Since we began this series profiling Portage Lives in the Spotlight, we’ve gotten to know some of the most influential, prominent, dedicated and active members of the Portage community. However, it is difficult for any of them to serve the community as much as this week’s Portage Life in the Spotlight, Shannon Burhans.
Burhans has owned the eState in Portage with her husband Dave since 2003. The eState is a jewelry, coin and collectible shop located on Willowcreek Road. Dave previously worked for his dad’s store in Tinley Park, while Shannon brought her experience as a branch manager at Horizon Bank with her to the eState.
When Shannon Burhans decided to open the store, her main reasoning was to be able to work flexible hours and spend as much time with her children as possible. Those selfless motives are commonplace for Burhans.
“We really didn’t give a thought to doing our own business until we started having kids,” Burhans said. “That kind of changed our whole outlook. Being a branch manager was fairly demanding as far as my time and I couldn’t quite be the kind of mom that I wanted to be.”
With Burhans’s experience taking care of the books and running a business and Dave’s passion for coins, jewelry and collectibles, the two make a top-notch combination to make sure that their customers are taken care of. According to Burhans, the most challenging aspect of owning the eState is having total responsibility for the business and not having the luxury of an automatic paycheck.
“While you do have some flexibility, you definitely are tied to it 24/7,” she said. “Taking vacations aren’t always easy. We do manage to do them but you’re nervous and worried generally the whole time you’re there.”
The Burhans family has found Portage to be the perfect place to live and work. Shannon and Dave have been in the city for 15 years after going to high school together at Lake Central. They are currently raising their two children, Taylor (age 12) and CJ (age 9).
Outside of her job, Burhans has her hands full with a multitude of community activities. She is heavily involved with the Kiwanis Club of Portage, which is a volunteer service organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and families in our community.
“Kiwanis is all about the kids,” she said. “Kiwanis actually started the Relay for Life in Portage and the Christmas in April, which is now called Rebuilding Together.”
The Kiwanis works on countless service projects. One of Burhans’s favorites is giving every third grader in the Portage schools a personalized dictionary each year.
Burhans was the driving force that started a group called the Portage Parent Network. The purpose of the organization is to give parents additional support and figure out their needs to help them become best equipped to raise their children.
“There’s always been a standing joke that when you have a baby they don’t give you a manual of how to work the thing,” she said. “Our group works closely with the schools. We work with the home school advisors and principals to find out the needs of the parents.”
Burhans is also an active member of the Portage Parks and Recreation Foundation after just finishing serving as its president this past year. She is in the process of organizing the Freaky Fun Zombie Run, which is set for October 13. On top of that, she works behind the scenes and coaches when needed at Indiana Elite Gymnastics in Wheeler, where her daughter has trained for ten years.
Burhans has been a familiar face to the Portage community since her arrival in the city 15 years ago. Her incredible impact leaves one to wonder how she is able to fit it all in.
“People ask me that all the time,” she said. “I think the saying ‘If you want something done, give it to someone busy’ applies. You know the busier you are, you just find a way to fit it into your schedule. You don’t have a lot of down time necessarily, but that’s okay with me. I enjoy being busy.”