Tag: support local

KOVAL Distillery opens new tasting room and patio

Last week, KOVAL Distillery announced the opening of its much-anticipated tasting room and patio.

These modern spaces offer a dynamic experience for craft spirit enthusiasts, adding to KOVAL’s incredible lineup of tours, classes, events, and store.

Located inside KOVAL’s distillery at 4241 N. Ravenswood Avenue, the tasting room (pictured above) reflects a combination of the co-founders’ Central European heritage and partnerships with Chicago-area makers.

The menu features a mix of classic cocktails and imaginative originals such as KOVAL Bourbon, Dry Gin, liqueurs, fruit brandies, and limited edition releases.

KOVAL only uses the “heart cut of the distillate,” making its products stand out due their clean taste.

Along with cocktails, a variety of perfect pairs (KOVAL spirits combined with bite-sized treats), flights, light food, and international coffee drinks will be available. To see a full menu, please go here.

The opening of KOVAL’s tasting room (see bar below right) is another major accomplishment for the business whose co-founders, Dr. Robert Birnecker and Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, overcame significant hurdles when starting the company in 2008.

KOVAL is a great example of how manufacturing has pivoted from large companies to smaller neighborhood businesses that provide high-quality jobs without requiring advanced degrees.

The company’s continued growth and success highlights the valuable role that manufacturing plays in Chicago. It’s timely that KOVAL’s tasting room and patio opened during Manufacturing Month.

North Branch Works is proud to advocate for policies and programs that strengthen local manufacturers like KOVAL.

Our members and supporters can help KOVAL by visiting the new tasting room, suggesting venues carry KOVAL products if they don’t already, and purchasing its products.

To participate in on-site activities, KOVAL requires all visitors to be vaccinated and masked.

KOVAL’s tasting room is open Tuesday-Friday from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 12-10 p.m. The adjoining patio (see below) will be open for seating as long as the Chicago weather allows.

To learn more about KOVAL Distillery and its co-founders, please see this member profile.

North Branch Works would like to recognize Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart for her dedicated service on our Board of Directors.

With questions and to connect with KOVAL, please reach out to: info@koval-distillery.com

Image credits: KOVAL Distillery

Sign up for North Branch Works’ Fall Gala on Oct. 21st

Join us at the Hideout for our Fall Gala on Oct. 21st from 5-7 p.m. Please sign up here.

Our program includes live music from the Lawrence Peters Outfit, food from Calihan Catering, drinks, and opportunities to network.

We’re excited to hear remarks from Tim Tuten, President of the Hideout,  Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Tammy Phillips, President and CEO of Howe Corporation, and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd Ward).

The event will be held outdoors on the Hideout’s front porch. In the event of inclement weather and/or a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Fall Gala will be streamed via Facebook Live.

We hope you can join us in-person to celebrate our businesses, partners, and the North Branch as a great place to work and do business.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend the Fall Gala. Masks must be worn indoors per state and local regulations.

If you are unable to attend, please consider making a donation. Proceeds support our economic and community development work.

With questions, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, at 773-929-5552 x2226 or steve@northbranchworks.org

Image credit: Hideout Chicago

     

 

         

Bike the North Branch celebrates local businesses

Around thirty-five people joined us in early August for a bike tour that promoted neighborhood economic development, including visits to several of our dynamic member businesses.

The ride began with a tour of the Morton Salt redevelopment project at 1357 N Elston Avenue (pictured above) commonly known as the Salt District.

Led by developer R2 Companies, the so-called Salt District is expected to be completed in 2022 and will turn the well-known 4.25 acre site into a mixed-use office, retail, and entertainment complex.

Next, we visited the Hideout Chicago, a family-owned business, beloved bar, and live music venue located at 1354 W. Wabansia Avenue. Owner Tim Tuten (pictured below right) talked about the Hideout’s long history of supporting industrial businesses and prominent musicians who’ve come through the Hideout.

By the way, the Hideout currently offers live music and programs outdoors on its front porch. You can support the business by purchasing tickets and merchandise from its online store.

The Hideout tentatively plans to welcome people back indoors in October.

After visiting the Hideout, we traveled north along Elston Avenue passing Horween Leather Company, a tannery that produces all of the footballs used by the National Football League.

