An idea from the Oak Lawn Business Development Commission to name a “Business of the Month” was received well by Oak Lawn’s Mayor, Sandra Bury and the Village Board of Trustees at last week’s village board meeting.
Gary Mentgen, a longtime member of the Commission presented the idea to the board in a report on behalf of the entire board, which includes Jim Bushbach, Jack Baker, Gregory Lis, Ken Stoffregen, a chamber of commerce member and Village Trustee Tim Desmond.
Mentgen noted that the commission was developed many years ago to promote Oak Lawn businesses. He said that the Commission was responsible for coming up with the “Shop Oak Lawn” idea as well as an internet based “Shop Oak Lawn 2000” and a Classic Car Show. Mentgen proudly noted that the work of the Commission had been previously highlighted in Crain’s. In 1996, Crain’s listed the Commission in its Small Business Resource Guide.
Mentgen said that the “Mayor’s Excellence Award” could be used to increase business in Oak Lawn. “With this program, we feel that our residents will shop Oak Lawn on a more regular basis,” said Mentgen. He also said that the program would bring more recognition to the village, increase sales tax revenue and assist current businesses while attracting businesses.
Mentgen set forth various rules regarding the award including the fact that the business would have to be a commercial business with a physical location in Oak Lawn. The nominations would be submitted under different categories to the Commission which would review the entries and make a recommendation to the Mayor and Board of Trustees.
Both Trustee Tim Desmond, who apologized for not attending more meetings of the Commission, and Trustee Terry Vorderer expressed support for the idea. Vorderer called the business community “the lifeblood of the village”. He said the Commission members work hard to promote businesses. Trustee Bud Stalker said he was at the meeting when the Commission discussed the idea and that he supports it also.
None of the other board members spoke on the issue or were asked their opinions. However, Trustees Robert Streit and Michael Carberry have business backgrounds. Streit currently owns two businesses in Oak Lawn.
Mayor Sandra Bury also said she liked the idea and said it would bring business promotion to the next level. Mentgen predicted that 2016 would be a good year for Oak Lawn businesses and Bury noted that there have been “two ribbon cuttings already”. Mentgen said “a lot of people don’t realize that the things we do today started five years ago”.
According to the Village of Oak Lawn website, “The Business Development Commission meets on a monthly basis to discuss economic development issues and to discuss updates on issues affecting the business community. The Business Development Commission seeks to promote the commercial development of the Village, serve as ambassadors to the business community, inform the public as to the benefits of the Village of Oak Lawn and make recommendations to the Village Manager and Village Board regarding development opportunities.”