AS YOU READ through this issue about exotic locales like Switzerland and Tahiti, let me throw another meeting destination into the mix: Consider my hometown, Downers Grove, Ill. In my highly transitory business, I could live anyplace I can park my double-wide, but I have chosen to live in Downers Grove, where every day is double-coupon day.

Located just a lifestyle away from Chicago, Downers Grove offers the meeting-goer everything the Big City has to offer — except the amenities. We have plenty of stores for the shopper, several of which are open 24 hours. If you need anything in the middle of the night — from a hot cup of coffee to a delicious Slurpee — you can get it in Downers Grove.

We also have restaurants in town including 37 pizza joints. No matter how you like your pizza, from thin crust to thick crust to extra crispy, you can get it in Downers Grove.

As far as meeting space is concerned, you have a choice between the VFW hall, The Moose Lodge, or the basement of the Methodist church. All of them offer AC power, folding chairs, and free use of the bingo equipment.

If you are looking for a spouse program, the neighborhood craft shop offers free découpage lessons on Tuesdays, and the bakery gives away coffee cake samples every Wednesday. And don't worry about coffee to go along with the cake — as required by law, Downers Grove has a conveniently located Starbucks.

You also can depend on Downers Grove to fill all of your nightlife needs. Our bowling alley now has 14 lanes, and with the new automatic pin spotters expected in the spring, it should be a state-of-the-art facility … if you like Renaissance art.

There are plenty of places to quench your thirst, ranging from the 12-stool Do Drop Inn to Stumpy's, a bar featuring a dead animal head on the wall and a big jar of pickled eggs on the counter. Come on in and make yourself at home, just don't make any remarks about Stumpy's wife.

We don't have a zoo in Downers Grove but most of the neighborhood dogs will let you pet them if you give them a cookie (available for sale at the bakery). And plan some extra time to visit our undersea exhibit, a 35-gallon aquarium in Earl Simpson's basement. It's filled with many exotic fish, along with a few Earl caught at the local pond. Tours available by appointment.

Finally, don't forget about the outdoor leisure activities. We have several beautiful swimming pools in town, and when the people that own them go on vacation, the rest of us have a grand old time.

For the incentive program you've always dreamed of, visit Downers Grove, Ill. We're conveniently located and we validate parking. I'll leave the porch light on for you.

Note: Dale Irvin in not employed by nor a member of the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce. In fact, they would prefer if he moved his trailer to another location.




Dale Irvin is a professional speaker, a member of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, and a popular meeting emcee for insurance organizations such as the Million Dollar Round Table. For a good time, visit www.daleirvin.com. For booking, call Ruth Levine at Speak Inc., (858) 457-9880.