The BDC is proud to present John Aranza with this respected community award to honor his achievements and contributions towards the growth and development of Berwyn's business community. Each year, the BDC membership selects an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of one of Berwyn's original developers, Charles E. Piper.
When John Aranza recognized Berwyn's residential and business growth, as well as the city's potential given its proximity to western suburbs and Chicago, he knew it was a prime location for opening a business. Committed to the Berwyn community, John established two businesses and eventually bought a home in Berwyn. His business ventures include Horrorbles, a horror and collectibles memorabilia store, and the award-winning Autre Monde Café & Spirits, which he operates with his wife Christine Tully Aranza and former colleagues and chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge.
John has cultivated success in each of his respective businesses. Horrorbles, which has been in business for 12 years, attracts numerous Hollywood actors for visits and signings—they're even the official rubber chicken supplier for the Svengoolie Show. Autre Monde Café & Spirits won best new restaurant from the Chicago Tribune during its opening year, has been touted by Michelin Bib Gourmand, Time-Out Chicago and Chicago Magazine, and was nationally recognized by Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator for their wine program. John himself has received multiple nominations for Jean Banchet's Best Sommelier distinction and has been recognized for playing an influential role in bringing attention to Balkan Wines in the United States.
John grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, where his grandfather—who was from Croatia—immigrated to in 1901. He graduated with his Bachelor's degree from Lewis University, where he majored in Marketing and minored in Business. John also studied in the Theology Master's Program at the University of Chicago. After opening his first business, John has immersed himself into the Berwyn community. John has contributed to a slew of community events including the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show, Oktoberfest, The Moving Wall, Green Mile Pub Crawl and Zombie Walk & Pub Crawl. Autre Monde has given back to the community through Community Tuesdays where local not-for-profit charities received a portion of the restaurant's proceeds. The restaurant also donated a greenhouse to the Berwyn Park District. Additionally, John served on the BDC's Board of Directors for six years, has been a business member of the BDC for 11 years and has contributed to the creative success behind the City's Why Berwyn? integrated marketing campaign. In his spare time, John enjoys watching movies, collecting memorabilia and tinkering in woodworking. John reacted to the award by stating, "It is an honor to have even been considered for this award, let alone be awarded it. I am utterly thrilled and humbled at the same time."
Jousef Mondragon, BDC Board President, stated, "This year's recipient of the Piper Award exemplifies modern day progress with a value for cultural beginnings and respect for community activism. Charles Piper would be so proud. Congratulations, John Aranza!"
To purchase tickets or obtain additional information on the event on March 25, 2017, contact the Berwyn Development Corporation at (708) 788-8100 or visit www.berwyn.net.
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