Express Yourself: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Thank You to Our Viewers

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Not the Economy, It's the LOCAL Economy | Leonardi's Shifts to New Store After 65 Years; Buikema's Ace Hardware Closes Eola Road Store After 5 Years

***CORRECTED/UPDATED 11/17/11***


Due to inaccurate reports by the Beacon-News, we have learned the new location for Leonardi's on Prairie & Lake will continue to be a retail store for new appliances, parts and services.

Leonardi's is NOT closing, but shifting.

We wish the Leonardi family success in the future and hope small business across our community is allowed to thrive and succeed.

- - -


River Street in downtown Aurora has been the longtime home for Leonardi's Furniture, TV and Appliances, but will soon close its current location after a liquidation of floor merchandise is complete before opening a NEW location on Prairie Street.

The new store will include new appliances, parts and service.  Leonardi's, which started in 1946 as a refrigeration business, is NOT closing.

- - -

Meanwhile, a much newer business, Buikema's Ace Hardware on Eola Road in the formerly high-growth area of Aurora's far southeast area, is closing after 5 years.

The growth of housing developments stalled and "we were told the new growth would be projected above average" said Kyle Buikema.

He also says that various infrastructure improvements and changes didn't happen, such as extending 95th Street to Eola Road and having a full train station nearby.

- - -

Frequenly, you hear local officials blame the national economy, but the reality is there are challenges to the local economy.

Dianne Swanson, an economist, says "says the problem isn't simply the economy-at-large, but a reduction in local economic activity.  Buikema's isn't closing their Naperville locations, so it's not the same situation everywhere.  It's easy to just blame the economy rather than asking hard questions about the climate for small business to thrive."

Where is Aurora's LOCAL economy headed?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too bad to see Leonardi's end, but it's a great lesson that this isn't just about the national economy.

Aurora doesn't have the growth it was experience to mask its truly dysfunctional local economy.

Anonymous said...

Aurora is done for. The City Council is morally and ethically bankrupt, crony capitalism rules. Aurora will not recover. When housing prices start to rise those who have felt chained here due to their mortgages will bail once they are above water or nearly so. They will flee to tax friendly places like Naperville will you get value for your tax dollars.

The downtown is done for. All that will happen is we will pay to host events that will draw large amounts of outsiders downtown to events that will new recoup their costs. Those people will come for the day and only return for special events. The far east side will continue to decay, those crowded high density areas will spiral downward, already they are becoming maintenance nightmares.

Batavia, Naperville, Sugar Grove, Geneva, Oswego and Montgomery have much better recovery prospects.

Aurora's future is diverse ethnic groups becoming the majority, a welfare state that is sustained only though Federal and State funding. The Orchard and Route 59 corridors will be the middle class shopping districts and everything between will be Tacquerias, second hand shops, dollar stores and run down grocery stores and auto repair shops.

The 6th ward will continue to crumble and the 4th ward will succumb to demographic deterioration as it starts to mimic the 3rd ward.

The city will split into factions with the far west and east side considering themselves apart from Aurora and identifying with either the SugarGrove community or the Naperville area.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^boooooooooooooooo!

Anonymous said...

Funny, Jim said Lou was his Dad? I don't think you really talked to Jim and you sure give the BeConfused a run for it's money.

Anonymous said...

Stover was criticized for banking too much money instead of spending it, but since 2005 when Weisner became mayor, the city has gone on a wild spending spree, creating a local ecnonomy that depends on government and public sector spending instead of the private sector and commerce.

I hate to agree with the comment above "Aurora is done for" but unless there is bold change in the direction of this city, it's correct. Aurora is not drawing money to it, but from it and even if there is an economic recovery later, other communities will be benefit more (i.e. Naperville).

Maybe if Rick Lawrence becomes the next mayor, then there's a chance for bold solutions. Otherwise, Aurora's best days are history.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the budgets of Elgin, Joliet and Rockford before you are too hard on Aurora, they are in way better shape than the closest comparables. Don't compare to Batavia, Naperville, Geneva or Sugar Grove, they are different animals. Check the history of these cities, they have never been comparable, so if you wanted to live there, why didn't you move there, oh yeah, you couldn't afford it because you couldn't afford to move there or you would have.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Rick Lawrence becomes the next mayor, then there's a chance for bold solutions.

