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GLMV Family Businesses

Family businesses hold a very special place in the fabric of any community. Whether they are generations old or newer ventures, most prove that the family that works together, stays together; and that a commitment to providing service to a community can transcend generations.

CARSTAR Mundelein
(847) 367-1500 |

Jeanne and Jeff Silver, veterans of the automotive collision industry, chose to open their own CARSTAR franchise approximately 20 years ago and, after an exhaustive geographic search for the ideal location, settled upon 1066 Campus Dr. in Mundelein. They have never regretted that decision.

“We knew that the location had a tremendous amount of potential because the area was expanding and Gregg’s Landing was being built. And we were dead right about the location. It has been perfect,” Jeanne Silver, president, said.

Jeff has worked in the collision industry for close to 50 years and Jeanne for 35 years. Prior to opening the franchise, Jeff was a founder and chief operating officer of I-CAR, a training organization for the collision industry and she had been involved in the industry, as well. But they knew that they wanted to be their own bosses and own their own business.

“We both grew up in family businesses and knew that that family touch could be very important,” Silver said. “We really care about our reputation, our customers and our community. In addition, we are in the top one percent of automotive collision experts because we are trained I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and are very involved with the collision industry through our affiliation with industry associations and foundations.”

The Silvers are also active in the GLMV Chamber of Commerce, using it to network with local business people, thereby extending their reach even further into the community.

“When car owners come to an auto body shop, it is because something traumatic has happened. So, we do our best to facilitate the process for them. The CARSTAR motto is ‘Relax – We Will Take It From Here’ and that is what we try to live up to,” Silver said.

“That is why we are so pleased that we have a great clientele that keeps coming back to us. When that happens it means that we made a good impression on them the first time. So we are very grateful to our customers for their repeat business,” she added.

Silver is also quite proud that CARSTAR Mundelein is one of six CARSTAR franchises in the Chicago area that is owned partially or completely by a woman.

“This is no longer such a male-dominated industry. I have been one of the pioneers who have made it easier for women to enter this industry,” Silver said.

The fact that her franchise actively and enthusiastically participates in the National Auto Body Council’s nationwide “Recycled Rides” program through which needy families are annually gifted with refurbished automobiles, makes Silver beam with pride. All of her 13 employees actively participate in the refurbishment process and the presentation to the deserving family or individual has become a big, emotional community event. This year CARSTAR Mundelein will give away its seventh car.

“This program has blossomed into something wonderful,” Silver said.

700 N. Milwaukee Ave., Ste. 138B, Vernon Hills
(847) 949-0900 |

Vernon Hills is home to Thybony, a full-service decorating store, located in the Hawthorn Hills Square shopping center at the intersection of Routes 60 and 21. It represents the hard work and dedication of four generations of the Thybony family.

The current owner and president, Chris Larsen, is the great-grandson of the firm’s founder, William Thybony, a young painting contractor who immigrated to Chicago from Sweden in 1886; noticed a lack of paint stores; and chose to open one in the 300 block of Chicago Avenue.

Additional stores have come and gone over the years, but Larsen currently owns stores in Vernon Hills, Glenview and Lake Bluff while his cousin, Jim Thybony, owns two in Chicago.

The Lake Bluff store only sells paint. The Glenview store is an interior design and window treatments store. The Vernon Hills store, which last year relocated from a long-time Mundelein location, is a full-service decorating store that sells paint, window treatments, wall coverings and interior design services, utilizing degreed interior designers.

“My parents, Ed and Marilyn Larsen, were very involved with the family business for many years. Both have passed away but their impact remains an integral part of this business today. Thybony was a large wall covering company which distributed to 27 states. It involved many family members and employed more than 100 people,” Larsen recalled. “My uncle, Bud Thybony, designed and distributed beautiful lines of Thybony wallpaper and also distributed designer lines. Like me, my dad worked on the retail side. I remember working behind the counter with him, learning about paint and about building customer relationships.”

“The industry has gone through many changes over the years. In the early 1990s, for instance, consumers chose faux finishing over wallpapering, so Thybony focused on the retail/wholesale side of the paint and decorating industry. Now, with wall coverings becoming more popular again, we are thrilled,” he said.

Today, 70 percent of Thybony’s business is selling paint while 30 percent involves selling window and wall coverings, as well as interior design services.

“We are a very large supplier to painting contractors and commercial, health care and industrial clients, as well as to homeowners. We help a lot of them choose colors,” Larsen said.

“Our interior designers assist with their clients’ projects from beginning to end. We help with their selections of paint colors, wallpaper, window treatments, draperies and bedding. We also provide in-home consultations,” he added.

Today, homeowners are gravitating back to wallpaper, especially on accent walls and in powder rooms. The most popular designs are those featuring clean, crisp geometric designs, according to Liz Schaiper, a Thybony designer. As for paint color, various shades of neutrals, especially shades of gray, are most popular. Homeowners are choosing to cover their windows with blinds and shades, but adding drapery panels to soften the edges of the windows.

“Thybony is still in business 129 years later because family members understand that you have to love working with people and you must take the time to get to know your customers’ families and lifestyles. Then you also have to provide the best products, customer service and advice. That understanding has been passed from generation to generation in our family,” Larsen said.

Café Pyrenees
1762 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
(847) 362-2233 |

Café Pyrenees is a small French enclave, cozily tucked inside Libertyville’s Adler Square Shopping Plaza. It may be totally surrounded by Americana, but once you step inside its doors, you’re treated to a touch of southern France, courtesy of the Loustaunau family.

The restaurant, which serves dinner five nights a week (Tuesday through Saturday), exudes wonderful aromas which are complemented by the décor that makes you feel like you have been transported half a world away with its warm colors, brick features, greenery and many bottles of wine on display.

Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau came to the United States from his native France in 1978 and spent 12 years working in another restaurant. Then, in 1990, he and his wife, Mari, decided to open their own restaurant. They originally located in Vernon Hills, but by 2005 had outgrown their facility there and moved to Libertyville.

The current restaurant seats 160 people in the main room, plus 30 more in the dine-in bar area. When the weather is good, 30 more can be accommodated on the outdoor patio. Café Pyrenees also features a wine tasting room where they can host private parties and often feature live jazz, blues and southern rock bands.

Café Pyrenees specializes in nouveau French cuisine without all of the heavy sauces that many people associate with French food. Everything from the soups to the soufflés to the desserts is homemade each day by Chef Jean-Marc.

“Ours is a casual, come-as-you-are and come-hungry restaurant. It is not a pretentious French restaurant. From the beginning, we wanted to make Café Pyrenees a place for everyone and, as a result, we have watched those babies from our early days grow into adults and we have catered their graduations and rehearsal dinners. We have followed our customers’ families through their life events,” Mari explained.

“At the same time, we raised our own three children who are now 36, 33 and 30. They still help in the restaurant when we ask them. Whenever I call, they are there because we are a very close family. Growing up in a family business taught them a strong work ethic and an understanding of the general public that continues to serve them well,” she added.

In addition to feeding the people of the GLMV area, the Loustaunau family uses their restaurant to help the needy. They act as a collection place for everything from food, to diapers, to pet supplies, clothing, toiletries and more, finding organizations that are soliciting the items.

“One year we ran a holiday gift program that just never ended. One of the main organizations that we help, for instance, is Catholic Charities’ Family Self-Sufficiency in Waukegan. We provide school supplies, toiletries, clothing and birthday and holiday presents for all of the children there and it is so much fun. At Café Pyrenees we want to be like that old television show ‘Cheers’. We want to know everyone’s name.”

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