Category Archives: Economy

Market Expansion in Chicago

There are many opportunities in Chicago for those wishing to start a business, expand on their projects or move in a new entrepreneurial direction. This Friday is the Annual Food Policy Summit.  Taking place at the south Shore Culture Center, the event – from 9.30am to 5.pm – is organized by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) in conjunction with the Detection and Classification of Acoustic Scenes and Events (DCASE).  Now in its 14th year, a series of workshops, food demos and resources will be available.  Click here for more information. 

Small business owners and will be able to learn how they can participate in the City Markets program as well as benefit from Chicago’s vending opportunities.

Next week on March 18, a workshop will be hosted by the Chicago City Markets Team, in conjunction with Logan Square Farmers Market and Bronzeville Boxville Market executives.  Discussions for new market applicants will be centered on how to find a market most appropriate for one’s needs.

In other Chicago business expansion news we see the movement of security integrator Security 101 opening a new office in Chicago.    It will be run by David Ritland who is both owner and president; a man who has expanded another company – The Sentral Group – to five American and one Mexican plant.  CEO of the firm, Steve Crespo said:

Chicago is an exciting market with a number of growing businesses and organizations needing quality integrated security to protect employees and assets. Dave and his team will be backed by the Security 101 organization and its other franchise offices.”

Chicagoans Helping Each Other

How is America’s longest-ever government shutdown impacting Chicagoans?  What are people doing to lessen the burden felt by locals?  In this article, we look at that specific issue as well as the more general problem of the city’s homeless population.

Companies in Chicago are helping people out by giving free lunches, tickets to the museum and even temporary employment.  Getting a free sandwich at the Adler Planetarium doesn’t pay the bills but it’s a nice gesture to help people get through their day. Meanwhile at Horse Thief Hollow – a restaurant catering to federal workers at Midway Airport – is featuring a shutdown special with a free lunch valued up to $15.

Meanwhile 34-year-old real estate developer Candice Payne decided to help the homeless.  Payne – whose own boyfriend was once homeless – was working from home one day when outside temperature was subzero.  That inspired her to find a way to help out.

She set out by contacting hotels to see if they would open their doors to the homeless.  After being turned down by many, she accessed 30 rooms at The Amber Inn.  Transporting the homeless there proved to be her next challenge so she turned to social media.  The post went viral and the end result was 72 rooms for 5 nights being booked, assisting 122 people thanks to numerous donations. 

They say one good deed deserves another so perhaps that was why Payne was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show where she received a $25,000 gift token for Walmart.

Improving the Plight of Minorities

For centuries people have been working in different capacities, in varied cities and countries, to improve the environment of where they are for the minorities living in them.  2019 and Chicago is apparently very less different than one would imagine.  here we take a little look as to what the city is doing currently in this vein.

according to The Reader’s, Pete Saunders:

“Chicago’s black population, the city’s largest demographic in 2000, has dropped by 24 percent through 2017, going from more than one million in 2000 to just under 800,000 in 2017. The number of whites in Chicago surpassed blacks in 2017, and Latinos will almost certainly pass blacks by the time of the 2020 census.”

Why is that?  Why are blacks leaving Chicago?  if this was not the case, the population of Chicago would actually be increasing. instead, there seems to be a move to places such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

Is there perhaps discrimination against minorities?  according to Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, if voted in she will “bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing policy that has unfairly targeted minority motorists and forced thousands of them into bankruptcy. one part of her proposed policy will be the reversal of what she terms a punitive policy that (according to a Woodstock Institute study)  targets motorists in “low- and moderate- income communities of color” at a 40 percent higher rate than those from more affluent neighborhoods.  she would also set up a task force within her proposed Office of Criminal Justice to thoroughly investigate “the disparities between aggressive ticketing in black and brown communities and less-aggressive ticketing in white neighborhoods.”

Educationally efforts are being made to assist minority groups too. along with a few other universities nationwide, the University of Chicago extended its application deadline.  it was discovered by George Washington University that such an extension “helped reach more underrepresented minorities. The school received an additional 600 applications from African-American, Hispanic and first-generation college students after extending its deadline to Jan. 15 from Jan. 5.”  Hopefully the same will be true for Chicagoans.

Looking Ahead: Business Growth in the US in 2019

Economic Growth

At the 2018 EY Strategic Growth Forum, the advice given to the invite-only annual conference for leading US-executive leaders was based on the following key elements:

  • Establish a purpose
  • Create a solid foundation
  • Contemplate the future
  • Customer prioritization.

Steve Costello summed up some more of the outcomes of the conference.  He speaks about the advice given from jewelry designer Kendra Scott on the importance of setting up an advisory board.  This is important, not necessarily for advice but to maintain a strong system of checks and balances.  She advised:

“Report to them quarterly like a public company and have biannual planning meetings with them.  We all have biases, so select balanced, deep thinkers who’ve known you a long time and can easily identify your blind spots.Like your best mentors, they’ll give you the perspective you don’t want to hear.”

co-founder of the organic baby food brand Once Upon a Farm Jennifer Garner advises using the business you establish to help fund causes dear to your heart.  She explained:

“I’m in business because I’m sick of asking people for money. I … generate money by getting people to buy a product that helps them and can help someone else.” And she has proceeds of her company donated to the Ron Finley Project which provides healthy food and access to urban gardens in underserved LA communities.

