History in the making: Kilwins

Float down 1st Street between Illinois and Main in St. Charles to Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream.

Since 1947 Kilwins has been a celebrated part of Americana having earned a reputation for providing high-quality products and excellent service. Our heritage was built on the simple premise of creating our products from the finest ingredients and providing customers with great service. Today we continue the tradition by uniquely combining high-quality products with a warm friendly customer experience that is supported by a successful community of caring owner-operators. We continue to offer the finest quality, traditional down-home confections and ice cream that are kitchen made fresh from premium ingredients and original recipes.

Our values are simple; Treat others as you want to be treated, Do your best, and Have fun! These values translate directly to a culture of people who are driven to provide an exceptional confectionery experience. Coupled with our high-quality products, in-store craftsmanship, and genuinely friendly staff we create an atmosphere that our customers want to visit again and again. From sight, to taste, touch, smell and sound a visit to Kilwins provides an authentic sensory and taste experience like none other. Our customers have come to know and love us as “My Kilwins” and share Kilwins with friends and family. Kilwins is where people celebrate, vacation, and share the experience of life, family, and gifts in a nostalgic Americana setting.

“Sweet in every Sense since 1947”

History in the making: The Finery & Blacksmith Bar

The corner of 3rd Street and Main Street in St. Charles has been a busy intersection since at least the 1880s. And the stately 3 story tower that crowns the building on the southwest corner bears witness to the importance of this section of downtown. Before the tower was built, in about 1900, this corner had been the home of Klink’s Wagon and Blacksmith Shop, and the space next to the shop, where the Finery and Blacksmith Shop Bar now stands, had been part of that business.

There is some evidence that Mr. Klink was an abolitionist, and local folklore tells that Klink’s wagon shop was a stop on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves. Klink’s shop had a special ramp that wagons were rolled up into when they were being repaired. This permitted easy access to the undercarriage of the wagon. But it also provided a way for wagons with secret cubbyholes in them to be unloaded inside the wagon shop, away from prying eyes. Fugitive slaves were said to be the hidden treasure in those wagon cubbyholes, and the fugitive slaves were safely hidden in secret rooms in the shop until they could be smuggled into Canada by other works on the underground railroad.

Even in the early part of the 20th century Week’s Blacksmith shop was located almost across the street from where The Finery and Blacksmith Bar are today.

So, it’s fitting that today, a Blacksmith Bar stands within eyesight of Klink’s Wagon Shop.

The Finery is an ode to the American table with its diversity and global influences. Chefs David and Juliette champion bold, flavorful and sincere cooking while sourcing the finest ingredients the region has to offer. The Finery is among the best regional American kitchens in the Midwest, all the while remaining approachable, affordable and welcoming.  With cooking experience from Mexico and the South of France, Reyes brings that passion to your table.

Some notable offerings:

  • Brunch on Sundays from 11am - 3pm - fantastic brunch dishes, bottomless mimosas, and great bloody marys
  • Live music every Wednesday - the band is different each week
  • Tasting menu that changes monthly - 3 course OR 5 course option available with wine pairings
  • Happy Hour from 4pm - 6pm - 1/2 OFF our burger and select appetizer, beer and wine specials


 or more information visit: http://thefineryrestaurant.com/

History in the making: Kimmer's Ice Cream

Our founder, Kimberly Yates, was once encouraged to pursue what she loved.  Kimberly is an Iowa Hawkeye, grew up in Batavia and has been savoring all things ice cream since she was a toddler. She worked in an ice cream shop all through high school and studied business and entrepreneurship in college. Her professors told her “do what you love” and she took them literally, attending Ice Cream University right after her graduation from Iowa.

She bought the former Gramps Frozen Custard in St. Charles in October 2010 and has been making ice cream history ever since. The love for our homemade ice cream grew and in 2015 we opened our second location in Wheaton! Our passion is ice cream and our community and we are here to serve you our delicious ice cream which is always "homemade with love". We have 20 flavor options always available and everyone loves our Sparkle Cones!

Kimmers strives to always hire staff locally. Hiring staff from local high schools and colleges helps us to be a better part of the community and they love being a part of their lives and being their introduction into having a job.     

Kimmer's offers fundraising events through the Kimmer's Kares program! They love being a part of the community and supporting the great work that is being done. Through Kimmer's Kares program they partner with local schools, teams, churches, and non-profits to invest in the work they are doing.

