“Let’s slow the traffic down”, “This block needs more parking”, “Increased signage will attract new business”, and “Changing a zoning code is the solution”, are all pieces of feedback that those of us trying to attract business to the Chicago-land area hear on a regular basis.
My opinion – every area has a very different “personality” and attracts a different type of business that may be looking to call Chicago or its surrounding suburbs “home” as it
relocates. Having grown up in Skokie, and then thrown myself into developing a small business, and working closely with elected officials, I’ve discovered how diverse our community really is. While the culture of our residents is fascinating and so inspiring, I am going to focus this post on the business climate.
For a developing business which is interested in a change in scenery, the most intriguing area may be the far northern suburbs of Northbrook, Highland Park, and the higher end residential and shopping districts. For others (and I am personally biased in this direction), they may want to join the re-emerging business districts in Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Evanston. Certainly, a lot of recent NATO attention may attract a relocating entrepreneur to the busy business and shopping districts of the Loop / Chicago led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with it’s new infrastructure investments, and a strong support network in the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. At the far end, we has a diverse south side, home to President Obama, and its many malls, shopping centers, and lower costs of living.
I don’t think that there is any single solution or model we should follow in our focus on economic development. Let’s collect and solicit feedback from the stakeholders, the ones that shop, live, and work in our communities.
I believe that we can come up with the right recipe to attract business and businesses to every area in our community, encompassing all of our business districts. So, if you are thinking of moving your business or considering starting a new enterprise, please consider researching your options. We will find the right spot for you.