Monthly Archives: January 2016

Two New Businesses to Open in Schaumburg

The community of Schaumburg outside of Chicago is gearing up to welcome two new businesses; Bottle and Bottega, an art studio with food and wine available; and Noodle Lounge, an Asian restaurant.

The trustees of the Village of Schaumburg approved both enterprises and categorized them both as restaurnts although Bottega classifies itself not primarily as a restaurant.

Bottle and Bottega will open in Town Square at the southwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle roads. The owner, Karen Hautzinger said she expects to open the business in April. This unique business, which will fill a 1,790 square-foot space zt 51 W. Schaumburg Road, offers its customers, who usually book in groups, the chance to paint and/or create art works while also plying them with food and wine, not to mentions socializing.

There are other Bottle and Bottega studios in Arlington, Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Evanston and laGrange.

Noodle Lounge was also approved by the trustees on the board. The Asian restaurant will take up 1,542 square-feet at 22 E. Golf Road in the Schaumburg Corners Shopping Center. The Lounge can seat up to 30 people, but the restaurant expects take-out meals to provide about 20 percent of its revenue.

Illinois Budget Impasse Negatively Impacting Social Services Organization

The state budget deadlock is forcing Lutheran Social Services of Illinois to lay off more than 750 people and cut over 30 of their programs.

Mark Stutrud, CEO and President of the organization said that the budget stalemate “has severely challenged LSSI’s ability to provide services to those in need. Over the past months, LSSI has relied on a bank line of credit and available resources from our foundation to compensate for the state’s inability to pay its bills. Currently, we are owed more than $6 million by the state for services delivered. After seven months, we can no longer provide services for which we aren’t being paid.”

A spokeswoman for LSSI said that the yearly budget will be slashed by over $20 million, down to $75 million from $96 million. She explained that over 90 percent of the program cuts are due directly to the state’s lack of payment.

“We are eliminating spending that is most linked to non-payment of services and redesigning our administrative support around a newly restructured organization,” Stutrud said. “Our plans respond to this year’s budget impasse and an anticipated lingering state financial crisis over the next several years.”

Vail Resorts Purchases Wilmot Mountain Ski Area

Wilmot Mountain. Photo by Rickdrew at English Wikipedia
Wilmot Mountain. Photo by Rickdrew at English Wikipedia

Vail Resorts, owner of several other urban ski resorts, recently purchased the popular Wilmot Mountain ski area, for an undisclosed sum.

Wilmot Mountain, 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee and 65 miles north of Chicago has 25 trails, four terrain parks, a tubing hill, a ski and snowboard school, and a ski racing program.

Vail Resorts is the owner of two additional resorts in close proximity to urban areas, Afton Alps close to Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Mount Brighton close to Detroit. In addition, Vail owns eight ski resorts in California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah.

Wilmot Mountain will also be included in Vail’s Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass for next year’s ski season.

Booth Offering Scholarships to Civic Scholars MBA Program

University of Chicago’s Booth Weekend MBA Program will be offering eight full tuition scholarships yearly to professionals in the nonprofit and government fields. This move underscores the new interest in investing in the social sectors by business schools.
The Civic Scholars Program was announced last week and is partially funded by a $4 million grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation. The students will be known as Neubauer Civic Scholars, and will continue full-time in their present jobs while participating in the program.

The scholars will have all the same curriculum requirements as their fellow Weekend MBA Program students, but with additional courses designed specifically for their program. They will be able to work in small teams on research and consulting projects for the social sector and for government organizations, including their own. Candidates will often have six to ten years of professional experience.
Booth announced that the program

“…will bring important voices to the classroom and community by providing broader perspectives on issues such as understanding the role of business in society, the implications of expanding public-private partnerships, and the opportunities for business leaders to engage productively with government and nonprofit organizations.”

Chicago’s Employment Climate

employmentAt the end of last year, there was an escalation in small business jobs in Chicago. However, the rate at which this grew was actually slower than last year. Still, by the end of 2015, there was a leveling out of jobs following on from the recession. Indeed, according to James Diffley, economist for IHS Global Insight, Chicago actually managed to “regain all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession.” Having said that Chicago (as well as throughout America), encountered a reduction in 2014 during the hiring peak that occurred when businesses bolstered employment after cutbacks caused by recession and business failures.

On the flip side, Chicago’s athletes are really bringing home the bacon. One example is Derrick Rose who plays for the Bulls. Last year he took home $35 million – $15m of which came from endorsement contracts. Furthermore, six out of the 25 highest earning professional athletes in Chicago made their debuts last year and Jon Lester, pitcher for the Cubs earned $155 million for the year. That was said to have been “the richest multiyear contract in Chicago sports history.”

Overall however, it seems that last year’s employment market in Chicago was a bit of a disaster. A combination of near-stagnant international growth, the aging population and collapsing oil prices were the cause of this. There was an average of 1 percent less in employment growth for a second consecutive year in 2015; a statistic that has only ever happened four times since 1945.

Chicago Company Best Retailer for Cyber Week

It appears that people looking for the best bargains during the insane buying frenzy of Black Thursday, Cyber Monday and beyond would have done best at Chicago-based Groupon. This on-line purchasing powerhouse displayed the best deals and largest discounts than any other retailer during the 2015 Cyber Week shopping season.

Groupon prevailed with a 62-percent discount rate, according to a report published by Wallethub, a personal financial website. Researchers analyzed thousands of deals during the holidays from 30 of the largest US retailers and found that Groupon led the pack with Belk, Bon-Ton, JCPenney, Macy’s, eBay, Kohl’s, Sears, Amazon and Kmart following behind.

The category with the best discounts was jewelry. Computers, phones and video games were the least discounted articles. Sales on Cyber Monday reached $3.07 billion, 16 percent more than on the same day last year. Add that to the astounding sales from Thanksgiving on Thursday to Sunday, and the grand total is an astounding $11.1 billion.

The Wallethub study declared that the $3 billion total for Cyber Monday this year was the largest amount for a one-day sale in e-commerce history.

Redmoon Theater Lowering the Curtain

static1.squarespace.comRedmoon Theater, a Chicago tradition for two and a half decades, announced last week that it was shutting down permanently. The performance company said they were no longer able to properly support their “unique artistic vision.”

The company stated in a letter to the public that:

“It has been an honor to serve the city of Chicago for the past 25 years. We have been blessed to work in and with over 40 of Chicago’s 77 official neighborhoods and to bring our unique brand of spectacle to some of our finest institutions; to many of the city’s most revered public sites; and most importantly to some of its most overlooked neighborhoods.”

Recent attempts to revitalize the flagging company ended poorly. The 2014 Great Chicago Fire Festival drew 30,000 people to the celebration at the shores of the Chicago River. Unfortunately, the main spectacle, which was supposed to “celebrate Chicago’s grit, greatness, and renewal following the fire of 1871” did not come off as planned. Floating sculptures on the river that were supposed to burst into flames failed to ignite due to cold and rainy weather. Redmoon was highly criticized for the failure.

The company also tried to start a rental business in its most recent venue. Complications and failures which led to a lawsuit for $62,082.22 for unpaid rent in September and October. Phillip Mumford, who is seeking those damages, is due to meet Redmoon in court later this week.

“Our consolation at this sad moment is that Redmoon is bigger than this non-profit institution,” the statement continued. “It is a spirit that survives us. It lives in you, our patrons and partners. It is a memory sown into each of the sites that have hosted us. Most of all, we are consoled that Redmoon’s mission to celebrate and uplift community is a shared concern powering amazing, if under-recognized, activity all over this great city.”