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Southtown Star shares more about why Denise Borkowski deserved ‘Woman of the Year’ award from DreamMaker franchise

Denise Borkowski has been inspiring her fellow DreamMaker franchise owners for years, and now her story is inspiring readers in Chicago. The Southtown Star, an award-winning newspaper that covers the south Chicago suburbs, recently profiled Denise, who co-owns DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Orland Park with her husband, Glen.

DreamMaker recently named Denise our “Woman of the Year,” and the newspaper decided to take a look at some of the many, many things that make Denise special.

Some excerpts from the article:




Volunteer work has been a part of Denise Borkowski’s life since she was a teenager.

The daughter of the late William McCarthy, a Chicago police officer, and the niece of an aunt who volunteered evenings to work with disabled children, Borkowski seems to lean naturally into the role of helping others.

The Tinley Park resident said she first volunteered while in high school, working with disabled children with her aunt Celeste O’Brien, a parochial school teacher in Chicago. …

Borkowski became a special-education teacher in Burbank School District 111 in her second year of teaching and ended her career in the district 30 years later in 2003.

But her volunteer work continues, even though she twice has undergone open heart surgery.

Borkowski volunteers at the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, a place she chose in part because some of her friends had received assistance there, she said, and because she knew she “would miss working with children” in her retirement and thought that might be an option at the crisis center.

When the timing did not work out for her to work with children, Borkowski found herself on the phones as one of the “hot line” people, a volunteer position she has had for 11 years. …

Borkowski also works in a second career in her retirement, one that fits well with her volunteer spirit. She and her husband, Glen, former owner of Kraftwerks Remodeling Inc. and now co-owners of a DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen franchise in Orland Park, use their business resources to help others.

The Borkowskis recently provided a set of cabinets at cost for one of the dorm-like rooms for clients of the Crisis Center for South Suburbia as a way to support the nonprofit.

“We helped provide the materials to remodel a handicap-accessible model,” Borkowski said.

She and her husband also volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. …

With the permission of their clients, the Borkowskis also salvage materials from their remodels to be sold at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore shops. …

Her many jobs, hard work and commitment to the business motivated Glen to nominate his wife for the 2013 Woman of the Year award for the DreamMaker franchise. In an essay, he wrote about Borkowski’s many business responsibilities, calling her the “moral compass” of their business.

“What makes it even more remarkable in my opinion is that she accomplished all this while undergoing and recovering from open heart surgery,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine where she gets the energy. She inspires everyone around her with her infectious spirit, and her robust sense of humor keeps everyone in a great frame of mind.”

Living the DreamMaker Code of Values

Denise’s commitment to the community and to her customers is inspiring. She is a perfect example of the type of person we look for when we seek franchise partners — those who believe in offering great service to their customers and their community, who believe in counting blessings, who believe in the untapped potential of every human being. Her story exemplifies the values that we strive to live by.

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