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As Banks, Government and Big Business Seeks Handouts, Family-Owned Businesses Work Harder and Stand Tall!

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As many big corporations and financial institutions continue to crumble, and families are forced to stretch the dollar so much further, several local families have combined their talents and skills and decided to depend on themselves during these disastrous economical times. 

    “No one is giving us any bailouts,” says Wayne Rodgers of R & R Home Repairs. “We rely on our over 70 combined years of skilled, technical training to support our families, as corporate America continues lay-offs in the workforce.”
  Wayne Rodgers, his father and sons have many years of versatile education, training and experience in the field of home repairs and maintenance. All have spent years working for major institutions and all have been the casualties of corporate downsizing. Rather than live off unemployment or seek ‘bailouts’, the men have decided to form a family-owned and operated home repair company and offer reasonable rates to homeowners in need of services that are unable to pay the astronomical rates so many big companies demand today.
  “The family dollar is  tighter than ever before and many families and senior citizens are unable to afford needed home repairs,” explains Rodgers. “We think we can help fill that need, provide quality services at reasonable prices and at the same time support our own families. That’s why we’ve started a family business.”
  The Rodgers Family offers skilled services in the areas of electric and plumbing repair, landscaping, painting, remodeling and power-washing.  “If there is something that we can’t ordinarily provide expert services in, we will find a quality expert that can do so for our clients.”

 Three generations of Rodgers women own and operate two local day care centers. (left to right) Barbara Rodgers (grandmother/Mom) Kaila Bolter (granddaughter) and Marita Rodgers (Mom) with grandson, Tyler.

   At the same time, the Rodgers women in the family own and operate two day care centers – Rodgers Romper Room, a state licensed facility located at #37 Atwater in St. Peters and a second location, Rodgers Romper Room 2 in O’Fallon.  Three generations work together in this family business too. 

  Family-owned and operated businesses offer a significant level of needed strength in a community. When people choose to take the risk and step out on their own, they choose not to financially rely on the government for answers. And, now that money is not readily available through the banks to finance new endeavors, many new business owners must finance the risk with personal resources. This ensures a level of commitment that does not appear to be in the corporate world too often today.

Leon Blattel (Tim's Dad), Kim Bauer (daughter), Mary Ann Huber (founder), Kathy (daughter) and Tim Blattel and their children serve are the extended family to many senior citizens at Twin Oak Estates. 


  Another great example of such commitment is Twin Oak Estates – a retirement community located at 707 Emge Road in O’Fallon. The facility is owned and operated by the Huber/Blattel/Bauer family. Everyone in the family – from the matriarch Mary Ann Huber to the youngest of the Blattel and Bauer Families (Mary’s children) play a significant role in the lives of many senior citizen residents of the community. Twin Oak Estates has expanded several times in it 28 years of service, as the family does everything possible to accommodate the needs of any senior citizen that needs a home and extended family – regardless of faith, race, creed and sometimes even financial capabilities.  Because of growing demand of quality senior living and care, the family is now in the process of building a second location at 250 Savannah Terrace, in Wentzville. The new facility is on schedule to open in May 2010. 
  Quality of care is hallmark at the Twin Oak Estates, so much so that Mary Ann Huber, the founder, also lives in the facility and is an active member of the everyday community. Mary Ann Huber is also the founder of the Mary Queen of Peace Shrine located at the corner of Imperial and Civic Park Drives.  This labor of love is the family’s way of ‘giving back to the wonderful community’ in which they live, work and raise their children.

Jessica Motley and Mom, Jackie Wilson

    Jessica Motley and Jackie Wilson are also a great modern day example of small business owners.  Mom and daughter are in business together.  Jackie Wilson comes from a real estate background and daughter Jessica, a  1995 graduate of Fort Zumwalt North High School, owned a local shop that she recently was forced to close due to the sluggish economy. Today, the duo operates Motley’s Pub & Grub, a popular pub located at 2003 Highway K. When times got tough, the ladies modernized   the facility and opened a kitchen to serve appetizers and home style meals. This past summer, they offered barbecue items prepared in an open pit on the parking lot and are currently planning a new winter menu to offer their customers.
   Jessica states, “Opening a business in today’s economy is not easy. Business owners have to be willing to work hard, long hours and sacrifice more than ever to compete with the chain restaurant/bar locations.”
  It is undeniable that locally-owned establishments like Motley’s Pub and Grub offer a more personable, neighborhood-like flavor in an otherwise fast-pace sterile corporate environment. For many of their customers, it’s their home away from home—another extension of family—community. It is not unusual for places like Motley’s to host a fundraiser for an individual or group in need of assistance that would otherwise not receive the help from formal philanthropic groups with organizational structures. Big Corporations just don’t do that in a community.


   Families take risks every day when they choose to open or expand businesses in tough economic times. Tony and Cathy Tocco of  Tocco’s Italian Market & Deli at 1248 Bryan Road wanted to bring a piece of “The Hill” to the O’Fallon community and opened their new location just over one year ago. 

