The Epitome Boutique is a small business ran by Laricia Chandler that offers urban clothing, shoes and accessories. While the boutique tends to be more profitable in the summer, a recent slump caused by the opening of new shopping centers in the South Loop neighborhood and Hyde Park is forcing the boutique to find a new location that’s more accessible to its clients.
This has been one heck of a year for the airline industry.
Through the year’s first nine months, earnings at every major carrier have risen. The year-end numbers due out soon will confirm what the industry, and Wall Street, already expect: the upward trend isn’t likely to be ending anytime soon.
The industry is benefiting from declining fuel prices, strong demand and — thanks to consolidation among players — the absence of the kind of profit busting price wars that once plagued the airline sector.
Santa might have to work overtime this holiday season as retail sales surged in November by a stronger-than-expected 0.7 percent, up more than 5 percent from a year ago, the Commerce Department reported. A sharp drop in energy prices is giving consumers more spending power and they appear to be using it. Continue reading “Falling gas prices raise holiday spending prospects”→
In the past few years, consumers disillusioned with tight-fisted banks have jumped on the peer-to-peer lending bandwagon.
When the Great Recession hit, banks suffered big losses as borrowers defaulted on loans they had taken out during the economy’s long upturn. In response, lenders have drastically tightened their lending requirements. As a result, many borrowers with anything less than stellar credit now can’t qualify for traditional bank loans. Continue reading “Peer-to-peer lending sees exponential growth”→
Five years ago, when Stanford MBA graduate Brian Spaly decided to build his second online fashion startup, he chose Chicago.
“I love the city and felt that running a startup business focused on apparel here would draw much interest,” said the CEO of Trunk Club, a personalized online men’s clothing store that had raised $12.4 million in venture capital before being scooped up by Nordstrom Inc. for $350 million earlier this year.
Brandon Byxbe faced a challenge. In order to launch his cafe, he needed to outfit the kitchen with the proper equipment– pretty big-ticket, specialized gear. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur didn’t have the money to do so.
Byxbe is the owner of the Amazing Kale Burger: a Chicago-based company that makes vegan, gluten-free, soy-free burgers. He started out in 2012, selling his kale burgers at farmer’s markets, and to local grocers and restaurants. Since then, Byxbe’s veggie burgers have gained a strong following, with customers clamoring for more and more.
And now, responding to that growing demand, Byxbe plans to open the Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter on Howard Street.
“I’m hoping to open by the first of the year,” Byxbe said.
Before opening, however, he needed to purchase a 40-gallon steam kettle and a commercial convection oven, which will allow him to increase the scale of production for his burgers.
Together, the kettle and oven would cost nearly $5,000 — even if he bought used items. Byxbe didn’t have that money. The Amazing Kale Burger needed help.
What started as a small operation in Richard Hall’s garage five years ago is now a million-dollar success for Hall and co-founder McGregor Madden. Proper Suit is a technology-based personalized custom suit-maker headquartered in Chicago with studios now in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland.
The company prides itself on its high-quality laser-cut suits using AutoCAD technology, that range from $850 to $2,800, depending on the fabric. After reaching $1.2 million in revenue in 2013, Proper Suit has been pulling in between $130,000 to $150,000 a month in 2014.
The large group at Chicago’s Globe Pub, many sporting jerseys from soccer teams all over the country, was focused on Sunday’s Major League Soccer Cup Final — and the craft beers they were sipping. Soccer scarves from around the world mounted the walls, along with signed, framed photos and jerseys.
Unfortunately, although both teams had made exciting playoff runs to reach the final, neither the Los Angeles Galaxy nor the New England Revolution were playing at their best in the big game. Viewers in the pub began to voice their frustration at the misplaced passes and what seemed like both teams inability to keep the ball on the ground.
“It’s like watching little kids play soccer,” one patron remarked.