Regarding stocks,it is anticipated that there will be a “modest recovery” next year mainly due to “pressure from higher interest rates and concerns about peaking earnings growth. Investing in smaller, domestically focused companies had been among the most popular strategies in 2018, as tariff tensions and a fiscal stimulus boost made them into safe havens.” 

In fact, many economic experts anticipate a And in general, US economic growth is expected to be very small next year, with an even deeper drop in growth levels in the second quarter.  Thankfully few believe that it is likely to result in a huge recession.

Small Business Strategies in Chicago: Part I

Local businesses grow and thrive via their communities, making them a different organism than their larger-scale counterparts. In Chicago, small businesses are doing especially well due to the efforts of numerous professionals and the local residents. According to members of Forbes Chicago Business Council, there are several approaches that have made small businesses in Chicago so successful:

  1. Partnerships with other local startups. According to Ben Margolit of Rentgrata, Inc., networking and exploring partnerships with other businesses cultivate relationships that have the potential to stimulate significant growth, especially when both organizations share a similar target customer base.
  2. Transit advertising. Seemingly old-fashioned, advertisements places on trains and other means of public transportation generated a lot of traffic for Augmented Retail Company, according to Anne-Marie Kovacs. She also listed social and influencer marketing as impactful tools.
  3. Joining the local tech scene proved valuable to Devbridge Group, according to Aurimas Adomavicius, allowing the company to generate organic referrals and efficiently meet their clients’ needs.
  4. Showcasing stories. An alumni blog series captured the essence of Victory Lap’s graduates, allowing their story to stand out and their content to be seen by a wider audience, according to Brian Bar.
  5. Events and relationships. Nothing beats natural interactions and personal referrals when it comes to building up a reputation. According to Bobby Goodman of Truss, attending events and meeting other startup teams helped the company cultivate strong relationships and generate new business.
  6. Organizing events and tours. According to Ross Freedman of Rightpoint, sponsoring and speaking at industry-focused events and summits grants immeasurable exposure and legitimacy to a company as well as invaluable insights and knowledge into different business ecosystems.

Good News for Illinois Economy

Measuring in at 104.6 on the Flash Index for February, there was optimism abound in Illinois at the economic status.  This was an increase of a fifth of a point from January, according to the University of Illinois’ economic gauge. And, according to economist Fred Giertz, this figure is the highest it has been since May 2017. With it, the unemployment rate of 4.9 is low too. He said:

 “The Illinois economy is doing very well, especially compared to years ago, when we had the recession and major slow-down. But we’re not doing as well as the rest of the country.”

Giertz added that in general, the trends in the Illinois economy is positive, pointing out that this is proof of “an upward trajectory. Unemployment has been going down, but we haven’t move as fast as the national economy. It’s probably not going to propel the economy and the stock market upward in a kind of rapid expansion that seems to be true or what people thought the last couple of months or so.”

In addition, assistant vice president and economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, William R. Emmons said that the Midwestern Illinois economy is at “peak performance.  In fact, if anything we may be a little bit past peak performance. The unemployment rate is at the level that is close to ideal, that’s not zero necessarily, there is always some unemployment as people move between jobs.”

Illinois Economy: Slow and Steady

Measuring in at 104-point-one at the end of last year, the Flash Index from Illinois University’s final reading supports a ‘slow and steady’ prediction for the region’s economy.  The figure – a decrease of one tenth of a percent from November – is still on a growth spurt as anything more than 100 is indicative of an escalating economy.

However, despite this, Fred Giertz, an economist with the University of Illinois, thinks the growth is actually slower than the rest of America’s economy.  This could in part be due to Illinois’ “unsettled politics and finances.”  He believes that:

“The bad news is it could have been a lot better and the good news is it could have been a lot worse. So, I think we’re moving along all right and maybe things will start growing faster in the New Year.”

Meanwhile, specifically in Chicago, the city’s “post-recession rebound” is much greater than its neighboring suburbs.  In 2017, the number of private sector jobs there got to the highest ever level in more than two-and-a-half decades.  According to preliminary data published by the Illinois Department of Employment Security there was a 16.6 percent increase in 2017 since 2010 (during the Great Recession), way above the national 15.7 percent average growth.

 

Thriving Illinois Economy

Illinois University found in its November’s (monthly) Flash Economic Index that there is slow and steady growth in the state’s economy.  There was an increase of 3/10th of a point to 104-point-two from October, marking the end of a five-year low. Fred Giertz, who is an economist at the University, said that anything over 100 means growth and while it is “not [an] explosive growth” but still impressive and similar to what the economy has gone through nationwide in the last two quarters (3 percent).

In Will County, there has been impressive economic development too.  According to the Will County Center for Economic Development’s President and CEO, John Greuling, this year, Will County witnessed the creation of an additional 6,200 jobs, 21 million more square feet of space, $900 million in new investment and 40 business expansions.

Amazon, Ikea and General Mills built new warehouses, and the University of St. Francis and Joliet Junior College constructed new facilities. Silver Cross broke ground on a new 100-bed behavioral health center, Mars Candy moved into a 1.4 square foot complex, and four other 1 million square foot sites were built on speculation, he said. It all demonstrates a “high confidence” in Will County’s market, Greuling said.

Meanwhile for those looking to make some extra cash over the festive period, Rockford UPS is hiring.  They are looking for around 2,000 people in full- and part-time capacities as drivers, helpers and packers.