Chamber Advantage

November 20th, 2022

'Tis the season of giving thanks and there is no lack of gratitude coming from us, out to you! Thank you to the entire business community for your perseverance, your unbelievable dedication to what you do and for continuing to just show up. Cheers to the start of a fruitful and busy holiday season!

Liz Holt

Executive Director


Being Grateful

Have you taken a moment to read our blog lately? The most recent entry was all about being developing a mind of gratitude, this time for your Chamber, from our Executive Director, to the Staff, to you, the Members.

Your Chamber: a Mecca for Gratitude


November reminds us to be grateful for everything and everyone we have in our lives. Our Chamber is undeniably grateful for everyone affiliated with our organization. Read the latest blog by our Director of Membership, Diane Cranford.


Check out our Holiday Events!

We've gathered all of our holiday parties and events here for you to register for all of them now and get them on your calendar. See you there!

Thursday December 8, 8:30 - 10:00am - Young Professionals Holiday Meetup at Great Sip Cafe

This month is our annual holiday breakfast meetup and white elephant gift exchange! Bring a wrapped gift for the swap. This is your chance to pass along the world's most hideous candle or that singing wiggling fish thing - or if you opt to go classy and buy something, please keep the value under $25. But a singing mechanical fish is way more fun than a chain coffee store gift card, right? ;-)


Friday December 9, 9:00 - 10:30am - December Women in Business WinterFest at The Sheridan

We are thrilled you will be joining us! WIB is closing out 2022 with Anti-Stress WinterFest! Get ready to get your jolly on as we celebrate another successful year of supporting the phenomenal women in the OPRF Chamber. If this time of year has you stressed and feeling disconnected, please join us for a morning of fun, food, laughter, conversation, and raffle prizes. 


Tuesday December 13, 5:00 - 7:00pm - Holiday Business After Hours at Oak Park Bank

It's that time of year again! Join us this year for our annual Holiday Celebration. Our Holiday Business After Hours (BAH) will be hosted by Oak Park Bank. Join us for a night of networking and hors d'oeuvres, and see how they have repurposed this gorgeous space, while making connections for your business or organization! 

Join us to end the year with your amazing business community!


Friday December 16, 12:00 - 12:30pm - Holiday Takeout Stakeout at Betty's Pizza & Pasta

Come join your fellow Chamber members for our first Holiday Takeout Stakeout, at Betty's Pizza & Pasta! In this event, we convene at a designated restaurant to pick up our takeout lunch choices, and get to see each other for a bit while we're at it. Lunch is a flat $16 including tax and tip.


Monday December 19, 5:00 - 6:30pm - BIPOC Affinity Group Holiday Party

Celebrate the holidays with our BIPOC affinity group! We will be gathering at Styles 4 Kidz for some relaxed togetherness to just enjoy the season together. Come connect with Black, Latinx, Asian-American, indigenous peers from the OPRF business and nonprofit community! 


Support Local

Have you purchased your holiday gifts yet?

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday. Support Oak Park & River Forest small businesses by shopping local this holiday season!

Did you know if you spend $100 at a local small business, nearly $50 of those dollars go back to the community to provide vital services such as police and fire, snow removal and more? If you buy at a regional chain store, just $14 comes back - and online shopping brings just $1 to the community!

Plan Your Week!

What is coming up this week?
Check out the events we have put together for you this week.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday November 21, 12:15 - 12:45pm - Meditation Mondays at CrossFunction Flexible Workspace

Join us for the Chamber program aimed at taking care of you, our small business community. Welcome to our monthly Meditation Mondays! All it takes is half an hour (that's only 30 mins!) for us to help you put your to-do list aside, empty your head of all the chatter and truly look after yourself.

We are thrilled to partner with the Kadampa Meditation Center in Oak Park to bring you this monthly meditation.

Plan Your Month!

Want to plan ahead?
Here are some events we have coming up over the next month.
Join us for these wonderful networking opportunities and
continue to grow your business!

Monday November 28, 5:30 - 7:00pm - BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting at Niravadhi Services

We will be gathering at Niravadhi Services to network with other folks from the BIPOC community. Connect with Latinx, Asian-American, Black and Indigenous peers from the OPRF business and nonprofit community! 

Join us to make connections and strengthen your network.


Wednesday November 30, 4:30 - 5:00pm - Ribbon Cutting at Estillos Barber Studio

This time we will be gathering at Estillos Barber Studio, a newer barbershop in Oak Park. They provide a luxury barbershop experience for men for both hair and beard trims.

Come meet the staff, check out their space and enjoy this great networking opportunity!


Friday December 2, 12:00 - 12:30pm - Takeout Stakeout at sweetgreen

Come join your fellow Chamber members for our next Takeout Stakeout, this time at sweetgreen Oak Park! In this event, we convene at a designated restaurant to pick up our takeout lunch choices, and get to see each other for a bit while we're at it. Lunch is a flat $16 including tax and tip. 


Get to know your Board!

Want to learn more about your Board of Directors?

Each month we will be featuring a different Board Member (or two). These features will tell you who they are, what they do, and some fun facts about them. This month we are featuring two, Caroline Heskett & Aracelis Marie Sanchez.

