Family-Owned Showroom Keeps it Local
authors Ashley Lapin Olian
Glenview, IL — It has been four years in the making, but Alex and Renata Gherghiceanu have finally made their dream come true: Their family-owned business opened its first showroom earlier this year, with a focus on supporting local suppliers.
The owners of Glenbrook Remodeling held their showroom grand opening on January 14, 2016, hoping to bring in not only potential customers, but also the local community.
Several years ago, the Glenview residents decided to open a showroom in order to display their capabilities as contractors. At a time when small businesses are increasingly using the Internet to exhibit their work instead of opening costly showrooms, this family-owned and operated company has turned this project into a labor of love.
“The two brothers, Alex and Mike [a partner in the business] – with the help of their crew – put the showroom together, from hand-scraping the floor to designing and installing the fireplace, creating a custom-made mudroom display from reclaimed lumber, installing cabinetry, etc.,” says Renata. “They had visions of creating a showroom that is inviting and cozy, where customers can see several displays and make their selection but not feel overwhelmed.”
In fact, the partners say the company’s primary concern is for the customers’ comfort and ease, whether that be financially or physically.
“Our main goal is to offer affordable quality. We are taking away the middle man by being the contractor,” says Alex.
KEEPING IT LOCAL
Located on a busy corner in the northern Chicago suburb, the 2,300-sq.-ft. space is all about giving back to the local community.
On display are products from local suppliers from surrounding Chicagoland suburbs that Glenbrook Remodeling uses on a regular basis.
“By having local suppliers, it makes it easier to deal with unforeseen issues. We can serve customers better and provide more reliability,” states Alex.
He continues: “Be local, shop local; we want our customers to be happy and have a great product.”
Some of the local suppliers they use include the Lockport, IL-based Arbor Mills [for custom cabinets]; a semi-custom cabinet house brand, Orchard Hill Cabinets in Chicago; J&K Cabinetry Inc. in Elk Grove Village, IL for stock cabinets; UGM Granite & Marble in Chicago; the Niles, IL-location of HanStone quartz from Hanwha, and The Tile Shop in Skokie, IL. Other products carried include those from Top Knobs, Atlas Homewares and Grohe.
The company’s primary clients are homeowners on the North Shore of Chicago, as well as contractors and designers. Glenbrook Remodeling offers full interior remodeling.
In addition to Alex, a licensed general contractor and carpenter, and Renata, who works part-time overseeing A&M, PR and bookkeeping, there is a staff of three as well as the construction crew. The staff is comprised of Momi Jahn, Allied ASID, a designer; Hanne Rex Michelsen, Allied ASID and an NKBA member, and designer; and Mike Dobre, Alex’s half-brother, a partner in the business as well as the project manager.
Originally from Romania, Alex has been in the U.S. for 18 years and Renata for just over 16 years. Alex has been in construction for more than 15 years. He started the company in 2004 with Mike and they have been catering solely in the North Shore of Chicago for almost nine years.
Since starting the business, it has been Alex’s dream to try and create a legacy and a name for himself and his family. He hopes to eventually leave the business to his children. However, he and Renata have some time, as their son is only 3-½ years old.
It’s not a surprise that the company’s business philosophy is family and community-oriented. According to Renata, their goal is “to establish a permanent brick and mortar location that would put down roots for our family-owned business, serve the community we live in, provide a convenient location for our customers to see products in person and strive to become ‘the guy’ for interior remodeling in Glenview and the surrounding suburbs.”