Jewelry store with pawn shop OK’d for Lake in the Hills over objections from neighboring businesses

Doerner Jewelers and Niles Loan plans to move from downtown Algonquin location

Entry sign for the village of Lake in the Hills

A jewelry store and pawn shop are coming to Lake in the Hills, but its approval didn’t come without controversy.

Doerner Jewelers, whose owner also runs a pawn business called Niles Loan and Diamond Broker, is planning to move up the road from downtown Algonquin into a strip mall in Lake in the Hills at 9239 S. Route 31. Doerner Jewelers has been located in downtown Algonquin for 20 years, owner Gabriele Gutierrez told the Lake in the Hills Village Board.

The Lake in the Hills Village Board on Feb. 22 gave unanimous approval of a conditional use permit required for the operation of a pawn shop in town, though some of the other business owners located in the strip mall raised opposition to the pawn shop,citing concerns about potential crime among other worries.

Matt Muchow, who with his wife owns the Complete Family Wellness clinic in the strip mall, said he has a background in law enforcement and raised the potential of the new business being a draw for criminals. “We have some significant concerns about incoming crime, potential takeover robberies, burglaries, things of that nature,” Muchow said.

Michelle Kasper, who works at a counseling center in the strip mall, was critical of the village’s handling of the pawn shop’s request, saying she didn’t think that opponents’ views were given due consideration.

Lake in the Hills Village President Ray Bogdanowski later responded to the public comments. “To assume that our minds have been made up, you’re totally off base there, but I respect your opinion,” Bogdanowski said.

Before they voted on the conditional use request, village board members had their own questions for Gutierrez about what the pawn business entails, though trustees stressed they weren’t trying to grill her. Gutierrez said the pawn shop aspect consists of “regular people that need a short-term loan.” She mentioned she has a client who is a disabled veteran to whom she sometimes loans money against a gold coin when his disability check comes in late.

Bogdanowski told the Northwest Herald Monday that the village “checked with Algonquin and there was never any issues” with the jewelry and pawn business, adding the jewelry store is the primary use of the business.

The unanimous approval comes with some caveats: Outdoor sales or displays of items for sale won’t be allowed, an accessible parking space east of the space needs to be brought into compliance with the Illinois Accessibility Code and a retail jewelry store needs to be the primary use of the space. The pawn shop can “only be operated accessory to and within a bona fide retail jewelry store on the property” according to village documents.

There are currently no jewelry stores or pawn shops in Lake in the Hills, the village president said.