While many drive by Rochelle everyday and see a quaint mid-western city, there are those who see it as an opportunity. At first glance, Rochelle might seem like any other mid-size community in rural Illinois, but when you slow down you start to see all of the amazing opportunities, especially economic development opportunities. Those economic opportunities are precisely what led Dave Diamond and his commercial development business, Walter Wayne Real Estate, to Rochelle in the mid 1990s.
Diamond is a man of opportunity, always has been. Diamond bought his first business in the 1980s from his family because he saw a great opportunity happening. “We had a gas tank repair business and the EPA was pushing for gas stations to replace many of their tanks,” he said. “We were already servicing many of these accounts so it looked like a great opportunity.”
“Rochelle has a lot of independent thinking people,” he said. “Many of them have a great entrepreneurial spirit.”
From there, everything moved quickly. After three years he sold off the repair business and invested in a general construction business that had a niche market for building truck stops. From there his business eventually evolved into what it is today, a commercial development company focusing on the Northern Illinois region.
His home office in the Sterling-Rock Falls area expanded to Rochelle around 1994 when he bought 12 acres of land. The Hub City attracted him because of its easy access to the highways and the rail lines, which proved especially important for his construction business at the time. But he quickly expanded his operations in the Rochelle community.
Over the years, Diamond has acquired a few warehouse buildings, built retail space along the Illinois Route 38 corridor, and developed medical offices, all with the help of seven independent contractors who work out of the Rochelle office.
“Our group brings nice diversity to the work we do in this community,” Diamond said.
Diamond’s philosophy for success is to be invested in a community and its mission and that’s exactly what they’ve done in the Rochelle community.
He continues to see a great economic opportunity in this community, but stresses that’s not the only important aspect of buisness. “Our business doesn’t start with an economic opportunity but with support of a community and their mission,” he said.