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posted: 8/17/2016 1:00 AM

All the right tools

Naperville family business marks 150 years of ‘faith, hard work and quality tools’

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  • Andrew Hanson, his dad Craig Hanson and Craig's brother Phil run C.H. Hanson, a 150 year old company that makes tools and stencils.

    Andrew Hanson, his dad Craig Hanson and Craig's brother Phil run C.H. Hanson, a 150 year old company that makes tools and stencils.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • MEC is moving its corporate headquarters into a new 40,000 square foot space at 1308 Marquette Drive in Romeoville.

    MEC is moving its corporate headquarters into a new 40,000 square foot space at 1308 Marquette Drive in Romeoville.

  • Mark San Fratello

    Mark San Fratello


A Naperville manufacturer is hitting a huge milestone. C.H. Hanson, a family business run by the fourth and fifth generation, is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The company's founder, Christian Henry Hanson, the 'CH' of C.H. Hanson, started the company when he came to the U.S. from Denmark. Shortly after arriving, he was drafted and fought in the Civil War and was later injured in the Battle of Gettysburg. He was taken to Fort Dearborn in Chicago, and decided to settle in the growing city.

In early 1866, he founded C.H. Hanson, basing it off the stencil business he learned in Denmark.

He started on Clark Street making stencils for whiskey manufacturers to label their oak barrels. "He was a stencil cutter," said Andrew Hanson, the great great grandson of the founder. Andrew now runs the growing company with his uncle, Phil, who serves as president, and his father, Craig, the CEO.

The growing business, one of the nation's oldest manufacturers, has come a long way. About 10 years ago the firm moved from Franklin Park to its 20 acre Naperville campus that includes 15,000 square feet for office space, 80,000 square feet for manufacturing and warehousing and enough land to double in the future.

The company offers about 6,000 products that include construction layout tools, marking devices, safety products, machines and work holding vices. They are sold at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, W.W. Grainger and elsewhere.

"We still manufacture stencils," Andrew said, adding that they are the oldest stencil manufacturer and steal stamp maker in the U.S. They make stencils to mark signs at airports and the Illinois Department of Transportation as well as steel stamps found on Titleist golf clubs. "The oil and gas industry is also big for us for making stamps. It all comes down to the identification of something," he said.

Andrew, who grew up in Barrington and now lives in Geneva, said he always wanted to work for the family business. After college, he briefly worked for another company before returning to the family firm where he worked in sales before getting into marketing.

He said the company is growing on acquisitions, including Palmgren Steel Products. To celebrate the anniversary and the continued success, the company is holding a large party this month with about 300 people.

Through the growth, the original characteristics remain the same from 150 years ago. "We're a faith-based company. We were founded on faith, hard work and quality tools," Andrew said.

A new home

MEC has purchased, built and is moving its corporate headquarters into a new space at 1308 Marquette Drive in Romeoville.

The 40,000 square foot facility contains all needed fabrication and construction capabilities along with a full design suite, engineering, print production and extensive storage space for the client base they service from this location. Owner Brian Phebus and President Tom Bacha say they created the office space to not only demonstrate MEC's space planning and design prowess, but to utilize materials and techniques represented on the exhibit show floor so the office doubles as a show room to visitors and guests.


Elements Massage, a franchise founded in Colorado, opened in the Arboretum of South Barrington on Higgins Road.

Jim and Maria Mercola, both with IT and marketing/advertising backgrounds, are the owners. Jim works locally for a natural health website. Additionally, Maria is an experienced licensed massage therapist who specializes in Swedish massage.

Elements offers a membership program that allows clients to receive regular monthly massage therapy services. The new location joins others including in Bannockburn, Bloomingdale, Geneva, Palatine, Park Ridge and Wheaton.

New leader

Mark San Fratello has been named CEO of Response Team 1, a large residential and commercial property restoration and renovation company serving the U.S. from 49 locations. He will be based at the company's corporate headquarters in Wheeling. He brings more than 30 years of experience with leading large cap consumer firms, middle market business services firms and startup ventures.

Prior to joining Response Team 1, San Fratello was president and CEO at Envirotest Systems. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York and a Master's of Business Administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Title performance

Cornerstone National Bank & Trust Company announced that Dennis Tomaszewski, vice president-wealth management has been awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

"We are extremely proud of Dennis's accomplishment and recognize the hard work that went into passing this three-part series of examinations" says Frank Roth, executive vice president trust.

Tomaszewski has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and holds a BS degree in finance from Northern Illinois University, an MS degree in finance from Kellstadt Graduate School at DePaul University and is a Certified Financial Planner. He resides in Algonquin with his wife and their three children.