Big Bills Sandwich Shop …. alias The Shop!


Today is not about my photo’s, today is about my son, my one and only, my pride and joy. As you may remember Jack was attending St.Louis University and was enrolled in the Entrepreneurial School of Business.  Hmmm, let’s take this slow.



What is the definition of an Entrepreneur?

 One who starts a business or other venture that promises economic gain but that also entails risks.

What are some qualities of such a person?  

unwavering passion, open-mindedness, desire to be an expert, able to delegate, able to manage time effectively, visual goals and success, listening skills, seeking help when needed, knowing when to get out of the office, giving back


These qualities can be honed in, and are enhanced with time. So how does this relate to my son? My 19 year old son has taken a leave of absence from college to pursue his dream, a business of his own. Was the food industry what he had in mind? I really don’t think so, but the plan fell into his lap and he ran with it. The stars were aligned and the gods were smiling..


Let me begin again with his inspiration and the backstory. In a resort town in Northern Michigan their is a take-out sandwich shop like no other, the name of the shop is GURNEY’S. Is it fancy? no. Is there seating? no. This past 4th of July, 80 degrees outside with Lake Michigan beckoning, I waited in line for 45 minutes to order my lunch, need I say more?  


Well, wouldn’t it be great to open a ‘Gurney-like’ shop in Galena Illinois? If we were to do half the business Gurney’s does we would still be a success. But why Galena?  Galena is a historic town in the North-West corner of Illinois. This Civil War era lead-mining town was once the most important city in Illinois. Galena, named after the lead that was mined, is situated on the Fever River just off the Mississippi where steamships and passenger ships could maneuver.  Today the town depends on tourists and the Chamber is a success when it comes to luring the people in.  The clincher:  we ownminers cottage a stones throw from Main Street … 

As you can see one thing lead to another, which lead to the right employees, which lead to a perfect team, which leads to an open mind, which lead to a coffee bar, which lead to soups and salads, which all lead to stress and worry and stress and more stress! This beautiful shop is designed by my son, built by my son, installed by my son, lit by my son,  and now operating in it’s 6th day by my son and his excellent team!  As a mother I am extremely proud, worried to the point of no return, and stressed to the point of me taking a leave of absence from my day job to be with him.  I am the mother Grizzly that will stop at nothing to make sure my cub is taken care of in his time of need, but the stress on me cannot compare to the stress he is enduring.

Now I know what you are thinking, where are the sandwiches? the salads? the soups? the coffee ????  It has been about a year since I have seriously photographed food and I will be damned if this shop closes because of my shots!  I need to work the food some more, practice will make perfect, at least better,  but let’s peek at the soup …



 The Santa Fe Chicken Soup





 Organic Lentil Soup with Roasted Garlic

Too close ?   old dog. 


So far the reviews have been wonderful, the towns people are rally-ing around Jack and the word is getting out. No better advertising than that! I will post again and include the menu, photo’s of the  main attractions, and keep you abreast of his ups and downs. This is quite a feat for such a young lad.


301 North Main Street

Galena,Illinois 61036


  “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney, co-founder of the Walt Disney Company 


“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”   Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Famer


“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”  Ronald Reagan

11 thoughts on “Big Bills Sandwich Shop …. alias The Shop!

  1. Well, George has been dying to take a road trip and now I know where we’re going! You must be so proud of Jack. Hell, I’m proud of him and he’s not even my son. You and Bill did a good job and now Jack can shine!

    If we can impose, let’s plan a weekend. It’s been far too long!

  2. I cannot wait to carve out a little time to visit the shop. Congrats to JACK and his team! I think I see an Italian coffee machine?? I’m there.

  3. Great post and great job Jack!! Wish we lived close and could visit! Can smell the delicious bread from the photos!!so proud of you!!

  4. Passion, devotion, creativity, endurance, and vision are key ingredients in any soup and sandwich. Looks like Jack has the perfect utensils, building and atmosphere.

  5. Coming to Galena this weekend and can’t wait to stop in the shop and see one of my favorite students!! See you on Saturday, Jack!!
    Mary Petranek

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