First, he would have to have the guts to actually stay in the race this time.

Second, IF he stayed in the race and IF he actually run there may be some bold ATTEMPTED solutions, but they probably wouldn't work. And Lawrence as mayor would create a whole new set of problems.

Anonymous said...

Why look at Joilet, Rockford, and Elgin - they are all shit holes like Aurora - and that is why Aurora is done for. Aurora had huge advantages over those aforementioned communities and Weisner blew it.

Instead of investing wisely and building infrastructure, Weisner elected to use funds for Crony Capitalism that benefited only a select few who pay to play.

With the money that has been thrown away on a handful of establishments to entice them into downtown, the entire infrastructure could have been renovated (sewer, electric, water, wifi, etc) adequate parking - but Weisner elected to pay of some cronies. So now any business wishing to open has to deal with an antiquated infrastructure and make costly improvements that really are a city issue in terms of capacity.

Putting Waubonsee downtown was an asinine move. It sucks up prime real estate that will never come on the tax rolls and gives a free ride to the residents of the surrounding communities.

Aurora would have been far better off if it had leveled the majority of downtown and built a modern downtown that differentiated it form the quaint offerings of surrounding communities. Aurora has no viable gateway to allow easy access to the downtown and no compelling offering to drive traffic there except for the one off event.

The should have modernized the downtown and played off the easy train access to the city and catered to a younger, connected, wired crowd. Instead we get a 3rd rate attempt at being Geneva.

The city is doomed. What did we do, waste money on two Brothers, a place that cannot even compete with a Chilis or Applebees.

Anonymous said...

The problems for Aurora are deep and widespread, so any new mayor, even with the best intentions, is going to have quite a challenge to fix the mess. But, without someone at the top putting taxpayers first, it ain't gonna happen.

Given Chris Lauzen is running for Kane Chairman (which he will likely win), the only option is Rick Lawrence. He's consistently been right on the issues. He will put an end to the corruption, waste and old way of doing things. He can stop the carnage from Day 1.

Having said that, even he will need time to fix some of the deeper problems and reverse the culture.

Anonymous said...

Jose Jimenez for Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, 12:12. You're promoting Rick Lawrence at the same time as you're already building his excuse for why he won't get anything accomplished in his first term!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant 12:07.

Anonymous said...

Lawrence could reverse the sinking ship but I agree, it's not going to happen overnight. Just take the massive debt on the police palace that helped enrich Cordogan, Wegman, Mundy and all of Weisner's buddies.

That $130-140 million bucks is going to drag the city's finances for years.

I also agree it's got to take someone like Lawrence at the top. The city council, except for Lawrence, has proven inept, incompetent and clueless.

Weisner can't stop the social spending of the city. Heck, he can't even get rid of Al Schuler from the AHA, who HE appointed.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Lake Street gets worse every year. I'm amazed at how decrepit the whole area looks - not just the buildings and their parking lots, but the "parkways" and other elements that should be governed by the city. There are no "nice" ways to drive into central Aurora anymore. When I first moved here, Lake Street had a great Carson's, Oberweis would be filled on summer nights, and things were at least maintained. It looks now as everyone has given up, and is perpetuating the myth that only the Hispanic population shops here. It's insane all the way around. Something needs to happen, and soon.

Anonymous said...

I also agree it's got to take someone like Lawrence at the top. The city council, except for Lawrence, has proven inept, incompetent and clueless.

I disagree they know exactly what they are doing. Everyone of them except Lawrence is a pawn of some coalition. How many hand picked yes men does Weisner get to appoint?

Anonymous said...

3:41 you aren't Matthews are you? That is exactly what he said when he came to my door campaigning this spring. If so sign your posts and run again.

Anonymous said...

11/16/11 2:51 AM
should run for Mayor

Anonymous said...

Aurora...here is what you need to know, the people re-elected Whitey Peters, Mike Saville, Abbey Schuler, and Richard Irvin in contested races!

That is why the city is like it is.

Anonymous said...

Jose Jimenez for Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Si, se puede.

