SOURCE: Burgess Commercial Real Estate

Burgess Commercial Real Estate

December 09, 2010 18:39 ET

Burgess Commercial Real Estate Changes Outcomes at Hesed House and for Business Owners

AURORA, IL--(Marketwire - December 9, 2010) - What do a commercial real-estate developer and "the soup lady" have in common? A vision for changing lives.

In 1995, Laurel Gabrielson, a.k.a. "the soup lady," started selling dry soup mixes out of her home. A mom of three, she began with craft fairs held in her living room. As word of her delicious soup mixes spread, the soup lovers streamed into her house, and she branched out to selling her soup mixes at area craft shows. Gabrielson continued to work full time while growing this booming business. But in 2008, an impending job transfer threatened to end the business.

One customer sent payment for a final order with a note that said, "My family really loves your soups. If you're not going to do this anymore, my husband would like to talk to you about buying your recipes." Gabrielson thought this to be simply a sweet sentiment until May of 2009, when she received a note from Tom Burgess, owner of Burgess Commercial Real Estate and husband of that customer. He had an idea to help a shelter and wanted to discuss her recipes.

Burgess told Gabrielson about Hesed House (, an extraordinary center in Aurora that serves as a comprehensive resource for homeless people and families. He proposed to buy Gabrielson's business and donate it to Hesed House. She would continue to be the face of the business at craft fairs, but the staff and guests of Hesed House would assemble and coordinate the distribution of the soup lady products. They met with Ryan Dowd, director of Hesed House, who embraced this opportunity.

The products now known as "Soups Divine" ( are in their second season of production at Hesed House. The staff and guests at Hesed House show the same pride in quality production as Gabrielson herself.

The Hesed House guests who participate in the everyday business of Soups Divine gain not only work experience, but a sense of purpose and being part of a team. "I'm a firm believer in the proverb 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,'" says Burgess. "What I do every day is change the outcomes for small businesses through ownership. It's through ownership that we can change our financial futures. Hesed House is a safety net to empower people and change their outcomes."

About Burgess Commercial Real Estate
For business owners and real estate brokers, Burgess delivers solutions to meet client's space needs by creative building design and customized ownership or leasing options. Flexibility is a main focus of Burgess's land development and building design. Burgess Commercial Real Estate is located at 1585 Beverly Court in Aurora. For more information, call 877-57-BURGESS (Toll free: 877-572-8743) or visit

Contact Information