Raffy’s opens second sweet shop in Frankfort’s Trolley Barn

Raffy’s has opened a second location in Frankfort’s Trolley Barn shopping center.

Raffy’s Candy Store, which opened in late 2015 on U.S. 30 in New Lenox, has opened a second location in the Trolley Barn shopping center in historic downtown Frankfort.

Dave Rafalski, who co-owns the sweet shop with his wife, Pam, said the new location opened May 30 at 21 White St.

“We had no intention to open a second location,” Rafalski said. “But we were encouraged by a lot of people to do so. Members of the chamber were eager for us to come into town.”

The new Raffy’s is pretty much a carbon copy of the New Lenox location, Rafalski said.

“The floor plan is a little different,” he said. “And there’s a nice patio at the new location.”

And except for the lack of soft-serve ice cream in Frankfort, the store features the same sweet treats as the New Lenox location.

There’s a wide selection of candy including premium chocolate, Albanese Gummy Bears from Indiana and what Rafalski calls nostalgic candy, popcorn and nuts. Frankfort also will have hard-packed ice cream by the original Plush Horse ice cream parlor in Palos Park.

Hours at the Frankfort location will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

First Midwest acquires Northern States

First Midwest Bancorp Inc., the parent of First Midwest Bank, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Northern States Financial Corp., the holding company for NorStates Bank, based in Waukegan.

NorStates Bank operates eight offices in Lake County and has approximately $500 million in total assets, $400 million in deposits, of which 90 percent are core deposits, and $320 million in loans.

“We are very excited to welcome NorStates Bank to First Midwest and build on the strong relationships that NorStates has with its customers,” Michael L. Scudder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Midwest, said in a release. “This combination continues our expansion in the greater Chicagoland area and enhances our presence in Lake County where we have long-standing, deep roots.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with First Midwest,” Scott M. Yelvington, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern States, said. “Like First Midwest, we have a strong commitment to relationship banking, personalized customer service and involvement in the communities we serve. We greatly look forward to offering our customers the broader array of financial products and services that First Midwest provides.”

Based upon the closing price of First Midwest’s common stock on June 5, on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the overall transaction is valued at approximately $91 million. The acquisition is to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Ryerson to acquire Central Steel & Wire

Ryerson Holding Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Central Steel & Wire for $140 million.

Central Steel has its main plant and offices near 51st Street and Francisco in the Gage Park community.

The company was founded in 1909. It operates six plants, employs about 900 people and has annual sales of about $600 million. It produces bar, tube, plate and sheet products. Last year, it posted a $14 million loss.

Central Steel will continue under that brand name after the closing of the deal, which is expected to come in the third quarter this year.

Loop-based metal processor and distributor Ryerson is one of the 60 largest companies in the Chicago area, with $3.36 billion in revenue last year.

Central Steel CEO Steve Fuhrman said in a statement that “the leverage this merger creates will benefit our diverse customer base, grow our respected supplier relationships and provide opportunity for further development of our loyal employees.”

Eddie Lehner, Ryerson’s president and CEO, had nothing but praise for Central Steel.

“Since 1909, Central Steel & Wire has cultivated a loyal customer following as an industry standard bearer of customer service,” he said. “Ryerson’s acquisition of Central Steel & Wire into the Ryerson family of highly valued industrial metal distribution and processing companies takes Ryerson’s ability to provide great customer experiences to another level. We are excited to elevate the best of Central Steel & Wire while leveraging Ryerson’s intelligently networked service centers to infuse Central Steel & Wire’s and Ryerson’s customers with a broader and deeper array of products with comprehensive processing capabilities. By supporting and further developing the Central Steel & Wire brand in the marketplace to existing and new customers, Ryerson continues along a smart growth trajectory that we expect to add meaningfully to shareholder value in the years to come.”

Completion of the transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both companies and Central Steel & Wire shareholders signed a written consent approving the merger agreement and the transaction.

The decision to sell was an about face for Central Steel, which waged a fierce court fight three years ago for the right to reject a more lucrative offer from Canadian manufacturer and distributor Samuel Son & Co.

American Eagle has landed at Orland Square

American Eagle has completed the remodel of its Orland Square Mall store, which reopened late last month at the Orland Park mall. The store is located in the upper level Macy’s wing of the mall.

Marketing group holds grand opening

WDB Marketing, a one-stop marketing and promotions shop that offers graphic design, print services, web design, marketing and promotional strategies, held its grand opening June 8 at its new location at 1007 E. 162nd St. in South Holland.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. For information, call 708-527-3090. The website in www.wdbmarketing.com.

Ooh Wee Burger coming to River Oaks

Ooh Wee Sweet Tea and Ooh Wee Cereal and Candy Bar is expanding its presence at the River Oaks Center food court.

Ooh Wee Burger Bar and Grill is coming this summer to the mall in Calumet City.

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at bobbong@hotmail.com. You can track business openings and closings at http://bobbongonbusiness.com/

Aunt Sally’s, Bohemian Joe’s to close this weekend

Aunt Sally’s will close next Sunday at its longtime home in Calumet City. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Aunt Sally’s restaurant at 1215 Burnham Ave. in Calumet City will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, bringing the end to the Sidkey family’s 71-year relationship with local residents.

The Sidkey family opened a small grocery store at that location in 1947. It lasted until a fire in the early 1970s. The family then opened a full-service restaurant called Puffins. A few years later they converted it into a breakfast-lunch restaurant called Aunt Sally’s.

It will be open as usual for the rest of this week.

In neighboring Lansing, Bohemian Joe’s will close at 17940 S. Torrence Ave. the end of the day on Saturday, April 28.

The 6,200-square-foot restaurant was opened in January 2016 in the former Popolano’s restaurant by the Paliga family. It was put up for sale last year and has been sold.

No word on who the buyer is or what the future will bring.

Also, in Lansing, the Golden Crown restaurant was closed suddenly without warning at 17904 S. Torrence Ave. A note on the door from the owner said he was retiring.

Local JCPenney stores not on closing list

Seven Illinois locations are among 138 JCPenney stores closing nationwide, the retailer announced on Friday.

Last month, the Texas-based company announced it was closing a large number of brick-and-mortar stores and several distribution centers across the country to better compete in a changing marketplace where online shopping has become common.

“We are pleased with the double digit growth of jcpenney.com and how leveraging our brick and mortar locations is enabling us to offset the last-mile delivery cost,” the company said in a statement in February.

“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” CEO Marvin R. Ellison said.

The Illinois closings include JCPenney stores at the following shopping centers, plus a freestanding location in Macomb:

  • Centerpointe of Woodridge, Woodridge
  • Eastland Mall, Bloomington
  • Fulton Square, Canton
  • Village Square Mall, Effingham
  • Peru Mall, Peru
  • Northland Mall, Sterling

A full timetable for closings has not been released, but JCPenney has said liquidation will begin April 17 and most stores will shut their doors in June.

The closings will affect a reported 5,000 jobs nationwide.

“JCPenney is in the process of identifying relocation opportunities within the Company for esteemed leaders,” the company said Friday in a news release. “Additionally, JCPenney will provide outplacement support services for those eligible associates who will be leaving the Company.”

The closings will not affect stores in Calumet City, Bourbonnais, Orland Park, North Riverside, Joliet, Matteson, Mokena and Ford City Mall.