New La Grange business group leaders for 2013
Newly elected President Steve Jasinski talks with members of the La Grange Business Association board Jan. 10 at Palmer Place. | Jane Michaels—Sun-Times Media
La Grange Business Association
Steve Jasinski, president (Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Ryan Williamson, immediate past president (Horizon Wealth Management)
Mario Fotino, vice president (Impact Dance Studio)
Jen Schnell, treasurer (Alphagraphics)
Claudia Byrne, secretary (Gal Friday)
Board members at large
Andrea Barnish (Red Street Studio)
Niki Chibucos (Aging Care Connections)
Peggy Maglaris Kopley (Prasino)
Negeen Masghati (Consign and Redesign)
Vicky Karkouch (Consign and Redesign)
Steve Palmer (Palmer Place)
Veronica Sandoval (Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Charlene Vickery (Transformational Bodywork)
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:18AM
LA GRANGE — Much has changed since Steve Jasinski first served as president of the La Grange Business Association a decade ago.
Membership has mushroomed, the leadership is more inclusive and events and enterprises are constantly evolving, Jasinski noted after taking on a second three-year term this month.
“The LGBA was more like a good old boys’ club where a couple of guys ran everything and everybody followed along,” he said. “We had the Endless Summer concerts that were a lot of fun. I got to meet Charlie Daniels and Joan Jett, and the money from the concerts was used to put on the Christmas Walk in December.”
But now, more women than men serve on the association’s board, and the group includes a mix of restaurants, retailers, nonprofit groups and service providers with nearly 200 members, he said.
Jasinski, too, has changed. A banker for 15 years involved in the loan process, he joined the Dean Rouso Home Team at Baird and Warner in La Grange in 2012. The move to sales prompted Jasinski to increase his involvement and step forward as association president.
Among the goals for 2013, Jasinski cited soliciting more feedback in addition to increasing membership and involving more retailers and restaurants. Greater outreach also is needed to businesses on the south and west ends of town.
“I’d like to start a president’s roundtable lunch for more one-on-one communication for people who don’t like speaking up in a big group,” he said. “I also plan to do ‘pop bys,’ just stopping by and talking to businesses.”
Issues facing the the association include the weekend parking crunch and the trial use of a valet service to free up prime spaces and finding a replacement organizer for the La Grange Craft Fair, which had run for 38 years each July.
“Some business lines are still struggling in 2013. It’s taking people longer to pay for things,” Jasinski noted. “But some restaurants in town are standing room only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There’s not enough tables to fill the demand.”
Jasinski said business success depends on adapting to changing market conditions, and the association can facilitate information sharing.
“We can get neighbors talking to neighbors and give people the opportunity to network,” he said.
A strong, independent business community “gives that hometown feel,” Jasinski said. “That’s what makes La Grange charming.”