When was the last time you received a Handwritten Thank You Note? Next big question, when was the last time YOU sent a Handwritten Thank You Note?
I know I’m going to show my age with this topic, here goes! When I was younger, my mother required me to write Thank You Notes after my Birthday and after Christmas. Even if it was 2 poorly spelled sentences and not the best handwriting, I still had to do it! It was a way of showing my appreciation for the time, effort and thoughtfulness for thinking of me with a gift on those special days! My mother even went so far with the importance of Thank You Notes, that for my wedding (back in the 80’s) she addressed and stamped the Thank You Notes for me! I was married in September and they had to be mailed before Thanksgiving!
Fast forward to 2018 - Handwritten Thank You Notes, are nearly extinct! Technology has taken over and maybe you receive a group text or email thanking you! We use the excuse that we are so busy running to this thing and to that thing! I say let’s slow down for a few minutes and bring back the Handwritten Thank You Notes!! Let’s teach the Millenials and Generation Z the importance of Handwritten Thank You Notes! I think we can all agree, it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling to receive a Handwritten Note! Plus, it helps all of us to practice good handwriting when writing one! This holiday season, try bringing back the Handwritten Thank You Notes! I will - if you will! Have a Swirling Great Day!
The signs of Fall have arrived! The leaves on the trees are starting to turn. There are mums in every shade of gold, purple and orange. Pumpkins are taking over the neighbors garden and Apples are ready to be picked! AHHH!! I love this time of year!
The Fall Season also brings much change! Changing from shorts to jeans, sandals to boots, tank tops to flannels and iced teas to pumpkin lattes! Change does not come easy to everyone. It can bring on anxiety, stress and being more tired! As I always like to say, it’s only a moment in time, enjoy it and try to tackle only one event at a time! Change can be a time for new beginnings, growth and fun!
One thing that will not change is Suzy’s Swirl! It will always be warm and friendly at Suzy’s Swirl! We will celebrate the change of the seasons with you! We are planning on Swirling Fall flavors of Red Apple, Cider Donut, Pumpkin and Espresso and more! Nothing sounds better then Swirling a Fall Cup at Suzy’s Swirl!
When the days start to get shorter and it gets a bit blustery out there, check out Suzy’s Swirl’s website and Facebook page for our in-store promotions! Let us relax together and enjoy a Fall Cup during this spectacular time of year! Happy Fall!
Whoop Whoop it's May!!
May has come in with Warm Summer Winds, Budding of Trees and Flowers starting to Bloom!
There are so many celebrations in the month of May! Prom, Spring School Concerts, Finals-UGH!, High School and College Graduations and most of all Mother's Day!
Mother's Day dates back to the 1870's when Julia Ward Howe wanted to establish a Mother's Peace Day. Finally in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother's Day a National Holiday, as an expression of our love and reverence for all Mothers!
Truly, don't you think that Mom's Run the World? Mom's are the decision makers of what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mom's have the magic touch of healing boo boo's all the way to broken hearts, Mom's have a 7th sense of being able to find all things that are missing and Mom's really do have eyes behind their heads!
Enjoy this day with your Mom but don't forget, Aunts, Godmothers, Grandma's, Sisters and those who are Mother figures in your lives! Celebrate with these special women at Suzy's Swirl on Mother's Day! Swirl into Suzy's on Mother's Day and Mom's get a free cup (up to $5.00) from 11:00am - 6:00pm! #Frozen Happiness
Happy Mother's Day from Suzy's Swirl
It's been 52 days since many of us came up with New Year's Resolutions! If most of you are like me, I don't even remember what my New Year's Resolution was! How fast 52 days have come and gone. But don't loose hope - Spring is in the air - there is plenty of time to reboot those Resolutions!
Between New Year's Resolutions and Lent many of us resolve to eat healthier, to work out and spend more time with family! I have the perfect answer for you - SUZY'S SWIRL!! Did you know that many of our flavors contain No Corn Syrup, No Artificial Flavoring and are Low Fat! Plus we will be introducing an Almond Based Strawberry Yogurt - completely Vegan! All Good and Good For You!
Spring is only 27 days away! Spring into SUZY'S SWIRL to enjoy healthy and delicious flavors with your family! We look forward to seeing you and as always, Have a Swirling Great Day!
The Webster dictionary defines Thankful as; conscious of benefit received – for what we are about to receive makes us truly thankful, expressive of thanks – thankful service and well pleased – glad – was thankful it didn’t rain
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, what are you thankful for?
This year, first and foremost, I am thankful to be here – so simple!
I am thankful for my Friends and Family – these are the people that may not hear it enough!