Ralph said...

annoymouse, annoymouse

I personlly know of a young man who is running for alderman next year,

every one here knows all the answer, let no one will stand up and be counted.

Anonymous said...

I personlly know of a young man who is running for alderman next year,

What Ward?

Anonymous said...

every one here knows all the answer, let no one will stand up and be counted.

And yet one of the dumbest asses to ever post in this forum keeps on telling us his name: Sgt Ralph (retired).

OpenlineBlog said...

Due to inaccurate reports by the Beacon-News, we have learned from the new location on Prairie & Lake will continue to be a retail store for new appliances, parts and services.

Leonardi's is NOT closing, but shifting.

We wish the Leonardi family success in the future and hope small business across our community is allowed to thrive and succeed.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the City Business Development promote more gangster restaurants/nightclubs like Los Quinta de la Reyes. That is the future of all Downtown business. I know the Insane Dueces are looking to start their own restaurant/nightclub Downtown. If that happens, then it's just a matter of time before the Vice Lords will want to get in on the action. People enjoy dining at dangerous places, it gives them a cheap thrill to know that at any moment a rival gang member could come bursting through the door with a Glock 9mm.

Anonymous said...

Well there is also that one right against the bike trail on 25...the drug dealers ride their bikes down go in the back parking lot, do the exchange and take off back down the bike trail.

I was fishing there a couple of months back and watched the guy pedal down to the park and wait for a cal on his cell phone, then ride up and come back, time and time again.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just love this. Openline is SUPPOSEDLY the new media, and so much better than the Beacon. But has proven that all he does is copy & paste & steal stuff from others who actually do investigations, and interviews, and research. And then, when Openline misinterprets and misquotes they blame the people they misquoted. When I first read this post here by Openline I already knew Leonardi's was moving, not closing (although the new place may not carry everything the old store did). Why did I know that? Because that's what the Beacon article said. If it EVER said Leonardi's was completely closing, which I doubt, it had been corrected BEFORE the Openline post.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Openline should do its own investigating and reporting instead of just copying what the Beacon reports in order to prevent future embarrassments like this.

Anonymous said...

And maybe you whiny little douchebag pussies should go start your own blog. I can see it now: the faggot daily news.

Anonymous said...

And maybe you whiny little douchebag pussies should go start your own blog. I can see it now: the faggot daily news.

11/18/11 7:50 PM


And why do that when we can obviously tick off a BIG whiny douchebag like you? The truth must really hurt to trigger such a strong response from you. So tell me, are YOU Openline posting anonymously, or just someone hoping for a more "personal" relationship with him?

Anonymous said...

Leonardi's is in a crap location. Who wants to drive past Hessed house? And the other side of the block from Leonard's is gang banger territory.

People with money to spend don't drive through the giant slum that is Aurora in order to go to a furniture and appliance store. You go to Best Buy or JC Penny's where you can shop in safety.

Look at where Leonardi's was located. There is a once gas station that is now a scummy convenience store run by Indian or Pakis with a scum clientele. And Prairie and River may be a step up but not by much.

It is too bad, but they should have relocated to a more upscale location in Montgomery or Oswego or north in Batavia off of Randall.

They had a good name, too good to be associated with Aurora.

Anonymous said...

11:54 They were generally successful at that location for years. But it was time for them to move on, and for dad to retire. But they're still staying in Aurora, because Aurora has supported them over the years, and they're supporting Aurora. You say "People with money to spend don't drive through the giant slum that is Aurora in order to go to a furniture and appliance store. You go to Best Buy or JC Penny's where you can shop in safety." That may be true for some people, but OTHER people with money to spend prefer to support local businesses wherever possible, rather than big box national chains who tack on all kinds of extra fees and extended warranties, and who you can't trust. All of our appliances over the past 10-15 years have come from Leonardi's, some from the new appliance store, and some from the used/rebuilt appliance store. They've all been good, the service was excellent, and the price was competitive w/ the big box. And I had no problems driving to either the main store or the used appliance/service place.

Anonymous said...

10:35 - do you really think that they kids walked away from a viable business in a viable location? You may buy your items there, so did my mother-in-law until she no longer felt safe going there. Guess what, there are not enough of people like you.

