
Brook Crossing Candle Co. hand makes the most fragrant, long lasting candles you'll likely find in Fox Valley. Based in Geneva with the ability to hand deliver or ship locally, they offer individual candles or gift sets perfect for holiday gifts.
Have an athletic teen that's tough to buy for? Know an adult that wishes they could receive some personal nutrition and fitness guidance? Contact Joe Giustino of Speed School and Core Nutrition to purchase individual or group sessions.
Personalized Consumable Gifts
Up A Notch Gifts creatively crafts adorable, custom labeled consumable gifts, such as hot cocoa kits, chocolate bars, mints, hot sauce and more. Labels can feature names, holiday themes and custom messages.
Custom Reclaimed Furniture
Spouses and partners who want to "wow" their significant other with a jaw-dropping, yet one-of-a-kind gift will love the custom furnishings handcrafted by Reclaimed Freedom. Made from genuine reclaimed barn wood and lumber, Reclaimed Freedom custom designs epoxy river tables, bars, countertops, built ins, barn doors, mantels and more at affordable rates.
Holiday Party & Dinner Resources
Illinois Pastured Holiday Meat
Whether it's turkey for Thanksgiving or duck, chicken, lamb or pork, you can find Illinois pasture raised selections through the Timberfeast farm.
Mobile Premium Coffee Cart
Viator Coffee Cart brings their mobile coffee service directly to your party or event for guests to enjoy a premium, locally sourced coffee and espresso experience on site.
Live Event Music, Speaker & Entertainment
Whether it's for a corporate holiday event, private special occasion or end of year sales meeting, Gregory Hyde could be the entertainment you're looking for. Both a musician and business speaker with exceptional customer service and professionalism, he's the kind of performer you can count on to keep guests entertained.
Wine Tasting Parties
Another quick mention for 100 Grapes Wine Tasting Room as a resource for private events. 100 Grapes welcomes you to meet up with a small gathering of friends for a holiday wine tasting or to rent out the entire venue for a private holiday event.
Pursuing a Passion
When others started seeing her work surrounding her own branding, website and photography, they showed immediate interest in those skillsets so she shifted into that direction because it was her true passion and there was a need.
With branding, Justerica could combine her love of design with her skills in photography and business identity to help other small businesses develop their own branding.
Finding Her Tribe
Past experiences with an earlier business venture taught Justerica that knowing your target audience is essential to success, so she developed a laser focus on her ideal branding client right from the start.
Justerica works with female entrepreneurs, moms, creative artists, bloggers, boutiques and service based businesses such as hairstylists and make up artists. She does with work with men occasionally too.
Before she accepts a new client, she wants to meet by phone or in person to see what the vibe is to make sure it’s a fit. Through real conversations, transparency and honesty, she can determine whether she’s really aligned with a business owner before she takes on the tall task of helping them craft a cohesive brand.
She cares about her clients’ brand as much as they do, so she doesn’t just turn over graphics and photography for the client to fend for themselves. She not only helps her clients get involved in the creation of the brand, she also mentors them on managing their brand moving forward.
Working With Justerica
A highly talented musician, songwriter and singer, this extraordinarily resourceful artist has reinvented what it looks like to be an in-demand creative through diversification.
No one job title could fully sum up the wide range of skillsets Gregory Hyde brings to his humble performance arts company.
In the span of a single week, you could find him performing with his live band at a new venue, laying down another artist’s original tracks at his home recording studio and speaking from the stage at a corporate event.
From Musician to Multi-Talented Media Man
Of course, Gregory’s career didn’t start off this way. At first, he was just a talented singer and musician trying to find a way to bring his art into the world – and get paid for it. A story line many creative individuals can relate to.
But, over time, he realized he had so much more to offer. For instance? Professionalism.
As it turns out, not all musicians are particularly mature, well mannered or respectful of venues and events. Which leaves a lot of wide open opportunities for a guy like Gregory who knows how to keep a crowd thoroughly entertained without insulting corporations or doing permanent damage to a stage – which means, he gets invited back to a lot of places.
In time, Gregory’s talent and work ethic earned him the trust of local venues and referral business that kept his weekends and evenings packed with private parties and repeat public gigs.
