Meet A Dad: Jeff - Libertyville Area Moms

Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?

I actually grew up in the Southwest Chicago suburbs in LaGrange Park. The only thing I knew about Lake County when I was kid was that this is where Great America was and it seemed like it took a lifetime to get up here (in reality, probably about 45 minutes). My wife Darcy and I actually moved to Grayslake when she started working in Kenosha back in 2007.  Again, I had no idea there was even a town called Grayslake, but we lived there for 11 years, before moving to the Bittersweet neighborhood in Gurnee last Spring.  Bittersweet is this little tucked away street that my wife discovered for us and we couldn’t be happier staying in Lake County.


Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)

I have a son, Dash, who is 11 years old and just finished 5th grade and a daughter, Remy, who is 10 years old and just finished 4th grade.

What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?

My son is now getting to the age where he really loves Great America, so we got him a season pass for Christmas this year.  We’ve been taking them to Warren Township Park since they were little and still do to this day.  It’s perfect for any age group with pirate ships for little ones to play on, a sand pit where you can dig for dinosaur bones and taller climbing apparatuses for bigger kids. One of our family traditions is going to the Lake County Fair.  We have done that every year since we’ve moved to Lake County and wouldn’t miss it.

Our favorite spot to dine in Lake County with the kids is BBQ Productions in Third Lake. When my wife and are out, we love going to downtown Libertyville, there are so many good bites to be found. We love Milwalky Taco and Firkin. My wife loves all of the boutiques downtown as well.  Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon or a warm summer evening, there isn’t much better than strolling along Milwaukee Avenue in downtown Libertyville.

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!

I am currently the General Manager of Hawthorn Mall. I’ve been in the shopping center industry my entire life (it’s actually how I met my wife).  She officed out of Hawthorn Mall briefly in 2005 when Westfield owned it and I got there in 2012 as the Marketing Director. I was lucky enough to oversee the Grand Opening of the AMC Hawthorn 12, which is my family’s favorite movie theater.  I’m very excited for all the amazing things Centennial has planned for our community hub and how they’re turning the idea of a traditional shopping center on it’s head.

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

As a member of the Hawthorn Mall family, this community has been very instrumental in getting me where I am because without the support of the community, the shopping center couldn’t thrive.  I love hearing people’s stories about how they grew up in the area and Hawthorn Mall was such a big part of their lives. It’s the same for me, and not just because of my job. I’ve had several of my children’s birthdays there,  family movie nights at AMC and celebrated the last day of school with trips to Dave & Buster’s.   The community has a strong attachment to Hawthorn Mall and I can’t wait for everyone to see how we’re going to reward that loyalty and create so many more memories for everyone.


What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a Star Wars nut. I’m not old enough to have seen the original movies in the theater, but those VHS tapes (if anyone remembers those), were gold to me when I was little and I of course had all of the action figures. One of my favorite joys as a parent is getting to pass along my love of the movies to my kids.  While my wife will shake her head every now and again, she is extremely supportive of the family hobby and even decorated the guest room in our house to essentially be a Star Wars hotel room.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Dad?

Treasure the time, because it goes by quickly. My wife likes to say I’m always on a perpetual quest for fun.  She’s not wrong, but it’s important for me to make sure we’re creating as many special memories and traditions for our kids as possible now, so they will have when they’re older.  I was very lucky as a kid and had a tremendous childhood with an endless amount of happy memories that I still cling to today.  I want us to give our kids the same.


What is next for you?

We’re actually going to Toyko soon. Our goal is to travel more and see the world. A few years ago we went to Paris and Rome, but it’s been a lifelong dream of hers to see Toyko, so we’ll be checking that off the bucket list this summer.

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