Located on Burlington Road in Riverside on a site which is believed to originally be a grocery store is Burlington Realty, which celebrated 60 years in business last month. It is believed to be the oldest business in the village.
Originally known as Lund Realty and located on Ogden Avenue, it became Burlington Realty when Len Janus, a Lund employee, moved the business to its present site on East Burlington Street.
Janus, originally from Iowa, and his wife, Janice, were active in the community as well as maintaining the realty business. Janus retired in 1990, but it in 1986 he hired a Riverside resident named Judy Jisa.
Jisa was studying to be a court reporter, but also had her real estate license. A call from Janus to come work for him changed Jisa’s career path. She purchased Burlington Realty from Janus when he retired.
The roster of employees has grown to 14. Among that group are Carole Peters and Joan Damore Wert, who were also hired by Janus. Over the years, the business has become somewhat of a family affair Jisa’s two daughters, Sara Baker and Wendy Dockter, and her son-in-law, Jeff Baker, working there. Other long-timers include Brian Brennan, who you can count on to be talking with people as he makes his way to work, and Sharon Weiss and Carol Creadon, hurrying with their cellphones to their ears.
A small celebration was held recently at the office for clients past and present. Of course, a few changes in the office have been made over the years. Jisa laughed when she told of the old phone system and an old copy machine. Needless to say they were replaced quickly. Today you can usually recognize a Realtor by the fact that they have their cell phones close at hand.
So happy anniversary to Burlington Realty, and here’s to many more years as Riverside’s oldest business.
Interesting note, Judy Jisa’s family, with eight grandchildren, some living in Riverside, now become the eighth generation of members of the Cross family to reside in the village.
The question now is what is the next oldest business in Riverside? We think it may be Aunt Diana’s. Riverside Plumbing? Higgins Glass has been in business a long time, but it was not always in Riverside. Inquiring minds want to know. I wonder about Brookfield? You may have the answers.