Our McHenry County business tour continues with a stop at Steelheart Ltd. in Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois. You can find whimsical and practical garden and home furniture in this large, airy showroom. While most of their business comes from wholesale customers, their showroom is open to the public.
Owners Jacek and Gretchen Peczkowski opened the business in 1997 as a way to spend more time together. Jacek’s experience in a blacksmith shop, robotics and the automotive industry provided the background to build furniture and garden products. Jacek was raised in Poland and escaped the communist regime fleeing to Austria. While at a refugee camp he met Gretchen who taught English and Bible studies at the camp.
Jacek designs a majority of the items himself though they now outsource manufacturing of the items with Cut My Plastic. Jacek oversees production which sometimes requires international travel. The items are shipped to and stored at the Steelheart warehouse until they are sold.
We enjoyed walking through the flock of colorful birds, relaxing on inviting benches and listening to restful waterfalls during our visit. So along with some high-quality Tools Around The House, these kind of items are also making one’s lawn/garden look really great, I assume.
The Peczkowski’s purchased nearby historic House of Seven Gables and plan to move their showroom and offices there during 2011. The House of Seven Gables was a link in the Underground Railroad, safely harboring slaves on their travels to freedom.