John Bohnen was born and raised in Hinsdale. He attended Monroe School, Hinsdale Junior High, and Hinsdale Central, and was a Little League star at Peirce Park. According to his daughter, County Line Properties' vice president and broker Courtney Bohnen Stach, "He lived the 'Hinsdale Dream' as a little boy, so he wanted to give that to other people."
Bohnen and his wife, Penny, opened County Line Properties in 1992. Prior to opening their own real estate office, Penny had worked as a second-grade teacher at Walker School, then moved on to a real estate career at Adams & Myers, while John worked in high-rise construction in Chicago. In addition to John's firsthand knowledge of Hinsdale and its traditions, Bohnen Stach called Penny, a Wisconsin native, a "huge history buff" who is a member of the Hinsdale Historical Society.
John and Penny's own home is a Hinsdale gem: a neo-classic Georgian built at the turn of the last century for Frank Osgood Butler, vice president of J.W. Butler Paper Co. The Bohnens have lived in the First Street home for 38 years. When they bought the home, they altered its decor and rehabbed it "back to its original, beautiful state," said Bohnen Stach, who was raised in the home, along with her sisters, Stephanie and Ashley, who also live in the western suburbs.
The Bohnens' knowledge of the area and its homes prove to be a benefit for their customers; Bohnen Stach refers to County Line Properties' philosophy as "grassroots - we've lived it, we've done it, we know it." She also said the Bohnens make sure to hire other employees who fit the County Line Properties "personality: they care about the community and know about Hinsdale and its traditions."
Bohnen Stach said County Line focuses on "not volume, but quality" when it comes to sales, and County Line benefits from its first-floor location in downtown Hinsdale. "We get a lot of foot traffic," she said.
Although Bohnen Stach said competition is steep, the biggest change in real estate over the last 20 years is technology, which she said John has embraced with an iPhone and Mac computers. Bohnen Stach's own experience is much different now than it was when she worked at Adams & Myers from the ages of 12 to 17, when all records were kept on paper. "Now, (with everything online) there's no wait-around time," she said.
Luckily, despite the changes and advances in technology, County Line Properties' philosophy remains unchanged. "It's a family company," said Bohnen Stach. "I take care of my clients like they're my own family."