Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Anthony Nowak of Century 21 Hallmark Ltd.
Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!
Meet Anthony Nowak, Proud Berwynner and Realtor at Century 21 Hallmark Ltd.
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Current Residence: Berwyn, IL
About Anthony: I have spent most of my life living in and loving Berwyn, Illinois. I was born right here at MacNeal Hospital and currently reside in the 8th ward. I attended St. Mary of Celle, where I was an altar boy and graduated from Morton West in 1994. I currently sit on the board at the Italian American Civic Organization of Berwyn and also serve on the Berwyn Police and Fire Commission as Commissioner. Most recently, I was named as Vice-Chairman for the Chicago Association of Realtors’ West Towns Chapter and was honored for my community service by the association at their 134th Inaugural Gala as Realtor of the Year for Community Service. This honor included a $500 check to donate to my charity of choice; I selected “Flowers for Hope,” an event run by Berwyn’s Violet Flower Shop. The event raises money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Business Side: I started my Real Estate career in 2000 at Century 21 Hallmark Ltd. (located at 6714 W. Ogden, Berwyn) and I still hang my hat there. I was part time until 2004, when I finally felt comfortable enough to leave my gig at the Chicago Board of Trade, I never looked back. In 2015, I received a Top Sales Award from C.A.R. for Units Sold and Gross Sales. Helping my clients achieve their goals truly is my passion.
Why real estate as a career choice?
My Father was one of the top commercial sewing machine salesmen in the country for Union Special. As a kid, I thought my Dad was someone very important because he was always doing paperwork, traveling, buying new cars every 2 years and dressing in nice suits. Needless to say, seeing this had a huge impression on me to follow in his footsteps into a career in sales. The real-estate aspect did not come into play until my early teens, when I began to notice and was intrigued with the different styles of homes, their characteristics and names—obviously with my favorite being the bungalow. The third and deciding factor I didn’t realize was until after I was already a Realtor. It’s the joy you can bring your clients when you complete their sale or purchase. Once I tasted that I knew I was in the right business.
Describe yourself using 3 words
Family: Growing up in Berwyn, my brother, 19 cousins and I spent a lot of our time at my late grandmother’s (Florence Ruffino) house on Clinton Ave. It was there that I learned what family was and that no matter the circumstances, they would always be there for me—and I for them. My father was a great man and your typical old school, tough love kind of guy. We became extremely close about 10 years before he was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly before he was diagnosed was the first time he actually said how proud he was of me; I carry that with me daily as a badge of honor and a reminder to never be complacent. If you live in Berwyn, you’ve probably seen or know my mom. She’s at all the community events with me. She’s the best and the reason I’m the man I am today!
Loyalty: I don’t know why, but it’s just part of my DNA…sometimes to a fault. Once I know I can trust someone, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for them. Family, friends, clients or community—if I’m in for a penny, I’m in for a pound. PERIOD!
Charity: My first taste of charity was in 2001, when I participated for the first time as a boxer in the “For Mercy’s Sake” event to help The Mercy Home for Boys and Girls; I volunteered again in 2003. Both events raised over a million dollars for the Home. When I joined the I.A.C.O.B (Italian American Civic Organization of Berwyn), it gave me an outlet to chair events for Autism and Alzheimer’s. Now I either chair or sit on the committee for most charitable events that take place here in B-Town. There’s nothing like the look of gratitude you get from helping a total stranger.
What inspires you?
Losing inspires me. I’ve been told that I’m a tad too competitive. But in the words of the great Herm Edwards, “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!”
Tell us something that people might not know about you.
People may not know that I’ve been known to hold my own singing karaoke. If you’re lucky, you may walk into a Berwyn establishment and find me belting out my rendition of Sweet Caroline (bom bom bom!).
What gets you through a rough day?
Working out and hitting the heavy bag. There is almost no release better than strapping on the gloves, hitting the bag and jumping rope till exhaustion. It clears my mind and gets me ready to face tomorrow’s tasks.
Would you rather meet your ancestors or descendants?
My ancestors, specifically my grandpa on my dad’s side. He passed away before I was born. My Dad always told me what a fun guy he was and that I would have liked him.
What makes you laugh?
Everything. I’m that guy people say “too soon” to after I tell a joke. Life is short and you need to enjoy it. Don’t sweat the little things. Laugh as much as you possibly can. Surround yourself with genuine, positive people who really care about you. That’s my motto and why I’m usually sporting an ear to ear grin whenever you see me around this great city.
What is your best memory of growing up in Berwyn?
My best memory would have to be getting the guys together to play a game of “Lob” or “Fast Pitch” at St. Mary of Celle or Custer (Prairie Oak). I’m still close with most of these guys today. When I tell people that I’m still close with friends I’ve known since grade school, they’re shocked. That’s a true testament to the type of people this community helped shape and will continue to shape for years to come. When people ask me, “Are you from Berwyn?” I say, “No…I am Berwyn!”