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Ken Walchak Sells Clark-Devon to Employees

Ken Walchak and the Rogers Park community go back a long way. Ken and his brother Ed have been deeply involved in Rogers Park for decades and have run the Clark-Devon Hardware store for half a century. They followed in the footsteps of their father and grandfather who founded the company just shy of a century ago.

In recent years, the store has become practically a landmark in the Rogers Park community with its prominent location at the corner of Devon and Clark Streets. The store is also the first stop for many building owners and developers who rely on it for building supplies and all of their maintenance and construction needs, not just in Rogers Park but across the city and suburbs.

Ken also has the distinction of being one of the small handful of people who first conceived of an organization to promote Rogers Park and encourage redevelopment of the area, an organization that became known as the Rogers Park Builders Group and that still flourishes today. Although Ken has not been active at RPBG in recent years, he recently decided to re-up his membership and is again a part of the RPBG family.

Ken had a big announcement to make at the RPBG Happy Hour at the Glenwood Bar this past June 27th: the sale of the venerable hardware store. But the really big news was not so much the sale as it was the identity of the buyer, or more accurately, the buyers – 65 Clark-Devon employees who will assume ownership under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) acquisition. Many of these new owners have worked at Clark-Devon for years and know the store and the hardware business inside and out.

Sure, the Walchak’s could have gotten more money by selling to a larger hardware chain or a big conglomerate. But, being the community-minded people that they are, they decided to give their dedicated employees the chance to become owners themselves, ensuring that the company retains its community roots and continues to operate as a community-focused business for years to come.




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