Monthly Archives: August 2017

Good Vibrations from Reverb

Chicago-based Reverb.com is doing really great things.  Just recently the company (that sells instrument and music gear online) launched its e-commerce site for music collectors.  Specializing in vinyl it is anticipated that this move will bolster the firm’s success, when it goes live later this year.

And with an injection of $15 million in funding, Reverb is clearly making a name for itself in the tech industry.  Big names like Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal) and Adam Bain (ex-COO at Twitter) are making investments in the firm which will be used for new employee hires as well as the expansion of the company, worldwide.

Not surprisingly therefore, the company also landed a place on Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 500 list.

Forbes Recognition for Illinois Largest Private Firms

A recent Forbes list of top largest private firms in America had some astonishing results for Chicago.  Illinois, it seems is home to 13 of the country’s best largest firms for 2017. Although that figure was 14 a year ago, it’s still a very impressive record.

Number 11 on the 33rd annual list of 225 companies hails from Chicago.  Reyes Holding – the firm that owns food service and beer distribution companies – is based in Rosemont and has an annual revenue of $26.5 billion. This was up a spot from last year’s Number 12 position.

The list features private firms that have an annual revenue of $2 billion+ and at least 100 staff members.  Hence there were 225 companies this year and 223 last.

Here are the top 10 Illinois companies on the list and their rank:

  1. Reyes Holdings (Rosemont)
  2. Medline Industries (Mundelein)
  3. OSI Group (Aurora)
  4. Flex-N-Gate (Mundelein)
  5. Dot Foods (Mt. Sterling)
  6. Eby-Brown (Naperville)
  7. Walsh Group (Chicago)
  8. Amsted Industries (Chicago)
  9. Follett (Westchester)
  10. Koch Foods (Park Ridge)

 

Working from “Home”

A few years ago everyone was trying to work from home.  It knocked out the commute, saved time and let you stay in your pajamas all day.  But then the trend started backfiring a bit and people craved the interaction between others and being forced to get dressed rather than be on the computer in their bedroom.  Indeed, at that time it was found that people craved the stimulation of the office environment and the networking opportunities it offered.

Thus, the We-Work/Hub situation was born.  And the best of both worlds came into action.  For those Chicagoans looking for options, today they can choose from:  WeWork Chicago (for $350-750 a month in 6 locations); Level (with different options available at there 4 locations – one close to Willis Tower and its thriving community; indoor bike racks at another and cheap fees – starting from a mere $50 per month) and Industrious Chicago (which provides a large space right in the center of River North across from the Loop. As well as office facilities this has lounge area, phone booths and relaxation rooms as well as a café).

These spaces are obviously thriving since Level Office just signed a deal for a 110,000 square foot office tower at Welton and 16th Streets.

ComEd to Help Chicagoans Save Money

In an attempt to help Chicagoans save money on energy bills, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) joined forces with ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Environmental Law and Policy Center.  Educating the public on how to save money from their energy bills, the first piece of advice was to invest in a smart thermostat.

A recent announcement was made by these organizations that a new incentive will be put into place, giving customers an immediate rebate for the purchase of a smart thermostat which can be programmed to automatically adjust to specific living arrangements.  In other words, instead of having the air conditioner on 24/7, the thermostat will raise a few degrees while you’re out of the house and lower, just before you return.

It’s not just a smart thermostat that will do this.  smartphones and (Amazon) Alexa will do the same job.  But the advantage of a smart thermostat is that they actually figure out how to adapt to their users’ behavior, identify patterns and thereafter manage heating and cooling systems which will significantly reduce energy costs.

Boost to Chicago’s Entrepreneurs

A new plan has been launched by Andrea Zopp (Chicago’s Chief Neighborhood Development Officer and Deputy Mayor) to help 50 entrepreneurs open businesses in the city’s “thrive zones.” These areas – primarily on the south and west sides – are being primed for a boost of retail energy, with the hoping of expanding the downtown area’s economic growth to other areas.

The areas – Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Shore, West Humboldt Park and West Pullman – have historically encountered substantial commercial action, which has been stunted in recent years.

The monetary assistance is intended to help local firms engage in business expansion, renovation, and more, ultimately leading to an increase in retail activity and additional job creation.  Businesses involved in this include: beauty supply stores, fashion stores, grocery stores, etc. that already have a presence in the area.