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Aurora businesses that help the community

Updated: September 18, 2012 6:07AM

Consumer behavior is so disappointing sometimes. A business that will stoop to making inflammatory comments to generate dissent between neighbors can laugh all the way to the bank, while proprietors who work to strengthen their communities often struggle to make payroll.

I prefer doing businesses with grown ups. There are plenty of places to patronize that act with dignity and professionalism, bringing people together rather than tearing them apart. In Aurora for example: both Johno’s and Kirhofers sporting goods stores have generously supported local sports teams for many years; Prisco’s Fine Foods supports everything from the Interfaith and Marie Wilkinson Food Pantries to the Fox Valley Orchestra; Chef Amaury at 33 West New York St. is constantly partnering with local artists and cultural groups; Mike & Denise’s on Farnsworth hosts an annual St. Baldrick’s Day event to combat childhood cancer. In Geneva, Tom & Eddies partners with the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association each year for the Burgers and Badges fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics of Illinois.

Pockets is another area restaurant that puts community first. Owned by Bob Lisberg, who was born and raised in Aurora and graduated from West High in 1987, Pockets has partnered with so many organizations, it would be difficult to list them all. There is Hesed House, A+ Foundation for West Aurora Schools, Communities in Schools (after school program), Annunciation School, Temple B’nai Israel, Mutual Ground, and Rebuilding Together Aurora just to name a few. They are currently in the middle of a “Pockets Against Parkinson’s” campaign in partnership with the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s research out of Geneva.

“I was brought up in a family that placed strong emphasis on giving back to the community,” said Lisberg. “tzedakah as we call it in the Jewish community. I fondly remember hearing those who knew my grandfather from our family business on River Street and his passion for sharing his success with those who were sometimes less fortunate. It is in that spirit that I wish to maintain my family name in this community and Pockets provides a wonderful conduit through which to give back and do great things.”

These are the businesses that deserve your patronage. It’s places like this that deserve to have people waiting in lines out the door to show their support. Businesses like those mentioned above are the ones that care not only about their own bottom line, but also about the communities they serve. Unfortunately, though, these are the voices that too often get drowned out while we listen to trash talk from less worthy establishments.

Lisberg mentioned that Aug. 18 is their special customer appreciation day with $1 Pockets because they genuinely appreciate your patronage in this tough economy and your partnership in helping them to make this community stronger. You can visit Pockets at 1330 North Orchard Rd. or 2933 N. Kirk Rd. When you stop by, be sure and tell Mr. Lisberg you appreciate his community-oriented philosophy.

Then next week, on Aug. 25, consider picking up a burger and a raffle ticket for a Harley over at Tom & Eddies in Geneva Commons. Since 1998 their Harley-Davidson raffle has raised $830,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. And who doesn’t want to take a closer look at a Harley!

It matters where you spend your money. With each purchase you cast a vote for what kind of future you want to see. Is it one where making controversial and inflammatory statements is rewarded? Or is it one where the community works together to become stronger, putting aside political and ideological differences to create good programs for our children, encourage our athletes, support the arts, help our less fortunate neighbors, and find cures for diseases? That’s the future I want to support.

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