Monthly Archives: October 2018

Local Industry Events

The American Institute of Architects Chicago chapter hosts the Art & Architecture Chicago Design Night event, which is happening tonight.  Kick off is at 5:30pm (cocktail hour in the Lakeview Terrace) and is held at the Navy Pier, Aon Grand Ballroom at 840 East Grand Avenue.  It is the 63rd year this event is taking place and it has been sold out for weeks.   Attending will be approximately 1,000 industry professionals, in recognition of the achievements of those in the architectural field.

On Thursday November 1 from 6-8pm at the Parlor Pizza Bar, 108 N. Green Street, there is an event for all “Illinois Green Alliance Emerging Professionals.”  There will be an opportunity to Meet the EP Committee as well as learning how to get involved for next year.

Chicago’s Food Industry

Chicago’s food industry is busting at the seams as it were.  It is “quickly becoming a hotbed of investment for startups in the food industry, befitting the city’s legacy of being the world’s hog butcher and stacker of wheat.”

Some recent trends include the merge between Kellogg and Conagra Brands, resulting in the provision of $34 million to set up the Hatchery – a food business incubator – due to open in November.  Kraft Heinz recently established the Evolv Ventures Fund, which is the world’s “fifth-largest packaged food and beverage company.”  According to investor and fund leader Bill Pescatello, the fund is: “about how can we be smarter, connect with startups and get a first look at emerging technologies. The distribution channels are being absolutely disrupted, with Amazon selling direct to consumers and doing delivery, along with Instacart. We’ll be heavily involved in investing in those areas.”

According to Pritzker Group VC Partner Matt McCall:

“The Midwest has the deepest bench strength in the world in food and ag. Fragmentation is the No. 1 enemy of an ecosystem. So if you can create clusters of resources and players focused on the same sector, you get a compounding flywheel.”

However, there is one question that leads to cause for concern:  can the current economic (aging) demographic utilize the burgeoning food industry?  According to the NPD’s study, Eating Patterns in America, while it is true the US economy is on an upswing, due to its “aging population and corresponding changes in life stage,” this will likely lead to a drop in “total eating occasions on a per capital basis.”  The growth of the population is not likely to be huge and that will lead to a “less than one percent annual increase in total food and beverage demand, which isn’t significant enough to stop the decline in consumption occasions per capita.”  As NPD food industry advisor David Portalatin noted:

Still, vis-à-vis Chicago, the food industry seems not to have taken a hit with an increase in industry startups including: Farmer’s Fridge, Fooda, RxBar, Home Chef, Simple Mills and Tovala.


Sports Tourism Bolsters Chicago’s Economy

Some tourists are looking for sporting events for their entertainment. As such, Chicago seems to be providing a great vibe drawing in many tourists.  It has been found that, according to the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, “non-traditional sporting events such as paintball competition, dodge ball and drone racing are helping the south and southwest suburbs draw tourists and their spending power.”

Hotels are teeming with people with $105 million in revenue being generated during the fiscal year that ended June 2018, a slight decrease from 2017 which had a revenue of $107 million but the Bureau’s statistics found a slight increase from the 2017 65.6 percent rate average to 65.8 percent.

According to President and CEO of the Bureau Jim Garrett, sport tourism is “big business,” with Southland hosting the World Wiffle Ball Championship (July); regional dodge ball competition (August); regional drone racing and the National X-Ball League’s Midwest Paintball Championship (September).

Chillin’ in Chicago

There are lots of events going on for Chicagoans.  For example, October 6 sees the fourth annual Bacon and Beer Classic, at Soldier Field.  Featuring 100+ locally-brewed craft beers to drink down over 30 different “bacon-inspired” dishes made by local chefs, even the kids will enjoy interactive games and other family-friendly activities.

After all that carb-infused beer and bacon, the next day you’re bound to be ready for Chicago’s Marathon.  Whether you’re up for the 26.2 miles or just want to spend the day cheering on other sweaty athletes, it’s still getting out the house and enjoying the sites of Chicago.  Hang out at Millennium Park, Chinatown or Michigan Avenue (for the grand finale) and make a picnic day out of it.

Or if that seems too active, wait til later in the month.  For two days (October 13 and 14), there is no fee to check out 250 cool local places.  Thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Architectural Foundation, you will be privy to “behind-the-scenes looks at architectural gems and private spots.”  New locations this year include: Ingersoll-Blackwelder House, Optimo and the Third Unitarian Church.


World Hindu Congress

The 2018 Hindu Women Forum (HWF) organized a Hindu Women Conference at this year’s World Hindu Congress that was held in Chicago last month at Hotel Westin, 70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard.

The conference is held every 4 years and is an amalgamation of Hindu women from “diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and professions, including business, science, politics, and the arts, to share ideas and experiences as well as their contributions to variety of spheres.”