Want to know more about hosting your own Kimmer's Kares event? Reach out to our shop at630.762.9480. Did you know you can also host your child's birthday party at our shop?! It's true! We do the work and you get celebrated!

History in the Making: DRM European Cafe & Delicatessen

St. Charles’s first settlers came to the area from places like Vermont and New Hampshire and New York. But, after the turn of the century, a lot of our settlers came from much further – from places like Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, and Germany. During the growth spurt just before WWII, settlers were arriving from all over the world. St. Charles had booming industries in everything from pianos to kitchen cabinets to hammocks and milk condensing plants.

On the west side of town, the Gartner’s Bakery staffed their store with German bakers. Their bread was famous and so were their 25c Chicken Dinners. But Gartner’s is long gone. That doesn’t mean St. Charles doesn’t continue to attract and welcome people from around the world.

The Migo family immigrated from Poland to the United States in 1984. With a suitcase in hand and big dreams for their future, they embarked on an incredible journey made possible by the sponsorship of Saint John Newman Church in Saint Charles. Dan and JoJo look forward to meeting local residents and will work very hard to provide an exceptional, warm meal and infuse the shop with all the sights, sounds, fragrances, and foods of eastern European countries.

Daniel Migo has served the Saint Charles community for several years alongside his mother providing exceptional care for the elderly through this home care agency and Halina's Senior Services. The residences of Halina's Senior Services are beautiful and private care homes situated in downtown Saint Charles. They continue to be owned and operated by the Migo family today.

Daniel's dream has always been to open an eastern European restaurant and grocery store to share with his community the culture and cuisine of his childhood experiences. Daniel is passionate about cooking and providing hospitality to others, and he has never forgotten where he came from or the generous opportunity the Saint Charles community provided for him and his family so many years ago. This is his way of giving back a piece of his culture to the community.

And so...with the help of his wife Jo-Jo, this creative and ambitious couple are excited to bring an authentic, ever-changing, and unique dining and shopping experience to the Saint Charles community.

Our mission here at DRM is simple- to provide you with a truly authentic European dining and shopping experience. We value quality cuisine and exceptional service with the goal of having you return and share your experience with family and friends. More than anything, we understand that food evokes such a special memory. We pride our cooking to be reminiscent of our Babcia's cooking. We hope that your experience here at DRM transports you to another place and time where memories of sitting around the dinner table with a family of friends and celebrating the traditions of your childhood are remembered.  We strive to provide an exceptional warm meal and infuse the shop with all the sights, sounds, fragrances, and foods of the wonderfully diverse countries of eastern Europe and beyond.

For more information visit: https://www.drmeurocafe.com/


History in the making: Vintage 53

There are not many people left in St. Charles who remember what the view was out the front windows of the Hotel Baker when it opened in 1928. But there was no First St. Development back then. Instead, it was a mass of railroad tracks, switches, loading docks and a train station. Later, the tracks were removed, and several businesses opened in the vacant space. But today, the area is being revitalized through a massive redevelopment project. Large office and retail spaces are being created the carry on the historic nature of St. Charles, even as they provide modern amenities.

Vintage 53 is a perfect fit for this new/old area. Mario, the owner of vintage 53, has been developing the idea for this wine bar for almost 10 years. His love for wine dates back to his childhood. Not for the actual drink of course, but for the memories he has of his family gathering around the dinner table, drinking wine, and enjoying each other’s company. Now, he has a location where he can share that love of wine and shared company.

"Vintage 53 opened in late March of 2017.  The wheels were set in motion almost a decade ago when owner Mario Grado honed in his goal of owning a restaurant to owning a wine bar.  With a degree in small business management and entrepreneurship, he was halfway there, but with no prior restaurant experience, there was a lot to learn!  Soon after opening, it was time to fine-tune and make the changes Vintage 53 needed.  This included expanding the cheese & charcuterie selections, adding beer, rearranging furniture about a dozen times, and most recently adding cocktails and spirits.  At the 5 month mark, Mario and his staff are excited and happy with the fast evolution of Vintage 53 and are excited for what the future holds.

Vintage 53 is a rustic-industrial wine bar in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, Illinois.  Our wine list was carefully developed with familiar wines, as well as a unique selection for people wanting to try something new.  We are pleased to offer over 90 wines from around the world, many served by the glass.  We also have a diverse and unique menu of small plates, flatbreads, gourmet popcorns, and desserts.  Additionally, pick and choose your favorite cheese, charcuterie, and accouterments to create a beautiful spread, served on slate boards.  Performances by local musicians every Friday and Saturday offer guests a one of a kind experience.

