Monday, January 30, 2012

Survey Shows Independent Businesses Boast Strong Holiday Sales

A study from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) found that a sample of independent businesses across America showed higher than average sales growth compared to industry-wide averages over the 2011 holiday season. A report by the institute's Stacy Mitchell indicates that this upward trend might be the results of "growing public interest in supporting locally owned retail stores, banks, restaurants, and other enterprises." The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) was very encouraged to hear the news

One major finding from the survey, over three-quarters of the respondents indicated that "public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses had increased in the last year." This statement indicates that "buying local" might be on the minds of more shoppers moving forward.

While the news supports comments our organizations has received from some Andersonville businesses, BALLE and ILSR do take care to note that Buy Local First campaigns are encouraging, but not exactly causal. However, among independent businesses, the institute concluded that survey results found annual revenues up 7.2% in communities with an active "buy local" campaign. This is compared to a 2.6% increase in annual revenues in areas without an initiative.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Ward Maps Approved

The City Council voted yesterday to approve the new aldermanic ward maps for the City of Chicago. Still containing 50 wards, the new map does spell some changes for Andersonville businesses and residents.

According to the new ward map approved by City Council, the area of Andersonville south of Foster Avenue will undergo quite a few changes when the new boundaries take effect in 2015. Now currently split between the 48th (Osterman), 46th (Cappleman) and 47th (Pawar), the greater Clark Street district south of Foster will now fall within the 47th Ward. It appears that the existing Clark Street split between the 40th and 48th ward north of Foster will remain.

For residents, the blocks south of Foster and east of Clark will almost exclusively fall in the 47th ward while properties west of Ashland and north of Winnemac in Andersonville will join the 40th ward. A small portion of Andersonville between Ashland and Clark north of Carmen becomes part of the 40th as well. This shift in changes to the boundaries south of Foster spreads west as the 40th ward will encompass parts of the Lincoln Square neighborhood, moving south of even Lawrence Avenue in some places.

To see the new ward maps or search for your ward, enter your address at the Tribune's website and compare the new and old maps at

Note: We have experienced some discrepancies with using the map as properties close to boundary lines tend to generate mixed results.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Andersonville Business Participates in Innovative Education Program

Bikram Yoga Andersonville, a locally-owned small business at 5715 N Clark Street, got some great news last week. They were accepted in the 10,000 Small Businesses program, a collaborative small business financing and business education program sponsored by Goldman Sachs through a partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago. The program will provided Bikram owner, Jessica Rask, an opportunity to participate in practical business and management education courses at no cost. As part of the program, participants completing the course work are also given the opportunity and tools needed to access program loans. Jessica has expressed excitement about participating in this program and is confident that it will change her business for the better.

Enrollment for the second cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses is still open. If you own or know a business owner that might benefit from this program, learn more and apply by visiting the 10,000 Small Businesses Chicago website.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A New Year for Andersonville!

Andersonville is very happy to welcome residents, shoppers and all-around Andersonville lovers alike to 2012. In addition to our usual slate of great annual events, shopping and dining, the Andersonville Chamber and the Development Corporation have some new ideas in the works this year. Look for improvements to Green Week that will really get local brew masters bubbling with excitement, much needed additions to our local biking infrastructure and a new benefit to honor all that our local businesses and property owners do to make Andersonville the amazing neighborhood we know and love.

In addition to building on new data from the 2011-2012 Consumer Survey (thank you to the over 1,000 respondents!), our organizations will continue to focus on attracting and retaining Andersonville businesses in 2012. While we were certainly sorry to see some businesses go in 2011, we know that every business has its own story and so we wish past, current and future Andersonville businesses all the best in 2012.  This year promises to bring some new life to Clark Street as major developments like the new Jerry's Sandwiches start to get underway. The commercial district is also abuzz with prospective new tenants ranging from casual restaurants and clothing retailers to theater groups and upscale dining.

A special thanks to all the shoppers, dinners and local residents who took the time to support an Andersonville business in 2011. Already some local businesses have indicated to us that this holiday season was a much needed success for them. We hope that folks will continue to show their support and do their part to shop local. While economic struggles are still an immediate reality, the success Andersonville has seen in overcoming these obstacles is because of the strength and commitment of so many members of our community. As we move forward, let's continue to be positive about the future of our neighborhood, invest in our community and make Andersonville the model of a local, living economy.