Wishful thinking does not make a successful business.

Anonymous said...

And I'm sure bitching and not supporting those who choose to stay here will surely fix everything. Move the hell out of town if you are so unhappy, or if Aurora is all you can afford, shut the hell up and lay in the bed you made. And I love how the tough guys on this blog spout off anonymously. Guess it is easier than growing a set of nuts and confronting someone directly.

Anonymous said...

5:34 this is 10:35, and I agree w/ everything you said to/about 2:41. But I do love the irony of your commenting on him posting anonymously -- in your anonymous post. Of course, I posted anonymously too, but I was speaking to support Leonardi's, and not to tear down Aurora or any individual, like 2:41.

Anonymous said...

11:03 ad 5:34 it is not bitching or tearing down Leonardi's to suggest that they would be better served by migrating to a community that would awards their personalized customer service.

Anonymous said...

No 2:22, it's not tearing down Leonardi's. It's tearing down Aurora. To use 2:41's "logic", if they wouldn't leave a viable business site, meaning the River St. site must be non-viable, then they wouldn't move to a non-viable site, meaning the new site at Prairie and Lake, in Aurora, must be viable.

I've lived in Aurora for 20 years, put 3 kids thru the public schools here, and have heard people tearing down Aurora the entire time. And I've never experienced the things they claim are rampant in Aurora. Sure there are problems here just like anywhere else (even in rich communities like Lake Forest), but Aurora as a whole is nowhere near has bad as some would have you believe. There are hard working, excellent residents, good neighbors, nice parks, good teachers, and successful businesses. Yes, there are also the opposites to all of those, but they are by far the minority. And there are similar problems in all the other communities you would suggest Leonardi's move to. I'm glad they're staying in Aurora, and I will continue to award their service as I'm sure plenty of other people will.

And since you're so unhappy here, I'll show you there are neighborly people here willing to lend a hand. I'll help pack your van.

Anonymous said...

10:35/11:03, there is no irony because I did not make unprovoked insulting remarks to anyone, just made an observation about the lack of testicular fortitude of people who seem to fly off the handle on a blog where there is no chance of reprecussions. My family has lived in Aurora since the 20's and I like it here and I was merely suggesting that anyone who doesn't like it should move or do something to make it better (could be one in the same).

Anonymous said...

11:05, this is 10:35/11:03. I think we're kindred spirits. I love this comment of yours. Especially the comment about how some people leaving and doing something to improve the city could be the same thing.

Anonymous said...

LOL - some of you guys are hilarious. Living in fantasy world that Aurora is anything other than the shit hole of the Fox Valley.

I live here becasue I was born here, and hopefully I'll have the opportunity to get out. Aurora is not a place you aspire to live, but something you fall down to. And anyone who wants their children to stay here should be arrested for child abuse.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Aurora is a shit hole. I live in the third ward and it is a hell hole.

Anonymous said...

1:59 & 9:57 maybe it's only that bad in your own minds. Then again maybe you're right, and where you live is that bad -- BECAUSE you live there.

Anonymous said...

And it could be that those who think Aurora is so wonderful have not traveled much outside the community. Granted it looks good compared to East St. Louis, Joliet, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the like, but compared to the surrounding communities this place is shit hole.

Ralph said...

Annoymouse Annoymouse

if you think Aurora is a shit hole, then leav3e we do not need you here.

Anonymous said...

Gee one of the dumbest cops ever in Aurora speaks...

Anonymous said...

Great! Help me pack my van! I plan to vote with my feet. Mr. Van-helper... Have you checked your property tax assessment? Do you rent or something? Maybe you live in a district that is not being heavily exploited? I live in the 9th ward and I cant get out of here fast enough!

Before you vote in this or any future election you need to see who is supporting your candidates. Try this: http://votesmart.org/ Anybody who is supported by a labor union is the most likely to run us into financial ruin. Anybody who reads that and votes for a liberal can be considered part of the problem.

If they would have considered cutting taxes to ACE they might have had a chance to keep them from leaving. Now that this anchor store is gone & the tavern closed I expect many other businesses to follow.