Mario, the owner of vintage 53, has been developing the idea for this wine bar for almost 10 years.  His love for wine dates back to childhood.  Not for the actual drink of course, but for the memories he has of his family gathering around the dinner table, drinking wine, and enjoying each other’s company.  He remembers his parents always having another bottle on hand (usually a red).  Over time, Mario developed a similar appreciation for red wines.

A wine's "vintage" is the year in which the grapes were harvested.  The year in which that wine was "born."  Sadly, Mario lost his dad unexpectedly in early 2016.  The name vintage 53 is in honor of his Dad, Ben, who was born in 1953.  It is Mario's hope that his guests will feel the same sense of togetherness and joy that he remembers his family experiencing over a glass of wine. 

For more information visit http://www.vintage53.com/ 



History in the Making: Forever Yogurt

Forever Yogurt is located in one of the most historic downtown blocks of buildings in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. As one of the bookend buildings of the 100 block of W. Main Street, this building dates to the late 19th century and is a great example of Italianate Commercial architecture. But, if it hadn’t been for a tremendous fire in the late 1950s, this building would have been in the middle of the block – and next to it was one of the finest clothing stores outside of Chicago. Johnson’s Clothes Store had a fantastic selection of clothing and accessories, but St. Charles firemen were unable to save their building from being totally destroyed in a fire – today the site is a parking lot.

Forever Yogurt was the first to bring serve-yourself premium frozen yogurt to the Midwest. You control what you get, how much and in what combinations from our more than 16 flavors and 40 toppings at a time. Flavors change all the time – so there’s always something new to try!

For more information on what Forever Yogurt has to offer visit http://www.foreveryogurt.com/

A nod to the past: Stanbridge Master Saddlers

Located in Historic Downtown St Charles Illinois, Stanbridge Master Saddlers opened the doors to its establishment in early 2017. Created by equestrians for equestrians the inventory has been carefully curated for today’s horsemen and women with an emphasis on fine European craftsmanship, fine service, and affordable quality.

Stanbridge Master Saddlers offer saddle checks and saddle fittings by an SMS Master Saddler and Qualified Saddle Fitter as well as in-house tack repairs.

Before Stanbridge Master Saddlers settled into 112 West Main Street this building was the home of Colson's Department Store and Vertical Drop to name a few.  

John Fabian "Foby" Colson was born in Sweden in 1853, and came to St. Charles with his family before his second birthday. Colson worked as a clerk for Charles Anderson at Anderson’s Dry Goods Store, which stood at 24 W. Main Street where he became his business partner. When Anderson died in 1880, Colson retained the business for himself and renamed it Colson's Department Store. In the early 1900s, Colson moved his business to 116 W. Main Street.

During the 1930s, the second floor of the store served as a site for the first local history displays. John Colson's son, Harold, had a large collection of antique photographs and local memorabilia. These formed the core of the collection of the St. Charles History Museum, which Colson established in 1933. A fire on Christmas Day of 1933 destroyed most of the historical relics that had been stored on the second level and much of the store. Colson's Department Store was rebuilt on the same site the following year. The St. Charles History Museum moved into the Municipal Building in 1940.

Over the years Colson's Department Store faced many tragedies. The flood of 1954 caused extensive damage to the store. Another fire in 1975 destroyed the store, and again the owners rebuilt the structure. 

The store remained in the Colson family for over 80 years. John Colson's children worked in the store when they were young and his sons, Harold and Lloyd, continued the family business after their father's death. In 1963, Lloyd sold the store to Marion Greene, marking the end of Colson family ownership of the business.

Marion Greene expanded the store to offer more variety to customers. By 1974, Colson's Department Store had almost 20 departments. Shoppers could purchase everything from clothing to hardware. Following Greene's death in 1978, his widow, Doris Greene (later Doris Greene Pederson), continued to run the store. The business was so successful that two new stores were established, one in Wheaton, and one, for a short time, in DeKalb.

After 112 years in business, Colson's owners decided to close the store. Local residents, many of whom had been longtime customers, were saddened by the passing of this business landmark. By July 1992, the store's going-out-of-business sale was in full swing. Everything from merchandise to racks and mannequins was sold. The Colson's store in Wheaton also closed at this time.

