Tag: North Branch

Apply for a low-interest business loan from North Branch Works

Having access to North Branch Works’ low-interest business loan fund is a valuable benefit we provide to our members.

Our mission is to strengthen economic development in our service area by helping businesses get started, grow, and expand so they can provide high-quality jobs to Chicagoans.

Toward that end, we have a microloan fund that can make loans of up to $25,000 to startup companies and up to $50,000 to existing businesses.

Our interest rates range from 2-8% and the term ranges from 6-36 months with a small 2% closing cost. In some cases such as when a business has received a Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) award, we can make loans above these limits.

Because SBIF projects must be financed by a business before it can submit for reimbursement from the City of Chicago, our loan fund is a great way to avoid diverting capital or taking out a loan from another lender at a higher interest rate.

Loans from North Branch Works can be used for business purposes such as purchasing equipment and inventory, customizing and repairing your physical space, and working capital.

The primary goal of our loan fund is to help businesses grow and expand while incurring the lowest possible costs. For example, let’s say a business in our service area needs to make $17,000 worth of improvements to a physical space before it can move into our area and open.

The business could apply to our loan fund; for the sake of this example, let’s assume our loan fund committee reviews and approves the loan at 2%. We can issue the check immediately. At this rate, it would cost the company $340 to borrow $17,000 and the 2% APR would be amortized over the term of the loan.

And if your business needs a loan that is larger than what we can offer, we’d love to connect you to other lenders in our network like Allies for Community Business and LISC Chicago.

Coming out of the pandemic, North Branch Works would like to see our resources deployed in our service area and positioning our members for present and future success.

Currently, we have a goal of making two low-interest loans by the end of 2021. For more information, please see our business loan fund one-pager.

With questions and to express interest in applying to our business loan fund, please contact Steve Simmons at 773-929-5552 x2226 or steve@northbranchworks.org.

The Hideout poised for reopening

A family-owned business, beloved bar, and live music venue along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the Hideout has a long history of bringing people together as a community, serving as a launching pad for bands, and providing respite to industrial business workers.

Located at 1354 W. Wabansia Avenue (see below left), the Hideout is a two-story, balloon frame house that was built by immigrants during the 1860s—a time when industrial workers scraped together materials to build cottages around the Chicago River that supported the thriving steel mills.

From its birth, the Hideout has always been an instrumental part of the North Branch community. People come together at the Hideout and encourage each other to take chances and pursue their dreams—whether it be starting a band, organizing for a more equitable Chicago, or planning a campaign for alderman.

Some of the high-profile musicians who’ve played at the Hideout include Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Jeff Glenn Kotche (Wilco), John Stirratt (Wilco and Autumn Defense), Mavis Staples (The Staples Singers), Jack White (White Stripes), and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins).

In addition to being a popular neighborhood destination, the Hideout employs thirty-four people in high-quality jobs. Part-time staff earn good wages that provide them the flexibility to string together opportunities and succeed in today’s gig economy.

The current owners, Tim and Katie Tuten, along with running the Hideout, have played a major role in organizing efforts to improve the quality of life in Chicago. Katie spearheaded the creation of the Chicago Independent Venues League (CIVL), which came together to advocate for small venues to ensure they are recognized for their many contributions to Chicago’s music scene.

Today, CIVL represents over forty independent venues in the City of Chicago.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie had a prominent role in the #SaveOurStages campaign that pushed the federal government to provide financial assistance to small independent venues. In partnership with Congressman Mike Quigley, this effort scored a major victory in the American Rescue Plan Act, which created a federal grant opportunity for closed venues, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

North Branch Works would also like to congratulate Katie Tuten on receiving the 2021 Nonprofit Board Member of the Year Award for her work with BandWith, a nonprofit that covers the costs of musical instruments and instruction for under-resourced schools on Chicago’s West Side.

The Hideout is a great example of how neighborhood businesses can thrive in partnership with industrial companies with informed land use planning, which is a top advocacy priority of North Branch Works.

Tim and Katie made the difficult decision to close the Hideout during the pandemic; the business has been shut down since March of 2020. However, we’re thrilled the Hideout is on track to open for outdoor music on its front porch during the summer and has a tentative plan to welcome people indoors in the fall.

North Branch Works members and supporters can help the Hideout by visiting regularly when it opens. In the meantime, please purchase tickets to its incredible virtual events. You can also pick up the latest merchandise from the Hideout’s online store.

North Branch Works is grateful to count the Hideout as a longtime member and to Tim and Katie Tuten for their service on our Board of Directors.

If you’d like to connect with the Hideout, please call 773-227-4433.

Image credits: The Hideout

Watch the State of Development along the North Branch

On February 18th, North Branch Works brought together developers and real estate brokers for a roundtable discussion about the future of development in our service area along the North Branch.

If you missed the State of Development along the North Branch, you can watch it here. And the power point presentation can be viewed here.

Infrastructure and transportation upgrades for new and existing businesses and the need to support the existing mixed-use environment emerged as major themes during the panel discussion.

Several specific infrastructure projects were discussed including the coming reconstruction of the Division Street Bridge, reinstating CTA Bus service on Elston and Clybourn Avenues, and plans to build a transitway connecting the Central Business District and the North Branch.

Panelists also emphasized the importance of the area continuing to attract new businesses while supporting existing ones to sustain the area as a great place to work and do business.