Tony & Cathy Tocco with daughter Angela  Barbarotta, Mimi and Haylee Deckard, great-nieces Sophia and Natalie Walsh  (young twin ‘bosses’ from Cusumano’s Italian Restaurant - another family business in South O’Fallon.)

  The new business is a branch off of their 25-year old Corporation—Tocco’s Frozen Foods located in downtown St. Louis.
  “Business has been tough throughout these past months,” explains Tony Tocco. “I’m not sure that people are aware of what we’ve brought out here with us.”

  One visit and customers know that Tocco’s is not your everyday Italian Deli. From deli sandwishes, to pasta sauces, to the homemade Italian bread, Italian cookies and Cannolis - Tony and his family insist their special family recipes are closely followed to ensure top quality. They are also happy to share recipes and cooking tips with cooking enthusiasts. Cathy has hosted a couple cooking classes in the location and the customers love it! 

Ray, Amanda (daughter), wife Sherri, and sons Ray and Lou Boccardi 

  Luigi’s and Raffaele’s Italian Family Restaurant is another example of the ‘true grit’ of family-owned businesses. Ray Boccardi and his family have followed in the footsteps of his ancestors and opened a location at 548 Salt River Road in Western St. Peters.
  Ray chose to leave employment with Ford Motors and open a family business.  Ray and his daughter Amanda, prepare old Italian family recipes, while his sons Ray and Lou serve guests at their tables. Sherri, Ray’s wife, holds the family daily operations together at the cash register with both eyes focused  on the minute-by-minute flow of orders and food delivery. In order to give back to the community, Ray and Sherri offer their restaurant, food and services on Friday evenings as a means of fundraising for groups in the community. A percentage of Friday evening sales are contributed to pre-designated charities and youth groups.
  Ask Ray if he regrets his decision? “Absolutely not,” states Ray. “I am in charge of my own destiny now.” And what a great destiny he and his family are heading for! Luigi & Raffaele’s Pizzas are now sold in stores within a two state area and hope to soon go nationwide with a variety of products. Where ever this success leads them, Ray and Sherri will never forget their tough beginnings – their roots to this community.

The late Stefanina Rodrick’s son, Glen Roderick and son-in-law Bill Le Beume


  The new family-owned business entrepreneurs have excellent role models in the O’Fallon community. Two such role models are the Stefanina’s Family, who have been a community staple for over 28 years and; Heaven Scent Bakery, who opened their original location in a small storefront in 1995.

Sisters and orifginal General Motors employees,  Linda and Janet of Heaven scent Bakery made major personal investments when they chose to design and build their own new location on Bryan Road 1 1/2 years ago. 

  Both Stefanina’s Italian Restaurant and Heaven Scent Bakery have survived the tough economic times for two reasons. They offer a premium quality product and service, and they have given so much back to their community that their customer loyalty is extremely high.  There is no doubt that both families have a tremendous amount of ‘heart’ invested in the community.

 

Cyndi Aufner opened Hairmasters with her late mother. Since then her sister Mary Heskett, neice Heather and daughter Kensey have joined in the love of Cosmotology.

  As big corporations continue to fall, O’Fallon residents can proudly proclaim that their family-owned businesses are still holding on and going strong. Hairmasters Salon, which opened in 1980, is celebrating their third generation of service in the community.

Ed and Carol Miller from Sno Biz Hawaiian Shave Ice

  The Sno Biz Family and staff just completed their 13th season of serving Hawaiian Ice treats and employing hundreds of high school age worker from the community.

  Bell & Osborn Auto Body located at 107 North Getty Drive in western St. Peters is now managed by second generation (and 1995 Fort Zumwalt North High School graduate) John Osborn.  The company was originally started by John’s Dad  (Larry Osborne) and long time friend Rodger Bell in 1974.


  Long time O’Fallon chiropractor, Dr. Mike Williams has practiced in this community over 15 years.  As a pioneer in new methods of Spinal decompression,  Dr. Mike has experienced rapid new growth in his practice and opened a new location at Mexico Road and Highway K to better accommodate this growth.
  This move was well thought out and past due, however Dr. Mike is the first to admit making and changes or financial commitments at this time with business is a “scary propostion”. However, the surplus of open office space in the O’Fallon area worked out in the young Doctor’s favor and created the right climate for the move and expansion.
  “We are thrilled to be in our new location, and my patients love the change too,” reports Dr. Mike.    
 
 The Scoop Newspaper also joins that long list of small business survivors. This specific newspaper marks our 14th year anniversary of print. We ARE the oldest community newspaper in the O’Fallon area!
  We mark this notable occasion with the completion of our expansion of our new, and significantly larger on-line newspaper site. As print costs continue to escalate, The Scoop Newspaper has developed an efficient news and entertainment information location. The website newspaper was accessed by over 1.5 million documented readers in the first six months of 2009, and the number continue to grow! The new newspaper format offers fantastic, affordable advertising opportunities to all businesses in the St. Charles County area…and around the world!


  We celebrate this new success in good company!

  Stay tuned as we continue to feature more of the small family-owned and operated businesses in the St. Charles County area in upcoming issues of The Scoop Newspaper.  Please support the small businesses of this community, who in turn, always support the community!