Taking Elston Avenue all the way to Rockwell Street and then turning right, we visited Guild Row (see below left), a social club that connects creative and civic minded people. Our stop included a tour of the company’s event space, full-size kitchen and member lounge.

Following Guild Row, we traveled a short distance to see Rockwell on the River, a dynamic craft foods and events space on the North Branch of the Chicago River.

Rockwell on the River (pictured below right) is home to many well-known businesses such as Metropolitan Brewing, Metropolis Coffee, Wateriders Kayaks, Chicago Electric Boat Company, and Judson and Moore Distillery.

The final stop on the bike tour was Ravinia Brewing Company’s new taproom in Logan Square located at 2601 W Diversey Avenue.

We enjoyed Ravinia Brewing’s (see below left) outdoor beer garden as well as its innovative beers and hand-made Mexican Street fare.

North Branch Works would like to thank everyone who rode with us and our partners for a successful inaugural Bike the North Branch.

They include Active Transportation Alliance, North River Commission, and the North Branch Trail Alliance of Greater Chicago.

We’d also like to thank our member businesses including R2 Companies, the Hideout, Guild Row, Rockwell on the River, and Ravinia Brewing Company.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to explore the North Branch with us.

Image credits: Jim O’Reilly

SR Solutions Inc. joins North Branch Works

A family-owned construction business, SR Solutions Inc. helps commercial and residential clients improve their quality of life by completing projects using high-quality sustainable materials.

Located in North Center, the company offers a wide range of full interior remodeling services including customizing offices, small restaurant spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

For over twenty-two years, the owner, Stoyan Rizov (pictured above with NBW staff Steve Simmons), has completed incredible remodeling projects using reclaimed materials across the Chicago region from Northbrook to the South Loop.

His company grew out of his passion for the building trades at an early age. Because he grew up in an artistic family, it was natural for the company to combine high-quality craftsmanship with innovative design services.

As someone who loves the City of Chicago, Stoyan prides himself on providing customers with honest advice and helping them make the best choices according to their needs. He knows his customers are counting on him to pay close attention to details and complete the project on budget.

Indeed, the company has never received a complaint from a client in its fourteen-year history.

SR Solutions can repair masonry, remove pesticides and mold, fix leaky faucets, install doors, and fix or replace HVAC building systems. There’s really no project that is too big or small for the company.

Hiring SR Solutions for your project is a great way to support a local family-owned business and jobs along the North Branch. In order to complete larger projects, the company partners with window crews, demolition teams, designers, and a kitchen cabinet company.

In a typical year, SR Solutions finishes between twenty to twenty-five projects because the business prioritizes carrying out high-quality work over doing a large volume of projects. And usually that focus results in the company completing about two projects per month.

Currently, SR Solutions is hiring skilled remodelers and general laborers. If you or someone in your network would like to find out more information and apply, please call 773-799-6560.

North Branch Works is thrilled to welcome SR Solutions as a new member business.  If you’ve been thinking about and/or putting off a repair project, we highly recommend making an appointment with SR Solutions Inc.

We would also like to recognize Marina Rizova, Designer and Sustainability Director, for her leadership and service on our Board of Directors.

Stoyan Rizov would like to network with his fellow North Branch Works members. With questions and to reach out to him, please call 773-799-6560.

Image credits: SR Solutions Inc.

Howe Corporation preserving our food supply chain

Seeing a need for innovation in the refrigeration industry, William Henry Howe founded Howe Corporation in Chicago in 1912, designing equipment that popularized the use of “artificial ice.”

Today, Howe Corporation is a fourth generation, woman-owned business that manufactures and sells refrigeration equipment at its facility located at 1650 N. Elston Avenue. The company produces approximately 1,000 units in a typical year; they range in daily ice production from 1,000 to 20,000 lbs.

Along with being highly productive, these machines are environmentally sustainable, a core value of Howe Corporation. With proper maintenance, the company’s ice flaker machines (see below right) can last over 10 years in the retail supermarket and over 20 years in the industrial food processing market.

Energy Star recognized Howe Corporation’s commitment to the environment, presenting the company with a 2019 Excellence in Design Award and Partner of the Year Award for 2020 & 2021. Many of the company’s ice flaker machines have been Energy Star certified.