The Vertical Drop, which had been established in 1980 at 219 W. Main Street, moved into the vacant Colson's store. The building was completely renovated in the style of a Colorado ski shop to accommodate winter apparel, ski equipment, and a sports equipment service shop. Later, a snowboard shop was added. During the summers, the Vertical Drop was modified into an outdoor furniture store. The Vertical Drop closed in the spring of 2013.           

History in the Making: All Things Art Studio

All Things Art Studio is a teaching art studio near downtown St. Charles offering art classes and private lessons, birthday parties, wine and canvas events, corporate team building events, and more for children and adults. Explore our site to discover the perfect All Things Art experience for you! At All Things Art Studio, we only offer the highest quality of art education experiences. As our business keeps growing, and we have happily been able to hire several more art teachers in addition to Erin, who also offer a variety of Art Classes. Explore each of our artist's qualifications and specialties in the arts.

Erin Livermore

Erin is a local artist and art teacher who resides in St. Charles. She is a certified Art Teacher with a Masters in Education from DePaul University. She taught Elementary and Middle School Visual Art and Language Arts classes 8 years locally in schools. Erin stopped teaching & stayed home to raise their young family.  But Erin couldn’t stay away from teaching Art- she’s been teaching over 13 years now!

Erin started All Things Art Studio teaching classes from her home art studio, and the studio has grown each year in both class sizes and class offerings.  We've moved locations several times from Geneva to St. Charles to accommodate the growth.  Erin is proud to employ many local art teachers who are also developing strong programs within our Art Studio.

Erin claims, "It's empowering to watch this studio grow with a strong staff and love of arts, children, and teaching.  Plus it's a blast to get to offer birthday parties, scout and team bonding events and the ever-popular Wine & Canvas! It's my Dream Job, to say the least!"

Erin teaches ALL classes at All Things Art Studio!  She can also be found leading Birthday Parties, Wine & Canvas, Cookies & Canvas, Workshops & Open Studio.

Erin does have limited availability for Private Lessons Fall 2017.

Rebecca Hubbs

Rebecca Hubbs is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in art education.  She earned her Masters Degree from Aurora University and her administrative certificate from Aurora University. 

Mrs. Hubbs’ career as an art teacher began in District 303 in 1991, where she taught visual art at Anderson/Little Woods and Munhall Elementary schools. She has also taught visual art at Wild Rose Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mades Johnstone, and more recently worked to establish the art programs for Davis Primary and Richmond Intermediate. Currently, Mrs. Hubbs teaches visual art at Wredling Middle School.

Mrs. Hubbs was recognized by the Illinois Art Education Association in 2007 and received the Illinois Elementary Educator of the Year award. In2008 she received the Elementary Art Educator Award from the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education.

Mrs. Hubbs runs the Middle School & High School Program at All Things Art Studio.  She can be found teaching her classes, Private Lessons, and some of our Events like Birthday Parties, Wine & canvas, and Open Studios.

Mrs. Hubbs does have limited availability for Private Lessons Fall 2017.


Taylor has considered herself an artist for as long as she has been able to hold a pencil. Because of her lifelong love of art, she let it consume her daily life. No matter the material, Taylor immerses herself in the creative process. She loves to paint, draw, sculpt, and most importantly-teach! While Taylor’s career is just starting to take off with her recent graduation from Illinois State University, she is thrilled to share her love of art with others. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and can be found teaching Pre K, Everything Art, Clay, Drawing, and Jewelry classes, along hosting Wine and Canvas events and Birthday Parties, and Open Studio at the studio.

We are VERY proud to announce that Taylor has accepted a position teaching Art at St. Charles North and East High Schools starting 2016-17 school year! Congratulations, Taylor!!!

Lisa Hiscocks

Lisa is an Art teacher who has come to us from the big state of Texas!  She has been an Art Educator for years!

Lindsey Fansler

Lindsey is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University, and has been teaching at All Things Art Studio for just over one year! Lindsey is extremely talented in Drawing and Painting, as well as a ceramic artist.  Lindsey teaches all ages of classes at All Things Art Studio.  She can also be found leading birthday parties, Wine & Canvas Events and Open Studio events. Lindsey will be starting her first teaching job in Naperville School District teaching Middle School, but will still have afternoon and weekend classes at All Things Art Studio. Lindsey also has openings for Private Lessons for Fall 2017.

She has always had a strong appreciation for arts and found it to be very important in daily life, especially the lives of our children. Lindsey loves every minute working at All Things Art Studio because it combines art and children, two of life's greatest treasures!


