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Summer of 2013 is an eventful season in the village of South Holland, as the community looks forward to continued growth of its business district and expansion of family-oriented activities.

This week is quite a thrill with the opening of two new businesses — Panera Bread Bakery-Café and Extreme Clean Car Wash. Panera Bread placed its footprint in the Town Center District on the northeast corner of 162nd Street and Wausau Avenue. The highly anticipated construction of a 4,200- square-foot attractive, landscaped facility, outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and convenient drive-through service, is now complete and ready for residents and the traveling public.

Panera officially opened its doors at 6 a.m. today, rewarding their first 20 drive-through customers with a certificate to receive a free loaf of bread every month for a year. Also, the first 50 dine-in customers with any purchase received a Panera travel mug with complimentary coffee or tea for up to three refills.

Chicago Bread LLC, a local Panera Bread franchisee owned by Hamra Enterprises, operates more than 30 Panera bakery-cafes in the Chicago area, including the new South Holland location.

Village President Don De Graff, joined by members of the South Holland Village Board, will take part in a ceremonial baguette cutting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Two days later, at 11:30 a.m. Friday, the South Holland leadership will officially welcome Extreme Clean Car Wash during its grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony.

Extreme Clean, at 1111 E. 162nd St., will extend to customers free car washes from Friday through July 29. DKM Enterprises, owner and developer of this project, purchased the 3.3-acre former Dick James Ford site last year with plans to build the car wash, retail shop and a restaurant.

In addition to a complete line of cash wash services, Extreme Clean offers free unlimited vacuum stations, and convenient self-serve dog wash systems.

Summertime in South Holland is not limited to grand openings of new businesses. Back this season is an expanded farmers market at the northeast corner of 162nd Street and South Park Avenue. South Holland joins other  south suburbs that see the value in giving residents the opportunity to shop locally for fresh fruits and vegetables. South Holland’s market — known in the community as Town Center Marketplace — was several years in the making, as South Hollanders expressed a strong interest in locally grown produce and hand-crafted products.

Zeldenrust Farm Market from Chicago Heights, as well as Blankenship Farms out of Michigan, are this year’s suppliers of fresh fruits, vegetables., honey, plants, and flowers. Additional products available include shea butter lotions, soy candles and body wash, hand-crafted jewelry, and specialty wood crafts. Household name products like Tupperware, Avon, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef and Watkins can also be found at Town Center Marketplace.

The market is also a great place to grab a quick lunch. South Holland’s own Home Plate Grill, which operates daily from Veterans Memorial Park, is grilling up burgers and hotdogs. Kozy Korner Katering has put its unique spin on its line of turkey subs, and beginning Friday, I-94 Ribs will join the market with a full spread of menu items, including turkey legs, ribs, chicken, fish, corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes, and fruit cups.

The village of South Holland has more to offer this summer. For a full list of upcoming activities, visit

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at


Senior Copy Editor

Jeanette is a journalist with The Times Media Co. who has worked as both a reporter and editor. She has a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.