North Branch Works will continue to fight for our member businesses including industrial businesses, provide timely updates about the development projects featured in the webinar, and push for these crucial infrastructure upgrades.

If you haven’t already, it’s a great time to join North Branch Works as a member. We’ll connect you to grants, information about low-interest business loans, and companies in our network for business-to-business opportunities.

We can also provide customized support for businesses and nonprofits.

To join and with questions, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Join us for the State of Development along the North Branch on Feb. 18

With several major developments in various stages of completion, there’s no doubt the North Branch will continue to grow and evolve as a place to work and do business in the coming years.

We’ve organized a virtual panel discussion with developers who will share the latest updates on their projects to keep our member businesses, supporters, and neighborhood stakeholders informed.

We hope you’ll join us for The State of Development along the North Branch on Feb. 18 from 10-11:30 a.m. This zoom webinar will feature (pictured below from left) Lincoln Yards, the Salt District, Lathrop, Rockwell on the River, and 1308 N. Elston Avenue.

To register at no cost, please go here.

Speakers:

  • Fred Krol, Senior Counsel, Director of Government and Community Relations, Sterling Bay
  • Zack Cupkovic, Investments & Special Projects, R2 Companies
  • Sarah Wick, Vice President, Related Midwest
  • Paul Levy, Rockwell on the River
  • Ari Topper, Managing Director, Baum Realty Group

Moderator:

  • Jonathan Snyder, Executive Director, North Branch Works

               

Learn more about where these projects currently stand and take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions following the panel discussion.

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Shop4Ties succeeds during COVID-19

Running a small business comes with many challenges in the best of times; leading one successfully through a pandemic requires creativity, leadership, and innovation.

And that’s exactly what is happening at Shop4Ties, a woman and family-owned small business in Logan Square that designs, manufactures, and sells ties, scarves, formal wear, face masks and more.

Shop4Ties opened its doors in 1982 when founder Arnie Kapp launched the business in his family’s home just outside of Chicago.

Over the course of thirty-seven years, Shop4Ties has grown from serving hundreds of customers each year to over tens of thousands and built a loyal customer base that includes universities, schools (see below), nonprofits, government agencies, companies and individuals.

Despite this success, the onset of COVID-19 caused a major drop in sales and interrupted the company’s supply chain. For over twenty years, Shop4Ties has partnered with a small manufacturer in Shengzhou, China, which had to abruptly stop production.

Along with the travel ban to and from China, Shop4Ties faced unprecedented challenges in being able to deliver its high-quality custom products to customers.

Fortunately, thanks to the dedicated leadership of CEO Becky Galvez and CFO Rhonda Kapp the company quickly pivoted to selling face masks, recognizing the demand for high quality protective wear.

And this nimble transition has positioned the company for a successful year and allowed it to bring back all nine of its employees in good jobs and support the local economy as the city begins to reopen and recover.

Throughout these challenging times, Shop4Ties has shown its incredible commitment to Chicago. Even with sales down 40% in March, Shop4Ties launched a campaign, Feeding the Frontlines, which to date has raised over $13k from sales of Chicago-themed products—100% of which the company donated to local restaurants who then provided over 900 meals to frontline workers.

And recently Shop4Ties kicked-off the Masks for Change Art Contest, which is open to all children from kindergarten through eighth grade who are invited to design a mask that reflects what anti-racism means to them. Winners will receive 250 custom masks to share with classmates and faculty.

If you and/or your organization have a need for face masks or other custom and brand products, we highly recommend contacting Shop4Ties at 800-998-8437 and www.shop4ties.com.

North Branch Works is a proud neighbor of Shop4Ties in the Green Exchange. And we’re working hard to create a climate that will support Shop4Ties and our members, resulting in strong businesses that can expand, provide family-sustaining jobs, and strengthen communities.

Image credits: Shop4Ties

 

Support Gold Coast Auto Body

If you need a high-quality auto body repair and want to support a family-owned, small business, then you’ll want to take your vehicle to Gold Coast Auto Body located at 900 W. Division St. just west of the Chicago River.

Gold Coast Auto Body has been in operations since 1992 and will celebrate twenty years at its current location in August. The shop specializes in the impeccable repairs of major vehicle brands such as Honda, Acura, Audi, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, and Volkswagen.

Known for providing honest advice, the co-owners, Dominic and Mario Martino, are committed to doing the highest quality work. Unlike other shops, they only use new auto parts to repair vehicles, ensuring the long-term safety of their customers.

They know the positive impact their work has on the lives of customers, the local economy, and broader Chicago region.

And the passion they have for their business is matched by their love of the city and its neighborhoods. Originally from Chicago, they’ve been longtime members of civic organizations like North Branch Works and the Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and LGBT Chambers of Commerce.

Recently, North Branch Works joined Dominic for a tour of the shop (pictured left Gold Coast Auto Body co-owner Dominic Martino and NBW staff Steve Simmons).

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gold Coast Auto Body regularly repaired fifty cars per week and employed around fifty people in jobs that paid family-sustaining wages.

Now more than ever, Gold Coast Auto Body needs work to continue providing high quality service to customers, good jobs to its workers, and support for the local economy as Chicago begins to recover.

Gold Coast Auto Body is currently open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and following all the COVID-19 safety precautions.

The referrals of family, friends and colleagues are greatly appreciated.

With questions and to schedule an appointment, please call 312-787-0333 and visit www.goldcoastautobody.com.