Once Gregory’s performance schedule filled in, he started looking for ways to fill up his weekdays too. That’s when he realized he could parlay his experience with recording equipment into a side hustle. He built a studio at home and started helping other artists record their works locally and, voila, a second business venture was born.
The Artist Who Became an Author
Gregory’s determination to make a full time living as an artist and, as he shares, the unwavering support of his wife, resulted in a full time, well paying career as a musician – something most artists only ever dream of. Next thing he knew, he was getting invited to a music conference where someone suggested that he should write a book.
Taking up that advice and realizing that other performers struggled to accomplish what he has, Gregory decided to share his strategies in the aptly named book “Music Is My Day Job”.
Then someone recommended that he record his book, so he recorded it. Then another colleague suggested he narrate audio books, so he started doing voice over work.
Becoming an author and voice over artist organically led to even more entrepreneurial opportunities and streams of income, such as speaking engagements for business conferences and corporate events for big names like Samsung.
Surprisingly, he loved speaking, which has led to teaching and mentorship for other musicians as well.
Today, Gregory gets to do what he loves, help others be successful and earn a healthy living all while raising a family in Fox Valley. He’s proof that art can still pay the bills and satisfy your soul at the same time.
Book Gregory for Your Conference or Event
It was a perfect sunny Summer day when my kids and I met Farmer Quinton, the farmer behind Fulbuschel at the fresh farmer's market at Primrose Farm in St. Charles, Illinois.
We were there for the fresh, organically grown vegetables and made sure not to pass up the absolutely delicious locally grown green tomatoes (which we totally fried up in full on Southern style).
Farmer Quinton's produce was mouth watering. The tomatoes, potatoes, corn, lettuce and more exploded with flavor - the kind of savory you just can't get at a chain grocer. In season, it's definitely worth a trip.
But while we were there, Farmer Quinton also shared with us that they accept orders for pasture raised turkey from local Illinois farm Timberfeast. If you're thinking that nearby grocery chains are the only option available for Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas duck or Hanukkah roasted chicken or Holiday lamb, think again.
Timberfeast also offers eggs, wild salmon, stew meat, ground meat, sausage, bacon, bone broth and more.
Throughout central Fox Valley, from Elgin on down to Aurora, exist some of the most charming cafes and locations to escape the distractions of working from home and get productive - all operated by small business owners. Locations are added as we actually visit the spot and experience it for ourselves. If you see a location missing from this list, feel free to suggest it! (Keep in mind, we try to feature only small businesses and city-funded resources, not national chains and franchises.)
Places to Work Remotely in St. Charles, Illinois
This is an especially great spot for work-from-home moms who have toddlers to handle. Health conscious coffee lovers will appreciate the wide variety of natural options, such as stevia or honey as a sweetener and oat milk as a creamer. You'll also find a full selection of clean, nourishing breakfast and lunch items including the ever popular avocado toast.
St. Charles Public Library
1 S 6th Ave, St. Charles, IL 60174
The St. Charles library provides the quiet space and wifi you need to get a some laptop work done away from the house. As a member (it's free), you also get access to affordable on-site printing, computer classes, free business resources, meeting and study rooms and a fully separate children's library complete with sensory play area and reading stations.
Places to Work Remotely in Elgin, Illinois
Places to Work Remotely in Geneva, Illinois
22 N 3rd St, Geneva, IL 60134
The walk up bar at Nosh cafe and restaurant is a great spot to get a little work done while grabbing brunch. The menu is phenomenal, emphasizing unique twists on classic breakfast and lunch fare. Since this is primarily a restaurant, it's good etiquette to be mindful of taking up a seat when others are waiting. Save this resource for when you plan to order a meal and only be there for 90 minutes or less. It's also a great option for meeting with clients and colleagues while grabbing some grub.
Places to Work Remotely in Batavia, Illinois
Chapters Coffeehouse & Batavia Library
10 S Batavia Ave, Batavia, IL 60510
Tucked inside the Batavia Library and using the same parking lot, you can retreat to the library and grab a treat and cup of joe at the same time. The Chapters Coffeehouse is cozy and quaint with a very spacious patio with ample seating, a refreshing option in good weather. The indoor cafe has very limited seating, so you may need to set up shop inside the library itself.
