Made In Chicago: Urban Pioneer Group

CHICAGO (CBS) — Tom Kunkel owns and runs Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park, which has a broad vision for forgotten things.

The company has two different areas — builder and society.

“So we’ve got the builders’ side of the business, which reclaims timbers out of churches, barns and factories,” Kunkel said.

table Made In Chicago: Urban Pioneer Group

“Reclaiming and rebuilding… one table at a time.” (Photo: Urban Pioneer Builders)

At Urban Pioneer, they reclaim materials to make them new again, including custom tables, unique flooring, accent walls, rustic shelving and industrial carts.

The society side brings people together to experience traditions and learn new skills through classes, workshops and clubs.

“We teach kids of all ages how to make sausage, make salami, make other products. Adults — we can make wine,” Kunkel said. “And these are simple things that are age-old techniques that are unfortunately being lost in the shuffle.”

miz Made In Chicago: Urban Pioneer Group

“Summer With a Twist Mixology Class.” (Photo: Urban Pioneer Group)

Kunel and his wife Sheila started the Urban Pioneer Group years ago. It started off as a hobby, creating spaces and furnishings in their Oak Park homes from reclaimed wood. They said they wanted to create experiences for family and friends.

“It has evolved into the start of a great business that will do all those same things for anyone who wants to be involved.”

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