Pictured above is a rendering of the new Darvin Furniture facade project due for completion in September.
Overseeing New Darvin Furniture Construction Project, Contractor Fondly Remembers the Path That Got Him There
Waner Enterprises, Inc. has 23-year history with furniture retailer
If there is anything you might know about Darvin Furniture, in addition to being Chicagoland's largest furniture and mattress store, it is that they are always working on improving their customer experience. Construction projects are part of improving that experience.
For James L. Waner, president of Waner Enterprises, Inc., Darvin’s commitment to improvements has meant a steady flow of regular construction projects for his company. He describes it as a great partnership that started more than two decades ago. “We respectively call Darvin the ‘never-ending’ project,” he fondly recalls. “Almost every other year for the last 23 years we have remodeled a different area of the business.”
Waner, who started out on the HVAC side of the industry 35 years ago, opened his own business in Palos Heights in 1986. Ten years later he built his current facility in Chicago Ridge. “We have enjoyed a relationship with both Marty and Steve Darvin that started with their father, David. Our families hold the same values and we are all men of our words,” he says. “I have done projects for Darvin Furniture on a handshake, which is very rare in today’s business environment.”
Darvin Furniture, 15400 La Grange Road in Orland Park, IL, is currently in the process of revamping their exterior fa?ade, a project Waner says is scheduled to be completed in September. The project involves stripping down the existing fa?ade to the bare steel and rebuilding it with a totally new look.
Waner says a dramatic entry area will be the focal point of the exterior changes. “It will be twice as large as the current entry and 10 feet higher. It will be a completely glass and aluminum frame material with state-of-the-art lighting and mechanical systems. The new Darvin logo will adorn the top of the structure.”
The recent groundbreaking for new facade improvements at Darvin furniture. Attendees (from L to R) Ethel Stichter, Customer Service Manager; Lori Stengren, VP of Merchandising, Marketing and Sales; Jim Waner Jr., VP of Waner Enterprises, Inc.; Steve Darvin, Co-Owner Darvin Furniture; Jim Waner Sr., President, Waner Enterprises, Inc.; Marty Darvin, Co-Owner Darvin Furniture; Eric Waner, Project Manager, Waner Enterprises, Inc.; Carolina Dizon, Executive VP of Finance; Bob McGivney, Store Manager.
Waner says that projects he has worked on for Darvin Furniture include remodeling showroom areas, expanding the building for additional sales space, adding a 40-foot high warehouse, and then years later converting it into a two-story showroom and clearance and outlet center. Waner recently handled the new parking area in the front of the Orland Park building and was responsible for adding a concrete bridge over a creek to provide convenient access to the showrooms.
Similar to the family aspects of Darvin Furniture, Waner says he still considers Waner Enterprises, Inc. a family business. His son, Jim Waner Jr., has been project manager and superintendent since the day he started, graduating with a business degree from Lewis University. More than a year ago Jim Jr.’s son, Eric, joined the organization as an estimator/project manager, with a degree from Purdue University in management, building construction management, a certificate in entrepreneurship and an Illinois Real Estate Broker’s License for the property management division.
Breaking ground on a new Darvin Furniture construction project in 1994.
“When family members can work together in a business, I believe it bonds us all together with a common goal – the hope of passing on a successful business to future generations,” Waner says.
“We have been fortunate over the years, that over 70 percent of our yearly volume is from repeat clients or referrals from our satisfied customers,” Waner says. “The Darvin’s know they can call me day or night with any problem or concern that they have. They know it will be taken care of as soon as possible."
Looking to the future, Waner says he is already talking with Steve and Marty Darvin about a project that would follow the current fa?ade and entryway project. For two family businesses working in close partnership, the benefits of commitment and trust seem to be working just fine.