Hometown Legends of Business


The proximity to Chicago and the opportunity to be at the center of the Midwest’s strong economy and transportation network has prompted many entrepreneurs to move to River Forest and Oak Park.


When Richard Sears moved his mail order operation to Chicago in the 1890s, he chose to move to Oak Park. 

Franklin Mars decided to build a modern candy production facility in Chicago in the 1920s just north of Oak Park and chose to build a palatial home in nearby River Forest. 

Ray Kroc spent his childhood in south Oak Park and would use his entrepreneurial drive to turn McDonald’s into the world’s premiere fast-food empire, based in nearby Oak Brook, Illinois.


Today, many Chicago area business leaders continue to choose Oak Park and River Forest as a place to call home.