I am thankful for Suzy’s Swirl – this is my happy place, where I am able to work with great people and meet awesome customers!
As we are all running around trying to find the perfect gift, standing in long lines and in traffic; take a minute to be thankful for the people in your life, the sales clerk and even the schmuck honking their horn at you!
Suzy’s Swirl gives thanks to Each and Every one of you!
Suzy’s Swirl is excited to debut the
Suzy’s Holiday Spirits Flavors
Moscow Mule, Pink Champagne, Blackberry Zinfandel, Crème De Menthe, Bourbon Caramel Gingersnap
Suzy’s Holiday Spirits lets you enjoy your favorite drink as a frozen treat!
How else can you enjoy Suzy’s Holiday Spirits;
Add a scoop of Moscow Mule to your favorite Mule
Turn your favorite Red Wine into a FRED – Frozen Red
Pour a Glass of Bubbly and add a scoop of Pink Champagne
Enjoy Suzy’s Spirits on its own
Make your next Holiday get together fun and unique
With Suzy’s Holiday Spirits!
Happy Holidays from Suzy’s Swirl!
The holidays are that time of year that brings us back to the smells and tastes of our childhood!
It only takes a moment to remember the sweet smells of your favorite Christmas Cookies baking, getting your taste buds ready for the Chanukah treats and of course the Feast of the Seven Fishes!
What would go better with all of these festive smells and tastes?
Suzy’s Swirl Holiday Flavors!
Egg Nog, Cider Donut, Gingerbread, Pink Peppermint, Cannoli
Just to name a few!
This Holiday let Suzy’s Swirl add to the smells and tastes of the Season!
A Swirling Great Five Years!
Suzy’s Swirl Gurnee – Closed August 20th
Suzy’s Swirl Lake Bluff – Open and Swirling!
Wow! What an amazing five years it’s been. For starters, thank you to the Village of Gurnee and ALL of our amazing customers for your unwavering support during this fantastic journey. We have enjoyed every moment and our partnerships with schools like Warren, Woodland and Viking. Additionally, our partnerships with Gurnee Park District, Warren-Newport Library and so many clubs, associations and sports teams, have invaluable to us.
Five years ago we had a dream and it became a reality in Gurnee. Today, we have so many adventures still to come. As our time in Gurnee comes to a close please visit our Lake Bluff location. We have exciting promotional events planned throughout the Fall. Beginning in September, we will be offering double loyalty points for every visit.
We are also excited to announce the beginning of SAFE (Suzy’s Angel Foundation for everyone), dedicated to providing grief support and resources for children and families who have lost a parent. This issue is near and dear to our hearts. Five years ago, our co-founder Sue Tierno lost her spouse and life partner, Joe, to heart disease. His unexpected death had a great impact on Sue, their four children and the future of Suzy’s Swirl. Joe played an integral role in the creation of Suzy’s Swirl and his memory lives on with our Big Joe Challenge. Every day we honor him and are grateful to him for the immense contribution he made in all of our lives.
While it was with great sadness we made the decision to close our Gurnee location, we did so with a renewed focus on the brand and on our commitment to the communities and family traditions that we have become a daily part of. Through our efforts to expand our catering line, launch new product rolls and internationally licensing our brand, our dedication to swirl goodness, greatness and gratitude remains true. Thank you and we will see you at our Lake Bluff location!
With Swirling Gratitude
Sue, Jen and Kathy
703 Rockland Rd, Lake Bluff
It's that time of year again - Back to School! In many homes, this is the week we try to cram in all the things we said we were going to do over the summer! Six Flags, Camping, Cook Outs, One Last Quick Vacation and the Never Ending Back to School Shopping!
Kids going to Back to School have many mixed emotions attached to it! If it's your first born starting Kindergarten, you may cry as they get onto the bus! If it's your oldest going off to College for the first time, be prepared for all of you to be crying as you leave to head home! Finally, you may be the lucky parents who's kids are all done with school, and it's just another day! Hurray for You! My parents always celebrated with Bloody Mary's as we left for school!
The beginning of a school year represents a new year - a new beginning - a fresh start! We all have an opportunity to hit the reset button! As one season comes to an end, it's nice to look forward to what the next season will bring! Football games, pep rallies, indian summers, mums, cozy sweaters and the fall leaves! My favorite time of year!
Enjoy these next few weeks of Summer! Remember to hug your kids, get to bed early and make some time to Swirl into Suzy's Swirl!
Spring Break is a great time to just take a Break and get ready for the busy Summer ahead! My experience has been there are 2 ways to enjoy Spring Break, take a vacation away from home or take a staycation at home!