It’s ideal to use flake ice to preserve food because it has the most surface area contact of any form of ice and provides the greatest cooling capacity. Flake ice easily molds around the product to cool even more efficiently.

Customers use #HoweIce to preserve food along every step in the supply chain from field to table and sea to plate. And having a safe and reliable food supply chain has been incredibly important during the pandemic.

Howe Corporation prides itself on providing high quality customer service and has built many long-term relationships with clients, some of whom have been customers for over thirty years. With export offices in Costa Rica and Mexico, the company is well-known in Latin America.

Some of Howe Corporation’s high-profile clients include Whole Foods, Panera Bread, Wegmans, Concool, and the Seattle Fish Company. And you can find Howe’s machines in over fifty of the top one-hundred supermarket chains in the U.S. and over 100 countries globally.

The company’s product line includes ice flaker machines, condensing units, ice storage bins, filtration systems and accessories. Howe Corporation is a great example of how manufacturing continues to thrive in Chicago and has pivoted from large companies to mid-size and smaller firms.

Currently, Howe Corporation employs a workforce of thirty people in high quality jobs–many of which do not require an advanced degree. And by participating in the City of Chicago’s TIF 50/50 pilot program last year, Howe Corporation was able to hire during the pandemic as well as upgrade the skills of its incumbent workers.

The company’s strong commitment to the Chicago region is reflected in its support of area organizations. In addition to being a member of North Branch Works, the President of Howe Corporation serves as the Board Chair for Jane Adams Resource Corporation (JARC), a provider of high-quality skills training and support services to low-income and unemployed Chicagoans.

Howe Corporation is WBE certified and obtained its Women-Owned Small Business certification (WOSB) from the federal government. This designation will help the company continue to break down barriers within the refrigeration and cooling industry, apply for federal contracts, and connect with other businesses seeking to diversify their supply chains.

Please support Howe Corporation by following and liking the company on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

To connect with Howe Corporation, please reach out to: howeinfo@howecorp.com

Image credits: Howe Corporation

Vision One Agency helps businesses & nonprofits tell unforgettable stories

After attending film school at Columbia College Chicago, Will Sullivan (pictured above middle) spent seven years working in various video ad productions, developing incredible marketing and communications skills in the process.

Now, as the owner and co-founder of Vision One Agency, he applies his passion for filmmaking by helping businesses and nonprofits elevate their brands through powerful storytelling.

Founded in March of 2020, Vision One Agency is a creative video agency that serves a wide range of clients in key markets of Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The company specializes in commercials, documentaries, social videos, stop motion animation, and short films.

The business overcame the challenges of opening right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by stringing together a series of small projects designed to help restaurants and neighborhood businesses.

Regardless of where you find yourself in the creative process, Vision One Agency will tailor its approach to meet your needs. Indeed, the business prides itself on being able to help clients come up with innovative ideas and carry them through every stage of the production process with careful attention to details.

Vision One Agency’s dedicated and talented staff has expertise in video production, writing, editing, acting, and animation. Based in Bucktown, Will and his team are invested in the success of Chicago’s small and industrial businesses, nonprofits, and neighborhoods.

Some of Vision One Agency’s recent clients include Cresco Labs, Waterton Real Estate, Remy Martin, Coda di Volpe, and North Branch Works (to name a few).

It’s a great time to partner with Vision One Agency given the importance of hosting virtual events, they can assist in producing great storytelling content for your live streams, web, and social.

In fact, North Branch Works hired the company to produce video features of our members for our first-ever Fall Fundraiser.

Please see these incredible video features of North Branch Works and our members: Metropolitan Brewing, mHub Chicago, and Guild Row.

In our case, we had a talented interviewer and three member businesses lined up; Vision One Agency helped us with the production and editing of these videos as well as thinking through our virtual program.

North Branch Works is thrilled to welcome Vision One Agency as one of our newest member businesses. The company is the only video production agency in our network; we highly recommend working with Will and his team.

Vision One Agency would love to network with and support its fellow North Branch Works member businesses and nonprofits. The business is open to working with organizations that have limited budgets.

To see its latest projects, please follow the company on Instagram and Facebook.

