Tag: Goose Island

Goose Island Summit highlights need for infrastructure upgrades

In carrying out its valuable role as a planned manufacturing district, Goose Island makes a major contribution to the well-being of Chicago’s economy.

A manmade island with a rich industrial legacy, Goose Island is approximately 160 acres and runs in the Chicago River from Chicago Avenue to North Avenue.

To ensure Goose Island remains a vibrant place to work and do business, North Branch Works recently convened the 2nd Annual Goose Island Summit, bringing together nearly forty businesses with city leaders, including 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Samir Mayekar, along with representatives from DPD, CDOT, and CTA, to identify top priorities and action steps.

Although the one-hour dialogue covered many topics, businesses consistently identified the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades that create safe access to and from Goose Island as well as the immediate surrounding neighborhood areas.

Participants heard updates from ongoing and future planned projects such as:

  • The removal of train tracks on Cherry St. between North Branch Street and the dead end at the north end of the island
  • The replacement of the Division Street Bridge, a vital connector for goods and services across the island, and installation of a new stop sign.
  • The ridership levels that would be required for the Chicago Transit Authority to resume the CTA #132 Goose Island Express Bus.

With new companies expected to move to Goose Island, there’ll be tremendous demand for alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking and fast and reliable bus service.

And we know investments in infrastructure will return tremendous economic development benefits, especially on Goose Island, which is home to major companies and family-owned businesses including Mars Wrigley, Waste Management, MxD, FedEx, Amazon, Calihan Catering, and Gold Coast Auto Body.

And by attracting and retaining industrial businesses, Goose Island ensures that high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages that require only middle skills are available to all Chicagoans.

As a significant part of our service area, North Branch Works is dedicated to serving and advocating for the business community on Goose Island so it can continue to offer high-quality jobs and serve as a major contributor to healthy neighborhoods.

With questions and to get involved in moving this work forward, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Image credit: Port Urbanism

Support Calihan Catering

Not all business models are adaptable during a pandemic.

And that’s especially true for small businesses like Calihan Catering whose model depends upon large events bringing together between two and five thousand people.

A family-owned, multi-generational small business, Calihan Catering opened in 1985 when founder John Calihan launched the company. And for over twenty years, the firm has been located on Goose Island, offering easy access to the central business district and the north side.

The company’s facility features an eight thousand sq. foot state-of-the-art kitchen and a twenty thousand sq. foot breathtaking event space, Gallery 1028 (pictured below).

As the firm grew over the years, it developed a specialty in carrying out large events successfully. Some of Calihan’s high profile clients include the N.F.L. Draft, Gourmet Chicago, Butterfly Ball, Field Museum, Civic Opera House, and recently the James Beard Awards–the preeminent awards for the restaurant and food industry.

Along with providing high-quality food and entertainment, Calihan Catering employed 176 people in good jobs with family-sustaining wages. Sadly, because of the pandemic, the company has been forced to furlough many of its employees and operate at 15% capacity.

Despite these challenges, the Calihan family has prioritized public health during these uncertain times and will not promote large gatherings until they can be held safely.

And the family has also decided not to compete with local restaurants who are already stretched-thin trying to make ends meet through delivery and pickup services.

Because many weddings and large events have been postponed indefinitely, it’s uncertain if business will pick up in 2021. And while you might hear about city, state, and federal governments offering financial assistance to small businesses, the inability to plan for 2021 remains a major barrier.

Chicago remains a vibrant city in large part because we have a diverse range of neighborhood businesses offering specialized products and experiences.

And that’s why North Branch Works is deeply committed to supporting members like Calihan and creating an environment where businesses can thrive and offer good jobs with family-sustaining wages.

In these challenging times, we urge our members to support each other by coming together as a community and keeping business local. We encourage you to explore business-to-business opportunities, consider formal partnerships, or ask for referrals within our network–there’s really no limit to the ways we can partner together.

And if you’d like to connect with fellow members, North Branch Works would love to help you. With questions, please contact Steve Simmons, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

For high-quality catering and entertainment services, please contact Nash Calihan and his team at 312-587-3553 and/or visit: calihancatering.com/inquire-1.

Image credits: Calihan Catering