Name: Caroline Heskett

Place of Business: Rush Oak Park Hospital

What does she do?

I’m currently the Program Manager for the Office of Community Health Equity & Engagement at Rush Oak Park Hospital. I get the privilege of collaborating with Rush and our community to carry out the Rush mission of improving the health of the diverse communities we serve. The key to my role is working with community partners to achieve the common goal of health equity for all that live, play, and work in our communities via health initiatives, activities, projects, and programs.

What does she do for fun?

I have the most fun spending quality time with my family. I’ve come to realize it’s not the carefully planned events, get-togethers, vacations, etc. that result in the best times and cherished memories. It’s the day-to-day moments of “joyful chaos” with my husband, three kids, and two dogs that bring me so much happiness.

Why does she love the Chamber?

I love the people of the Chamber – everyone’s enthusiasm and passion centered around community is awesome! We’re all better together and the Chamber does an extraordinary job of cultivating community.

Name: Aracelis Marie Sanchez

Place of Business: Dominican University

What does she do?

I am currently the Manager of Collaborative Organizational Partnerships at Dominican University. Relationships are one of the most important things at DU, and I am tasked with creating new and strengthening existing relationships with communities, businesses and other institutions of higher education. Additionally I am an adjunct instructor in the Sociology Department at DU, and have been teaching for over 4 years. Teaching brings me immense joy – my favorite class to teach is our Sociology of Gender course.  

What does she do for fun?

For fun, I enjoy watching cooking shows and cooking in general. I’m a big Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay fan – and I try to re-create their recipes using their cookbooks. I also love to hang out with my 2 amazing pups – Kobe and Koko. I’m on a mission to travel as much as I can as that’s something I’ve done since I was a teenager. This past year alone I’ve traveled to Dominican Republic, Peru and Mexico. Part of it is fun, and part of it is wanting to see the world and engage with it as a global citizen.

Why does she love the Chamber?

Community is essential to everything in life – it’s essential for human development, for our own individual mental and emotional health, for learning and sharing and for a sense of belonging. I love the chamber because of it’s core commitment to building community and providing space for the business community to gather, break bread and engage with one another. I’m honored to serve on the Board with all of the other amazing directors who see the value in this and strive to make the chamber effective and accessible to all in the Oak Park and River Forest areas.


The co-chairs of the Chamber's Design, Construction & Real Estate group, Matt Johnston and Ray Sahm, want our OPRF neighbors' & residents' recommendations for local tradespeople (i.e. electricians, plumbers, cabinet & countertop installers) and others in the real estate and construction world. We'd like to learn who they've worked with and would recommend. Would you have a look at a survey and just add any names and contact info you can?  

Take the Survey!

There is only one issue of Wellness Wednesday left for this year and you need to register by Dec 1 to get in!

  • December 7, 2022 - "Protect Your Peace: How Not to Kill Your Family or Yourself During Obligatory Gatherings"

Check out this month's edition!

Balanced Boundaries

Healthy Habits When Saying

Yes & No


How do I get involved?

In order for your Health & Wellness business to be featured as a Vendor Sponsor in an edition of the Wellness Wednesdays e-newsletter, you must:

  • be a member in good standing of the OPRF Chamber.
  • have products/services/information specifically related to the monthly topic.
  • sign-up and pay fees at least one week before publication.
  • provide your content materials (name, logo, contact details and text) at least one week before publication.

Only $100 per issue!


Premium Sponsors

Village of Oak Park Proposed Parking Changes Response from the Chamber of Commerce

Over the last month the OPRF Chamber of Commerce has been working to give the business owners of Oak Park a voice at the Village level. There have been proposals to change the parking fees in Oak Park.

Click on the button below to read the full response from the Advocacy Committee of the OPRF Chamber of Commerce.


The Village of Oak Park is proposing parking fee revisions in DTOP, Pleasant, and Hemingway districts to begin in 2023.  The Village board is scheduled to sign a new ordinance on these changes at their November 21st  meeting.  DTOP is requesting to the Village Board that a pause in the decision is needed to allow for a more comprehensive review and study of the proposed parking revisions and an objective review of the economic impact that an increase in the parking rate would have on the local businesses.

Please fill out the short survey to support our position and communicate to the Village board your feelings on these proposed changes to parking fees.


HERE is a link to the presentation that was given by Village staff. If you could not attend please take a minute to look it over. 

The Village staff is not the final decision maker in this proposal so we urge you, if you oppose these changes, to speak during public comment at the next board meeting at Village Hall. 

HERE is the agenda for Monday's Village Board meeting. Parking is Item F, and Public comment will happen when the agenda item is called.

"Public comments are allowed for an agenda item. Persons are asked to email a request to speak during the meeting to no later than 5:00 p.m. prior to the start of the meeting or make a request at the meeting with the Village Clerk."

See below for links to the projected income for parking for 2023:

Estimated 2023 Parking Revenue

Parking Spreadsheet - Parked in Garages

Parking Spreadsheet - Parked On-Street

Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce

143 S Oak Park Avenue


This eBlast was sent out by the OPRF Chamber of Commerce on behalf of a member in good standing as a member benefit. For information about the event described please contact the host. For information about joining the Chamber, click our website below.

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