MAPLE PARK – Maple Park businessman Bruce Vajgert’s dream of creating a one-stop shopping experience in a comfortable, family-friendly environment has become a reality.
Bruce Vajgert and his wife, Carol Vajgert, opened their Kane County Country Market at 0N250 Route 47, Maple Park, this summer, with a grand opening set for Sept. 23.
The country store features a restaurant and coffee bar where pastries, gourmet coffee, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, salads, soft serve ice cream and other desserts are served.
Patrons that walk into the next building will find “a little bit of everything,” Manager Mary Ellen Pound said. The shop features a vast array of home decor, soaps, salsa, locally-produced honey and oils, clothing, a few antiques, distressed furniture pieces and a few equestrian items for horse lovers.
Bruce Vajgert met Pound when she held a barn sale a while ago; he was her first customer. He liked the way she had everything laid out for the sale, and he asked her to come work for him.
Bruce Vajgert said she has a great knack for decorating the store. She does all of the buying as well as the merchandising.
Gardeners and other outdoor enthusiasts can step outside and peruse flowers, shrubs, bushes, trees and all things green and growing; garden decorations, compost, mulch, grass seed and garden tools; as well as seasonal produce from local area farmer Klein’s Quality Produce in Burlington.
Nursery Manager Toni Berenes is available in the store for questions or suggestions about any of the outdoor items.
Chef Jeff Ramirez, long-time friend of the Vajgerts, makes cinnamon rolls several times each morning. There is plenty to check out while waiting for a fresh cinnamon roll – Savannah Rose Design jewelry is made by an artist from nearby Lake in the Hills, as well as old-fashioned penny candy that some may remember from their childhoods, including Mary Jane candies, Bit-O-Honey, DOTS and salt water taffy in all kinds of flavors.
“We can’t keep it on the shelf,” Ramirez said.
Pause for a moment at the wishing well, dedicated to Elijah “Shy” Vajgert and his best friend Arthur "Arty" Stenger, two 16-year-olds who died in a tragic automobile accident at Beith and Meredith roads in November 2016. Change tossed into the well will be donated to the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in honor of the boys.
“I lost two sons that day,” Bruce Vajgert said.
Plans for the store pretty much ground to a standstill for a while, with the Vajgerts devastated by their grief. From the groundbreaking in December 2015 to the store opening, it’s been more than a year and a half. But now that it’s up and going, the Vajgerts are experiencing joy in the way that the community has embraced it.
Bruce Vajgert, who also owns Kane County Landscaping, Interlocking Pavers and Vajgert’s Game and Tree Farm, said he had envisioned the market as a one-stop shopping and gathering destination, where people could come and relax, sit down, talk and let time slow down a bit.
“I wanted to create a nice family atmosphere,” he said. “I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
He said there is Wi-Fi available but he sees few people use it. In fact, he sees few people on their phones.
“People are sitting and talking with each other,” he said. “There’s kids running and laughing. It’s a happy place.”
The grand opening event will take place Sept. 23.