ST. CHARLES – ALE Solutions in St. Charles marked its 15th anniversary in business Monday, and officials celebrated with cupcakes and a visit from Mayor Ray Rogina.
Founder and president Rowena Zimmers was joined by her husband, Robert Zimmers, the CEO. Rowena Zimmers said she began the company in the basement of their home in downtown St. Charles. It now has 300 employees.
The business will keep its office at 1 W. Illinois St., St. Charles, even as it builds a new 36,000-square-foot office space for itself across the street at the corner of First and West Illinois streets, Robert Zimmers said.
ALE – which stands for Additional Living Expenses – works with insurance companies to provide temporary housing for families after they are displaced, Rowena Zimmers said.
“I’ve been in the industry over 20 years, serving policy holders and providing ... temporary housing to families that have been displaced from their home due to fire, tornado, earthquake, hurricane,” Rowena Zimmers said. “We do it across the U.S. and Canada. We work with insurance companies. We are the first company they contact when a family is needing a place to stay.”
If families are going to be out of their homes any length of time, the company finds them a rental home or apartment, Robert Zimmers said.
“We furnish it with towels and kitchen utensils and everything – what we call ‘turnkey,’ so they can walk in and have a home while their other home is being repaired,” Robert Zimmers said.
The company handles 5,000 new families every month, he said. And because fires and disasters strike families at any time, the employees work every day, 24/7.
“Christmas morning ... we’ve got three, four, five people here, answering phone calls,” Robert Zimmers said. “These personal disasters happen at no set time.”
Rogina praised the business for its longevity and success in St. Charles.
“The Zimmers and ALE Solutions are a great symbol of the great independent businesses that drive our community,” Rogina said. “We have corporate businesses … but at the end of the day, I am very proud to see all the independent businesses we have in our city [that] provide choices for our citizens.”