Milestones: Downers Grove businesses celebrate landmark anniversaries

Cadence Kitchen

By Maureen Callahan

It takes courage to transform an idea into a business, along with hard work and dedication, to keep it running. Several Downers Grove businesses are celebrating milestones this year. Whether a century, half of that, or five years, their successes deserve recognition.

Cadence Kitchen – 5 Years

When Tim Canning and Todd Davies opened Cadence Kitchen five years ago, their idea was to bring a city flair to Downers Grove’s restaurant scene. The pair met at Kenwood College in the mid-90s and went on to work together for the same chef for several years after graduation. While each brought different insights to the project, their collaboration resulted in an amazing restaurant.

The name Cadence has a musical undertone relevant to the rock and roll theme. But the title is also indicative of their collaboration of steps. “In the restaurant business, you kind of move to a cadence,” said Canning.

To plan the menu, they brainstormed ideas of dishes that are warm and comforting and, most importantly, in season. “We wanted it to be unique and playful but approachable,” said Davies. “We made lists and circled ideas, then flagged them. If things make sense to me, they usually make sense to Tim.”

Their hands-on approach largely contributes to the restaurant’s success. For the first six months, both rolled up their sleeves and gave a live demonstration of their expectations to the staff. “We were in the trenches with our team until we got the staff trained up and seeing things the way we see them,” said Canning. “Eventually, we were able to pass the baton, and our team is now capable of running the ship.”

Canning and Davies make it a point to take care of their community. They have ongoing relationships with multiple charities. Giving back is a tenant to their business model in the form of donations to numerous school fundraisers, The Y, Blessings in a Backpack, and many more.

“Most of our friends in the city had to close their restaurants after COVID, but the community supported us to the fullest,” Davies relayed. “So, we’re happy to return the favor by giving back.”

Louis for Men – 50 Years

Louis for Men

Louie Imbrogno, owner of Louis for Men, can advise any guy on how to dress for any occasion, including the everyday. From custom wedding suits to dances to interviews -and any day in between- this is the spot for the best designers and quality menswear.

The antique Vespa just inside the door at 748 Ogden Ave. is a nod to Imbrogno’s father, Louis Imbrogno Senior, who immigrated from Italy in the early 60s. He opened the business as a tailor and alteration studio in 1973.

When his son signed on 20 years later, he taught him the art of tailoring. “I have an in-house tailor these days, but if we’re really busy or have an emergency, I can get in the back and help out, too,” said Louie.

Shortly after Louie came on board, they began selling formalwear and suits, with higher-end casual brands such as Tommy Bahama, Seven Diamonds, and Nacobi eventually following.

Louie knows the ins and outs of men’s clothing and enjoys helping clients choose clothes for any occasion. Custom suits- for work or formal occasions- are the specialty of the house.

Ever since COVID, “renting wedding tuxedos is kind of going by the wayside,” according to Louie. “These days, grooms want to choose the fabric, lining, buttons, lapel, and slacks. We’re happy to help dress customers for their big day.”

Or any day. The casual dress offerings are as varied as the business attire. No matter the occasion, however, “you have to like it, and it has to fit,” Louie firmly believes. “It’s all about comfort, even when you’re dressed up.”

In addition to many local patrons, generational customers drive back from Winnetka, St. Charles, and other distant suburbs. There are clients who have moved out of state and come back into the store when they’re in town for the weekend. “It’s a relationship,” Louie smiled. “They know us. They can rely on our fits.”

Stephens Plumbing & Heating – 100 Years

A good plumber is someone you might not know until you’re underwater. Literally!

The name Stephens Plumbing & Heating has come to be synonymous with Downers Grove. Arthur Stephens and Henry Rosenbaum fulfilled a community need when they opened StephensPlumbing.

They first hung out a shingle at 1033 Burlington Ave in 1923. They survived the crash of ’29 and went on to build a successful and recognized brand. After moving locations several times over the past century, the business is now located at 747 Ogden Avenue.

Stephens has grown substantially from basic plumbing to the addition of HVAC services and, more recently, the option of full kitchen and bathroom remodels. Now, with 20 trucks and as many field technicians, you’re likely to see one anytime you’re out and about in town.

Perhaps part of the reason for this great success is continuity. In a hundred years, the business has only changed families once. Valentine Claus bought it from Arthur Stephens in 1968.

It then passed to Kevin’s father, Matthew Claus, followed by his uncle, Anthony Claus. The current owner, Kevin Claus, purchased the company from his father and is still in the field and on call for emergency services.

Stephens passion for honest work is palpable. “Doing the job right the first time and always standing by our work, as well as our word, are priorities to us,” said Claus. “We pride ourselves on old-fashioned quality and service and enjoy helping where we are needed.”

Stephen’s Plumbing & Heating