One of the inspiring things about Whiting history is that many of our families have been important in local businesses for generations.
When Joseph Chrustowski came to Whiting from Poland in around 1900, he opened up a tailor shop. In the 1930’s, Joseph’s son, John, took over the Whiting News Store, Whiting’s premiere stationery store.
John’s son, Jay, took over the business the in the 1970’s and there’s not a person in the community who doesn’t remember going there to buy penny candy after school.
When Abe Winsberg arrived in Whiting in the late 1800’s, he opened one of the community’s first clothing establishments. His son, Hershel, joined Abe in the business and Winsberg’s exclusive men’s store was a staple of downtown Whiting until the early 1980’s.
Abe’s granddaughter and artist Kathy Winsberg opened her first art shop in Whiting more than 30 years ago. Her lovely art and antique store, Full Circle Art, unfortunately was lost this year during the January fire.
Today we see another family owned business going into its third generation. Memory Makers Inc. began three generations ago in 1949 when John A. Lovasko established Lovasko Studio in a New York Avenue storefront.
As a kid, I remember how neat it was to look at their showcase windows full of the huge professional photo portraits on display. By the 1990’s, the exterior of the store had been revamped with wonderful colors and gingerbread trim making it one of the prettiest and unusual looking buildings in town.
In 1989, John A. Lovasko’s son, John, inherited the family business and took it in a new and different direction. While his dad did portrait work, John went “on the road,” photographing schools, proms, dance studios and Little League teams, many of which he’s still doing 30 years later.
With his creative entrepreneurial talents, John’s Memory Makers now goes all over the country shooting photos.
All through high school, John gained his experience by working with his dad. His own son, Jon, by the time he was a sixth-grader, worked right alongside his dad and his granddad at the studio and Jon remembers these times as his own fondest memory making moments.
Even back then, Jon brought something new to the business. . .the world of the computer. Today, Memory Makers is technically on the cutting edge thanks to Jon, now a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in sales and marketing management. His branding skills and business acumen have helped the family business move forward.
Because the business expanded so much, the Lovaskos built a new and larger studio on 119th Street four years ago and since that move, have added another entire new huge space to accommodate their growing business.
The owners of Memory Makers are and have been smart and innovative, successfully changing with the times.
“I loved growing up with the whole generation thing and that’s what makes me so passionate about the business,” said Jon Lovasko. Looking around the beautiful new studio, he added, “I wish Grandpa could be here to see this.”