St. Charles Area's Top Business Stories of 2012

While 2012 saw business successes, some of the year’s best-read business stories involved closures and crime.

The past year saw the city's business community continue to struggle with the rest of the nation from the fallout of the Great Recession.

There were victories, certainly, but St. Charles Patch readers devoted much of their attention to these, reflecting the closings of two eateries, one that was renowned in the region, as well as several business crime stories and ongoing coverage of Charlestowne Mall.

  • Feb. 7, 2012: Al Capone's Hideaway Closes Its Doors

Al Capone's Hideaway and Steakhouse, a Prohibition and '20s-themed restaurant, has closed down, according to the Daily Herald.

  • March 7: Fat Rosie's Taco Bar Quietly Closes in St. Charles

A trendy St. Charles taco bar that opened less than two years ago has quietly and suddenly closed.

  • July 25:

After a six-month-long investigation, a 56-year-old St. Charles woman was charged with financial exploitation of the elderly, forgery and felony theft, police said.

  • July 25: St. Charles Man Indicted in $8.5 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A St. Charles man has been indicted on four counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud after an investigation into an alleged fraud scheme to obtain more than 20 residential mortgage loans totaling roughly $8.5 million from various lenders.

  • Sept. 10:

A St. Charles man and his father from South Barrington have been sentenced to federal prison for skimming millions of dollars from the Elgin strip club they own and charges related to a separate illegal Internet gambling business, the FBI announced on its website.

  • Feb. 23: Charlestowne Mall Renovations Still in 'Preliminary Stages' While Storefronts Empty

“We haven’t heard a hammer yet.” That comment from The Limited manager Sarah Suchor basically sums up the renovation status of Charlestowne Mall. While hopes remain high for the struggling shopping venue that lost several more tenants within the last few months, mall Marketing Director Jeffrey Renkert said plans are still on track. 

Kim Malay December 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Craig I agree with you regarding incentives. We can't have a one type fits all incentive program. We need to get the residents and business owners involved, developed a multi option program and get out there and agressively market. Getting the residents involved is a big issue. We need to know what they want, what they are willing to do to help get those businesses in town and let them feel like they are playing a part in it. It has been too much of this is the way it is going to be from our administration lately. This goes for housing too. Lets find out what we really do need not just build to build. We need to really put some serious thought into this and be proactive. We also need to start looking for businesses we don't have in the area. Having 3 Walmarts, Targets, 2 Best Buys etc.. in the quad city area doesn't work. Now you look at the success of Meijer and Costco where they are not so close by that is the type of things we need to be looking for. We also need to do a better job of business retention. Reaching out to the owners and checking in to see what is happening and what they need. These have all been a problem. There is a lot to be done to move us forward and it is not just 1 thing that needs to be done to fix it. We need to work as a community to make it happne and we need City officials to encourage that unity, by asking and encouraging public input on a regular basis, instead of being so negative when they hear what they dont want to hear.
Craig Bobowiec December 29, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Kim, I think you well may have hit the nail on the head. It may indeed take several incentive or financial assistance programs and not just a one size fits all mentality. I agree we need to bring together all willing and interested residents. How can the ideas of many varied people from all walks of life and education levels not offer a variety of ideas to get the conversation started.
David Amundson December 29, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Very clearly, the taxpayers of STC do not support the use of the tax dollars going to subsidize the proposed Lexington Club TIF (sorry, that was just way too tempting!).
David Amundson December 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I can't help but wonder what a similar 5-minute drive analysis would say about downtown Geneva....I'm pretty sure it would conclude that downtown Geneva cannot exist. Yet somehow, miraculously, it does. How is that? From where I sit, it promises one thing: charm. It then not only delivers charm, it also allows one to conveniently park their car and get a good meal, all while having the contents of their pocketbook charmed right out of them. What does St. Charles promise? From the advertising material I saw hanging at an Illinois Tollway oasis, we also promise charm. What do we deliver? Well, we certainly have charming downtown building stock, that much is for sure (arguably superior to what Geneva has to offer), but we start to lose people when there is no place to park on Main Street and too many of the storefronts are either bars or service industry; this does not encourage casual drifting like what happens in Geneva. Therefore, I see the problem not as over or under-supply of any demographic of retail (again, downtown Geneva should not exist if we were to take that approach as Gospel) but of not having found an appropriate mix of retail. Bottom line is that folks very clearly drive from all over to go to downtown Geneva (so I don't give the 5-minute drive test any creedence) to get their fill of charm. If we can successfully recalibrate, we can capture that crowd as well.
Karl Brubaker December 30, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Dollar Store in VSC has announced it's closing. I sure hope St. Charles gets another Title Loan Store, "We buy Gold" joint or Payday Loan Store in there soon.......


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