Going away on vacation is always fun, although, it does have its challenges! The planning, the stress, the cost, and the the time it takes to finally unwind and get into vacation mode!
Staying home and doing a Staycation is fun too! Sleeping in, staying in your pj's all day, not rushing and finally being able to read a good book! During your Staycation it's fun to take the kids to the movies or bowling. Finally having the time to weed out the kids drawers and closets, get them ready for summer and bring those outgrown clothes to your favorite donation center!
You may not have time to escape to someplace tropical this Spring Break. Let Suzy's Swirl be your escape! Transport yourself to Key West, California or Mexico with our Suzy's Swirl Spring Break Flavors! Key Lime Pie Yogurt with crushed graham cracker and marshmallow fluff, Fresh Coconut and Fresh Strawberry-Banana Yogurt topped with coconut, granola and berries, Triple Chocolate Yogurt with frosted flakes and carmel sauce - Yum! Yum! Yum! Happy Spring Break!
SPRING BREAK + STAYCATION = SUZY'S SWIRL
"The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring" - Bernard Williams
Spring is one of my favorite seasons! Spring brings anticipation of flowers blooming, the promise of longer days and the reward of warmer weather soon!
Spring reminds us to be hopeful, to be optimistic and to have confidence. For me, this is a time I feel refreshed and renewed! It is a time of so many miracles, trees beginning to bud, grass starting to turn green and baby chicks being born!
I hope this Spring Season brings you Faith, Hope and Love!
Keep on Swirling!
Let’s Shake it Up!
It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of January already! For some of us, we are going strong with our New Year’s Resolutions! For others, we’ve abandoned our Resolutions and moving onto creating new ones!
Where ever you maybe with your Resolutions – don’t despair, there’s plenty of time to still Shake it Up!
After doing a little research, Shake it Up has many definitions:
- Mix the Contents
- Make Changes to become more effective or successful
I also enjoyed watching the You Tube Video
Shake it Up by The Cars!
Shake it Up at Suzy’s Swirl
We started making Swirling Sensational Shakes!
Swirl into Suzy’s Swirl and Shake it Up! Happy New Year!
The co-owner of Suzy’s Swirl talks about the importance of establishing her concept as a neighborhood gathering spot.
Co-Owner, Suzy’s Swirl SUZY’S SWIRL
I unequivocally love the foodservice industry. Since I was 14 years old, being around this business has been my life. The local Italian restaurant in my town growing up was my first experience, and I held almost every job there, including cooking right alongside the grandma of the family-owned establishment. I then had a great opportunity to work for McDonald’s, and even though I never forecasted it to be a career, the industry became a passion for me. With McDonald’s, I started as a crewmember, and then became a crew leader, a trainer, and eventually a shift leader. My experiences as a teenager led me to pursue further education. I had a very clear understanding of the direction I wanted to go as a professional and was ready to motivate other people.
With Suzy’s Swirl, we want to reignite the American dream. My partners—my sister and my niece—started the brand in 2012 with the commitment to what we call “fami-tizing” the community. We are driven as a family operation to bring families together in the community in which we operate. I’ve had such a great opportunity to work as a consultant with several other brands prior to co-owning and operating Suzy’s Swirl, and what I loved most about working with each was being a part of how they grew.
My partners and I got together to put a brand into motion that would not simply be a brand for our family, but families all over in any community. Consultants generally have the stigma of not being able to walk the walk, but now with Suzy’s Swirl, I can do both; I can talk the talk, and I can walk the walk. We work very hard not to let just our product, but our relationship with the community define who we are as a brand. I would love to some day have over 100 families owning and operating Suzy’s Swirls in their communities, and I hope that through that we can change the model of how business owners and business operators work together. It’s been our vision from day one to be the community restaurant, to be a part of that fabric that generates our business. Without the community, we don’t exist.
When it comes to building the brand and crafting a culture to drive a robust customer experience, customer loyalty and grow the business it’s akin to building a ‘cult,’ but in a very positive way. As three successful business owners and founders explain, it's never too late to start building the culture and company leaders must consistently assess, review and infuse 'culture' change when necessary.
That’s the advice of three panelists who headlined the "Building Your Brand Culture" session at the Fast Casual Executive Summit event held in Miami in late October.
The ‘cult’ approach, explained Kathleen Wood, co-founder of Suzy’s Swirl, a frozen dessert operator, is tied to four elements: clarity, understanding, leadership and teaching.
"What kind of a cult do you really want to build," she asked attendees, stating brand building is a dynamic that must not only involve employees but be driven by employees as much as it is driven by company leadership and management.
Wood was accompanied on the panel by Louis Basile, founder and president of the Wildflower Bread Company and Chris Bright, president of zpizza. The panel was moderated by Brad Christian of Market Force.