Places to Work Remotely in West Dundee, Illinois
CRAFT Donuts + Coffee
124 W Main St, West Dundee, IL 60118
Craft Donuts & Coffee is a sweet urban spot tucked away in a row of downtown West Dundee buildings just off the Fox River. Here you'll satisfy all those rich cravings for comfort food with their small batch handcrafted doughnuts while sipping on craft brewed java. The space offers plenty of bench style seating and table and chair arrangements. With classic pendant lights, exposed brick walls and modern kitchen tile, it has an urban, historically-inspired, yet modern ambiance.
What’s Different About Brook Crossing Candles
Brook Crossing Candle Company is a local business that handcrafts soy and paraffin wax candles that are truly unique in several ways:
Ah the sweet scent of a fresh burning candle! Not all candles are created equal when it comes to strength of fragrance, but Brook Crossing has made this a priority. Their products releases a generous aroma that quickly fills the room.
“Once you burn it you’ll fall in love. There’s a melting pool on every candle that throws out the fragrance. Our candles have a scent all the way to the bottom.” – Dave Hornik, “the candle guy”
With fun names like Almond Brothers and seasonal varieties such as Caramel Corn and December Morning, there are fragrances for every preference. Brook Crossing even offers a deterrent to pesky mosquitos with their Bug Off citronella outdoor candle.
Have you ever felt baffled by that excessive dip in the middle of your candle and wondered why it won’t simply melt evenly across the surface?
“If you ever get a dip when you’re burning your candle or a heavy residue left on the sides, it means it’s the wrong wick for the wax, however, you will not see this when burning a Brook Crossing Candle.“ – Dave Hornik, "the candle guy"
Brook Crossing crafts each candle to be as clean burning as possible to prevent those dips, residue and soot.
Additionally, Dave Hornik advises that you should always cut your wick down to ¼” before lighting your candle every single time. This will also improve how well it burns.
With rising retailer costs, it’s challenging to find a high quality candle for a reasonable price. Brook Crossing is changing that. They produce a superior candle that’s still within reach for customers.
Brook Crossing candles are totally consumable because when the candle has been used, the glass container and metal lid can be recycled for a zero waste experience.
In addition, they also offer soy candle products for those customers that prefer a plant based wax.
Finally, Brook Crossing is a local company based on Geneva, IL here in Fox Valley so every purchase you make supports the small business economy in our local community. Customers are invited to pick up orders to save on shipping expenses.
Brook Crossing Candle Co. will personalize bulk candle purchases with custom labels printed with the names, dates, logos and more. Here are a few ways customers utilize custom labeled candles:
The Birth of Brook Crossing
Dave Hornik was making candles way back when he was a kid. In 2011 he picked his old hobby back up again when he was searching for a more personalized Christmas gift. Soon enough, a pastime turned into a science and Dave found himself playing around with fragrances and materials to craft the perfect candle.
Dave had always wanted to own his own business, but balancing his passion project with a full time career had its challenges. So in 2019 he left the corporate world to run Brook Crossing Candle Co. full time.
A Candle for the Community
Word of mouth is the number one way Brook Crossing has grown. People love this candle.
In addition to selling their through a handful of select boutiques and craft shows, Brook Crossing offers their candles as a fundraising product to help students at high schools like Plainfield East High School fundraise for things like English trips, sports teams and the theatre program.
How to Order Your Candles
Candles can be shipped directly to your home or place of business and are also available for local pickup by appointment in Geneva, IL. Simply visit their online store at https://www.brookcrossingcandlecompany.com.
Want to purchase a bulk order of candles as a gift or party favor? Contact Brook Crossing Candle Co. through their website.
Meet 2 Guys Mobile Small Engine Mechanics
Gunnar will tune-up and/or fix your push or riding lawn mower, snow blower, leaf blower, power generator, line trimmer, chainsaw, tiller, ice auger, cut off saw, pressure waster, stump grinder and more. He works with homeowners, property maintenance companies, farmers and exterior contractors like landscapers, asphalt companies and snow removal businesses.
Mobile Repair vs. Dealer Service
Why not just take your equipment to the nearest dealer or equipment shop for service? Why not just call that guy on Facebook or Craigslist who's really an auto mechanic but says he can fix small engines too?
Here are 5 good reasons to consider 2 Guys Mobile Small Engine Repair instead: