‘Oak Brook’ name goes beyond village boundaries
Updated: June 8, 2012 10:56AM
Every time a new business commits to Oak Brook, village trustees can often be heard talking up the “Oak Brook brand,” and don’t hesitate to call their community “The Jewel of DuPage County.”
The name appears to be as good as advertised as several area businesses outside of the village publicize themselves under the Oak Brook name.
Just south of the village, in Westmont, sits the Oak Brook Racquet & Fitness Club at 650 Westmont Drive.
Founded by Oak Brook resident Jay Kramer in 1973, the club has been borrowing the name of its neighbor ever since. Kramer, the longtime successful tennis coach at Hinsdale Central High School, took the name as a tribute.
Current partner/owner Gregg Pill says the club was built as the street was being put in and Kramer chose the name himself.
“The year before he opened this club, the Hinsdale Racquet Club opened,” Pill said. “Because the Hinsdale name was taken, he called it ‘Oak Brook Racquet Club.’
“Back then, he would have been a coach for about 14 years and most of his tennis players were from Hinsdale and Oak Brook.”
Pill and his partners purchased the club from Kramer in 2000 and had thoughts of changing the name, but chose not to mess with success.
“We debuted a new logo, but kept the name,” Pill said. “We chose to keep it the way it was when (Kramer) started it.”
Another Westmont business borrowing the Oak Brook name is Oakbrook Toyota on 550 E. Ogden Avenue.
The dealership was once called Big Ben Toyota, but the name was changed after Bob Rohrman purchased it in 1993. The current facility was built in 1996.
John Barrett, the Rohrman director of operations for Illinois, said the proximity to Oak Brook proved appealing for Rohrman as he chose to rename the dealership.
“In his mind, Oak Brook was more recognizable than Westmont at the time because of the Oakbrook Center mall and other things,” Barrett said. “He felt back then a lot more people would recognize the Oak Brook name.”
Other businesses borrowing the village’s name include the Drury Lane Oakbrook in Oakbrook Terrace and various hotels in the western suburbs as the Oak Brook brand extends well outside the village boundaries.