Establishing a brand culture, said Christian, is tied to operation excellence, encompassing everything from the cleanliness of a store or eatery to sustainability and business longevity.
"The first step is mapping out a framework," he advised.
For Wildflower Bread Company, where employees are called ‘breadheads,’ its brand culture not only involves employees but benefits employees as well.
"We want to give breadheads more than we ask of them so our culture is as much about them, as it is about our customers and our community and we nurture it daily," said Basile, noting success is evident in that the company has had positive sales 18 of the last 19 years.
At Suzy’s Swirl, which is often the first place many of its employees work, as they typically tend to be in their late teens or college students, the company aspires to help each employee attain the American dream.
"We do that by leading through innovation, relationships and frozen happiness. Our ‘swirlers,’ as we call them, are often learning how to be an employee as it’s often their very first job so we take that very seriously and keep them focused on our culture and values as a company and recognize and reward them," explained Wood. One example is a celebration for every employee’s one-year anniversary, as well as ‘culture’ clothing such as a specific sneaker given to employees.
"As a company we are very grateful to our community and customers for their support so we do a great amount of local fundraising and fundraiser support for local groups and school programs," she added.
At zpizza building the brand culture involves ensuring the ambiance and cultural feel of the location meshes with the company’s core philosophy and beliefs.
"We took a look at our customer’s expectations and asked ourselves 'are we delivering on that promise and how do we do things around here'," shared Bright. The quest, he said, is to be transparent with customers. "That’s so critical to success," he said, adding, "this is a long-term relationship that is being built and it’s all about engagement."
A big key aspect, advised Basile, is not to put off laying the initial bricks in the brand culture as it does play a critical role in a company’s success or failure.
"Get started by just getting started and jump in and have confidence and that confidence will grow along the way. You need to engage the employees from the very start as they are the key drivers to success as their commitment to the culture rolls down to customers," he said.
And upon getting started be sure you set the right ‘tone,’ noted Wood.
One way to do that is to ensure the employee-orientation program emphasizes the company’s culture and the importance of supporting the culture.
At Wildflower Bread, for example, employees attend a five-week 'passport' program and attain a certain number of stamps for achieving specific tasks. If the stamp effort falls short, the employee doesn’t move into a permanent job role.
"We also feel it’s very important to celebrate any and all ‘wins’ an employee achieves and to stress accountability," said Basile.
A strong brand culture will resonate with today's consumers as they are not the consumers of yesteryear, noted Wood.
"They are more stressed out, more cost conscious but also more inquisitive about the food and interested in what a company does aside from providing a great product or service. What that means is there is greater opportunity for greater customer service, which will drive brand loyalty," she explained.
Kathleen Wood, renowned restaurant industry consultant and co-owner of Suzy’s Swirl, has been invited to join a delegation from the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) to participate in the organization’s first White House issues briefing.
QSR Magazine – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner Invited to White House Briefing
RestaurantNews.com – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
RestaurantMagazine.com – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
RestaurantNewsRelease.com – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
ABC7 Chicago – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
ABC6 Philadelphia – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
United Press International (UPI) – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
International Business Times – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
Boston Globe – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
San Francisco Chronicle – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
Miami Herald – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
Kansas City Star – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
San-Diego Union-Tribune – Suzy’s Swirl Co-Owner to Attend White House Briefing
Welcome to Mompreneur Monday, where we introduce you to a Mom-based businesses in Lake County.
Today we met our August Mompreneur Sue Tierno, owner of Suzy’s Swirl located in Gurnee and Lake Bluff.
Suzy’s Swirl just turned 2 years old this month and they are celebrating with “Swirling Goodness!”
Suzy’s Swirl was the hard work of Sue and Sue’s sister Kathleen Wood. Sue and Kathleen built their business with true heart and passion in the midst of heartbreaking personal tragedy. The dream for Suzy’s Swirl began with a conversation between Kathleen and Sue’s husband Joe Tierno.
Kathleen had 30 years of success in the restaurant industry with a track record for building profitable restaurant companies and Joe had over 25 years in working in contracting. Both had the goal to start a thriving business that the family could create and grow with. In 2011, Kathleen and Joe began to turn their dreams into a reality.
On October 1, 2011 Joe unexpectedly passed away leaving Sue, their four children, and the business Joe and Kathleen had started to begin behind. The loss of Joe pushed Kathleen and Sue to build this dream together. The business reinstated Sue’s successful career in Sales and Marketing and eventually included Sue’s daughter Jen as a partner as well with Jen’s experience with Retail Management. Together these 2 sisters built their American dream and Joe’s vision into not one successful location but turned Suzy’s Swirl into two thriving locations!