To connect with Vision One Agency, please reach out to Will Sullivan, Co-Founder, 312-566-8534, will@v1a.co.

Image credits: Vision One Agency

Calihan Catering receives $150k Business Interruption Grant

During a year of unprecedented challenges for businesses, North Branch Works has worked hard to identify and connect our members with local, city, state and federal grant opportunities.

Recently, we were thrilled to learn that Calihan Catering, a multi-generational family business on Goose Island with a thirty-five year history, received a $150k Business Interruption Grant (BIG) from the State of Illinois.

Along with this grant, Calihan Catering’s adjoining event space and sister business, Gallery 1028, obtained a $15k Business interruption Grant, raising the total amount of support to $165k.

It’s great news given that Calihan Catering’s business model is based upon large events bringing together between two and five thousand people and not easily adaptable to the current circumstances. This support is incredibly valuable given the uncertainty facing local businesses in the events space in planning for 2021.

Prior to the pandemic, Calihan Catering employed 176 people in high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages. Although the business has been operating at 15% capacity, it’s expected these resources will help the business survive the worst of COVID-19.

Much like the assistance we provided to our members during the first round of the BIG program, we evaluated the criteria for the second round of BIG funding, determined the business was eligible, and encouraged Calihan Catering to pursue it. And like many of our member businesses, Calihan Catering promptly applied, resulting in a successful receipt of these grant awards.

The success of Calihan Catering’s application is a great example of the value in being part of North Branch Works’ network of member businesses and nonprofits as we regularly provide this type of assistance to our members.

We understand running a business requires your full attention and would love nothing more than to add value by advocating for your business needs, connecting you to city programs, helping you secure financial resources, and introducing you to fellow members for business opportunities that encourage local spending.

And while these grants will help Calihan Catering navigate the pandemic, there remains a need for regular business. If you’d like to experience Calihan Catering’s dynamic food, please contact Nash Calihan and his team at 312-587-3553, nash@calihancatering.com.

Let’s continue to support local businesses whenever possible in the North Branch community.

To join North Branch Works as a member, please contact Steve Simmons, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Image credits: Calihan Catering

Rockwell on the River hosts Logan Square Farmers Market starting Dec. 13

In a major win for neighborhood economic development along the North Branch, the Logan Square Farmers Market will relocate for the winter to Rockwell on the River in Avondale, opening for business on Sunday, Dec. 13th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Farmers Market will operate from this location on Sundays until March 28, 2021 and follow strict COVID-19 protocols such as requiring masks and social distancing.

Rockwell on the River is located about a mile from Logan Square on Rockwell Street in between Belmont and Elston Avenues and accessible via the CTA #76 Diversey and CTA #77 Belmont buses.

Because Rockwell on the River generously provided two warehouses (3029 and 3031 N. Rockwell Street), you can take comfort knowing the space has over 17,000 square feet for vendors and customers to safely spread out.

And if you go, please keep in mind that the first hour (9-10 a.m.) is reserved for shoppers with high-risk.

North Branch Works is thrilled to welcome the Logan Square Farmers Market to our service area. It’s a great example of the opportunities we regularly identify and pursue for our business and nonprofit members and our work to promote spending at locally owned neighborhood businesses whenever possible.

In this case, we already happen to partner closely with the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce and Rockwell on the River, a dedicated North Branch Works member. Upon learning the Farmers Market needed a new space for the winter, we connected these two incredible organizations leading up to this exciting news.

We highly recommend visiting Rockwell on the River before and/or after going to the Farmers Market. A dynamic food and events destination, Rockwell on the River is home to many wonderful family-owned businesses such as Metropolitan Brewing, Metropolis Coffee, and Judson and Moore Distillery.

And by going for a short walk north on Rockwell Street, you can easily stop by businesses such as Guild Row Chicago, Bash Sports Academy, and the Alley Chicago. Please visit and support these businesses.

It’s exciting the Logan Square Farmers Market is coming to such a growing and thriving part of Avondale. We see this development as an incredible opportunity for existing businesses and the Logan Square Farmers Market to successfully grow their businesses.

And these types of partnerships support our vision for the North Branch of the Chicago River, which would bring many benefits to the city including thriving businesses, high-quality jobs, and sustainable economic development.