Hank Boeger has deep roots in this area. The Yorktown shopping center sits on land his great-grandfather once farmed. His father and grandfather were born on that land.
For more than 20 years, he has grown his own unique business in Darien – .
Boeger’s parents owned a “mom and pop” hardware store in Bellwood, where he grew up.
“In the ‘70s, the chain stores were putting hardware stores out left and right,” he said. “Everybody wanted to shop the box stores. People weren’t thinking about service.”
So Boeger got a job in construction while in high school at Proviso East. He continued that work after graduation, doing materials-handling, traffic and plant management. He also did general contracting.
His work with the Oak Brook Water Department familiarized him with the local lakes and ponds. He and his wife, Dolly, loved Bruce Lake. They would drive around it every Sunday, never getting quite as far as Lemont Road. One day, they learned of a nearby house for sale.
“I got an address when this place was on the market,” he said. “We turned a couple of corners, and here we are. It was our home for a number of years before we (started the business).”
The Boegers started their family. The special needs of their children made him stop and consider his situation.
“You got blinders on and just go down the road,” he said. “Then when my children were little and ill, that’s what grounded me. And that changed everything.”
Boeger Landscape Supply was the result of that change. The business has grown but still shares the land with the family home. Which is just the way they like it.
“The other business allowed me to schedule myself to be home when I needed to be home,” Boeger said. “But this one allowed me to be home.”
Why concrete statuary?
“In my travels, I would run across the little mom-and-pop deals, and I just thought it was neat stuff,” he said. “Nobody really had concrete statuary. When you travel different states, sometimes you’d drive by somebody who had 50 items in their front yard. They were making them in their garage. I liked seeing the creativity. I thought it was neat.”
Boeger delights in running a business that caters to his customers’ sense of fun.
“Everybody came into (Dad’s hardware) store with something broken, with a problem,” he said. “That’s not necessarily the case here. People come here for something more fun, and for me that changes everything. My customers are having fun, so that’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing.”
But Boeger takes customer service very seriously.
“I think when you’re in business, when somebody walks in the door, you should solve as many of their problems as you can,” he said. “And those that do come in here with something broken, I try my darndest to take the best care of them as I can. They could have bought it someplace else, and that makes me feel even better when I can solve their problem for them.”
Predicting what customers will want has gotten to be more of a challenge now than in the past. “Now, something will sit for a week or two, or a month,” he said. “And then all of a sudden one day, six people will want the same item.”
The Boegers pride themselves on offering a wide variety of the best-quality merchandise at fair prices. From the life-sized bear on the corner to the birds lining the back fence to the gargoyles and angels near the pond, there’s something for every taste.
Customers can roam through clusters of fountains, benches, statues, plaques and other accessories. Similar items are grouped together to make it easier to find that perfect landscape accent.
“I learned very early on that we’re all different,” he said. “I try to have a variety, because we all like different stuff."
Landscaping is a seasonal business, and so is Boeger’s Landscape Supply. It opened for the season on April 15. Through June, it's open Tuesday through Sunday. In July and August, they are open Thursday through Sunday. From September into December, they are only open on Saturday and Sunday. They are closed from Christmas Day until the new season starts again on April 15.
Boeger’s Landscape Supply is located at 8700 Lemont Road in Darien. For more information, call 630-985-0533.