Suzy’s Swirl Mission Statement reads:
“Re-ignite the American Dream by being the absolute best “famchise” for frozen goodness, exceptional service and active community involvement.”
Please tell me a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? When did you settle into your home in Lake County. Did you work for a company prior to opening Suzy’s Swirl? How did you meet your husband? What’s his name? How many kids to you have? How old are they are what are their names?
I grew up in Addison Illinois, I am the youngest of 4 and when I turned 16 my family moved to Bloomingdale Illinois. My husband Joe and I married when we were 23 and moved to McHenry Illinois in 1985. My Most important job has been Mom and Wife. I am the proud mother of 4 beautiful and intelligent kids: Jen 25, Joe 24, Jim 21 and Julie 16. Yes it is a mouthful!!
My husband’s side of the family is Italian and mine is Irish. He wanted our oldest daughter to be named Maria, and although lovely, I just couldn’t! Our youngest daughters middle name is Marie! That’s as close to Maria as we got!! Prior to Suzy’s Swirl I worked for the Johnsburg School District with children Pre-K to 2nd Grade! Joe and I went to the same High School, Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison. We met when we were 16, started dating at 18 and married at 23! Joe and I were married for 26 years when Joe unexpectedly passed away in October of 2011.
What was the catalyst that started your business?
Originally, Joe and I along with my sister, Kathy, were going to open a Chicago Food fast/casual shop. Chicago Dogs, Beefs and Meatballs. My sister Kathy has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years and Joe had been in the HVAC for over 30 years. The three of us have always talked about owning our own place. When Joe passed away we took a break for a bit.
In January-February of 2012, Kathy and I started talking about [opening a restaurant] again. We couldn’t find a place for the Chicago Food concept and we had been eating a lot of Frozen Yogurt. After a lot of research and sampling other yogurt places Kathy and I came up with the concept of Suzy’s Swirl.
Has it been difficult starting your own business while raising your family? What have been the biggest challenges?
I will not lie, yes, it has been difficult starting my own business and still raise a family! It has been a balancing act becoming a great juggler and wearing many different hats. The biggest challenge is trying to be there for both my business and kids. If I could just add 2 more hours to the day that would be so helpful!
Through this all I am learning whatever doesn’t get done today will still be there tomorrow. Plus it’s okay if the house isn’t perfectly clean and the laundry put away. My #1 priority has and always will be my family. The silver lining in all of this is that it is a family owned business.
What is your favorite part of your job?
It’s hard to have just one favorite part of my job! I love working in the stores, meeting the new customers and welcoming back the returning customers. I also really enjoy getting to know and work with our crew. We’ve made a commitment to teach, coach and lead them into working for a successful company. Plus, I really believe that we serve a quality product. Our Yogurt, Gelato and Sorbetto are AWESOME!
What is most important to you to make sure your customers know?
We have 2 stores now, one in Gurnee and one in Lake Bluff. In both stores we have our mission statement on the wall, right when you walk in.
We are committed to Swirling Goodness in a high quality product, exceptional customer service and cleanliness, Swirling Greatness in living the American Dream and creating jobs, careers and franchising and finally Swirling Gratitude for each and every customer who walks into Suzy’s Swirl!
We are not just a restaurant in the community we want to be THE communities restaurant! We are that extension of family, friends and community!
What do you do to recharge?
I have various ways to recharge! I really recharge going to Church each Sunday. It’s great getting an hour to sit still, pray, be surrounded by friends, family and genuine peace and love. I also like to read, try new restaurants and spend time with my family and friends! The best time is 10:00 pm when both stores are closed and I can climb into bed and relax!
How do you balance your family and work life?
I try my best to balance my work life and home life, although it doesn’t always work. I try not to beat myself up if I am late to a soccer game just as long as I get there. I do my best to communicate with my kids what my schedule is and what their schedule is. I also try to still have family dinners. To find balance, I think you just have to give yourself time to figure it all out and to be kind to yourself. Just like those little books say, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”.
Be sure to visit Suzy’s Swirl at both of their locations:
6310 Grand Ave. #300, Gurnee
703 W. Rockland Rd., Lake Bluff
Sue wants you to come visit and see just how Swirlin’ Good they are! Print or show them this coupon when you visit!
Restaurant News – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
United Press International – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
CBS Money Watch – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks Off Summer_of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
International Business Times – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
New York Newsday – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
Boston Globe – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
Kansas City Star – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
Fort Worth Star Telegram – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”
CEO World Magazine – Suzy’s Swirl Kicks off Summer of Swirls at “Suzypalooza”