3 New Businesses Open Downtown Aurora
When Tony Hunsberger was in the market for a storefront for his health insurance business, downtown Aurora became the perfect fit.
“It is so convenient,” Hunsberger said of his new downtown location at 40 W. Downer Pl.
Hunsberger, of Oswego, started searching for places close to his home after his previous office relocated to Oak Brook. He landed in downtown Aurora this summer. He said the zip code is just right for Health Markets, a health insurance office that assists clients who are largely served by the Affordable Care Act.
Aurora Downtown, a group of downtown business and property owners, was able to lend Hunsberger a hand in opening his new office with the rental subsidy program they launched this year.
“It worked out great,” said Hunsberger, who worked with Harriet Parker at the Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College to develop a business plan.
The plan appealed to Aurora Downtown’s Business and Retention Committee (BAR), and Hunsberger’s Health Markets is one of three businesses that the committee picked to assist with a year’s worth of rental assistance, up to $10,000.
“It all just kind of came together,” Hunsberger said.
Matt Knowles, owner of All Spoked Up in Batavia, is also using Aurora Downtown’s rental assistance program to open up a second location in downtown Aurora.
Knowles is preparing to open the bicycle shop’s second location soon at 14 W. Downer Pl. in the old Metropolitan Business College building owned by Dan Hites.
All Spoked Up is opening in the suite formerly occupied by World Relief (who have since moved to LaSalle Street in downtown Aurora). Knowles is excited about the new downtown Aurora location, and said he hopes to open any day. Knowles is currently working on a build out.
Aurora Downtown’s BAR committee decided, as its project for 2014, to offer rent subsidies to up to three new businesses locating in downtown Aurora. The committee members felt that this was consistent with the mission of the committee, which is to attract and retain new businesses. The committee looked to approve either a new upstart business, a relocation from outside the downtown area, or the opening of an additional location of an existing business.
BAR wanted to deal with a for-profit business that would contribute to the tax base in Aurora, and expressly prefer a retail business, although they would accept and consider applicants who were service businesses.
“Although we hadn’t envisioned a bike store, when All Spoked Up responded to our program, we were excited. Aurora is a bike-friendly town and we felt there was a need for a bike store in the downtown area,” said John Nachtrieb, spokesperson for BAR.
“We are delighted that All Spoked Up responded, and we are looking forward to helping them get established in downtown Aurora,” he added.
Rory Bolen, owner of ad agency Bad Monkey Circus, is the third business owner awarded rental assistance funds from Aurora Downtown.
Bolen is moving his office from Aurora Business Center on Downer Place to a storefront location on South LaSalle Street. The new location will also sell t-shirts and apparel by one of four clothing brand companies that Bolen owns.