Reaghan is an art student at a local High School, and is a former student of Erin's from elementary school. Reaghan also took private art lessons & classes at All Things Art Studio for several years before joining our team!

To find out everything All Things Art Studio has to offer visit: Website: http://www.allthingsartstudio.com/our-artists.html    

History in the Making: Dream Dance Academy

DDA begin in 2012 as a "traveling studio" with locations in community centers in Elburn, Pingree Grove, and Hampshire. In 2013 DDA obtained it's own space in LaFox and outgrew that quickly. That is when we moved to our current space in St. Charles in 2015. We love it here and are here to stay for a long time! 

We do a lot of giving back, fundraising, and community involvement. Each month, we have a different give back - some are local organizations, while some are larger national organizations. Examples of local give backs are - Lazarus House, Honor Flight Chicago, and Becca's Legacy. Examples of national ones are: Dancers Against Cancer, Traveling Tutus, and American Heart Association. We also loving being involved in the community and enjoy performing at things like STC Live and at local places like Marklund. We are more than just dance and we call this "the DDA way." 

We are members of the International Dance Entrepreneur Association (I.D.E.A.) which promotes things like age appropriate music and costuming. Members make a commitment to ensure all students, regardless of age or skill level are offered a quality dance education. I included their code of ethics you are free to use as I have rights to use it as a member. It's just something that is really important to me as a studio owner especially this day in age!

We received the Community Image Award in 2016 from the Chamber of Commerce for the renovation of our space which had been empty for 8 years. I attached a before and after photo of 1 of 3 dance rooms we have

We offer dance classes for ages 2 through adult, beginner through advanced. You can also use my website www.dreamsdance.com if you are looking for tidbits beside what I included....we have a ton of info on there!

History in the Making: Dick Pond Athletics

Dick Pond Athletics, Inc., America’s Oldest Running Shoe Store, was founded by Richard Pond in his Glen Ellyn garage in August of 1969.  He began by selling Adidas and Puma running shoes to local runners at track, cross country, and road races participants from the trunk of his Chevy Malibu.  His ability to get shoes specifically designed for runners – an unheard of activity for most back in the day – was unique for those days.  His moto was, “Fast and reliable service.” 

Soon, his high school customers went off to run at colleges all over the USA and word spread.  His mail order business took off and exceeded his local business precipitating a move from the garage (and the living room, basement, and kitchen table) to a warehouse in Carol Stream with a small storefront attached.  The store was only open from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM because of the phone and meet/school visit business kept him so busy. 

Hedging his bets and hearing about the new tollway being built down the middle of DuPage County, he decided to open a second retail outlet in Lisle near the new I-355 (did you know that, in 1988, they had a running race down the middle of that highway before it opened?).  The Lisle store took off and exceeded the sales at the Carol Stream store.  Customers regularly drove from the South suburbs and Indiana to meet Dick, his staff, and his outstanding group of products for runners.

In January 1991, Dick contracted leukemia and after a 9-month battle passed away the day before his 54th birthday in September.  His wife, Lindy Pond, successfully took over the leadership role opening three more stores and, in the process, doubled the mail-order business.  Lindy retired in 2010 and the business is now operated by two of their three daughters, Samantha Senner and Kirsten Pond.

Store locations at present are Carol Stream, Lisle, St. Charles, Hoffman Estates, and Park Ridge, Illinois.  The company still fills hundreds of orders a week shipping throughout the country.  Dick Pond’s St. Charles location is a fitting place for a sporting goods store. Until the 1960s, there was no Rt. 31, and 2nd St. ended at the railroad tracks. The area was a quiet place at the end of the road. But over the years, a succession of boathouses had occupied the river bank directly east of this quiet little area. And those boathouses were just a small bit of the sporting activities that made St. Charles a nature-lover's dream in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And, speaking of the 19th century, at one time a windmill factory occupied the land where Dick Pond’s now sits. So, apparently, running ON the wind has been replaced by running WITH the wind!

In regard to staff: We hire seasoned runners, health-conscious friendly and energetic people and area athletes to service our customers.

We have seven different weekly running/walking groups that meet at our store.  They are designed to improve the health of individuals from the age of 6 and greater.  We have many seminars on an array of wellness topics ranging from nutrition, injury prevention, and proper running form. We are very involved sponsor of The Fox Valley Marathon – the biggest race within 50 miles that takes place on the third weekend of September.

Further details about our programs and services can be found at www.dickpondathletics.com