Chamber Advantage

October 23rd, 2022

We are in the throws of membership month and already our new member numbers are ahead of last year! Join the Chamber before the end of October and tap into your three free months of membership. 

Special shout-out to River Forest businesses. Your Village is still supporting you in your pandemic recovery with a free 6-month membership when you sign-up with the Chamber. Come on board in October and it's the deal of the year - 9 free months of member benefits. Now that's a Village coming together to support you! Don't miss out. Join today!

Liz Holt

Executive Director


Complimentary Membership

Did you know... All businesses in River Forest receive a 6-month complimentary membership?

Beginning in 2022, all River Forest businesses receive a complimentary 6-month membership to the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.

Let the Chamber help you with a range of business needs!

And... since it is membership month, you will also receive an additional 3 FREE months! That is 9 months of Chamber membership, completely free. What are you waiting for? Join this prestigious community today!


If you need a few more reasons to join this month (if 9 months of free membership isn't enough) check out these great blogs our Director of Membership, Diane Cranford, wrote just for you!

Proud to Be a Part

October 19: Best Day of the Year

Or, want to learn more about some of the MANY benefits of membership? Click on the button below to see all of the resources and support you will receive simply by joining!

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 October 24, 5:30 - 7:00pm - BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting at Berkshire Hathaway Home Service

This month we'll be at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, hosted by group member Crystal Rodriguez, Realtor with BHHS' ATM Team. Connect with Latinx, Asian-American, Black and indigenous peers from the OPRF business and nonprofit community! 

Join us to make connections with great folks, and be part of this new group!


Tuesday October 25, 11:45 - 12:45pm - Lunch & Learn at Cucina Paradiso

Struggling to find employees? Looking to make your workplace more inclusive for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)? Curious to learn more? Come to a Free Lunch & Learn at Cucina Paradiso to hear from businesses who have successfully made this decision. 

Learn about the benefits of hiring an employee with IDD and hear from the community supports that are available to your business to support those employees.


Thursday October 27, 6:30 - 8:30pm - Young Professionals host Halloween Trivia Night

The fun is back! The Chamber's Young Professionals are pleased to invite you (young or not, professional or not - no questions asked!) to our annual fundraiser for the Chamber's nonprofit members. This year we'll gather for a trivia night at Good Earth Greenhouse, featuring dinner, drinks, costume contest, trivia, and live auction! Proceeds cover Chamber memberships for participating nonprofits. Join us for pre-Halloween fun! 

This is your last chance to register and join in the fun, while supporting our local nonprofit organizations.

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!

Wednesday November 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm - DCRE Affinity Group Meeting at Mood - The Shoppe

Local interior designer Candy Scott opened Mood - The Shoppe just this year as a unique store in Oak Park, including furniture of her own design, her Recover line of rehabbed furniture, and decor elements from her native South Africa. She welcomes our group to come talk design and enjoy refreshments! 

Plus, get to know the new co-chairs of the Chamber's Design, Construction and Real Estate Affinity Group! Ray Sahm is a home inspector and owner of Sahm Home Services. Matt Johnston is a broker agent in the Oak Park and River Forest areas.


Thursday November 3, 1:00 - 2:00pm - Nonprofit Affinity Group Meeting at Byline Bank

Join the Chamber's Nonprofit Affinity Group in the boardroom of Byline Bank for our monthly gathering, and learn from executive coach Robert Demaree. Robert is the founder of Next Step Leadership Coaching, and has spent more than 20 years helping business owners and leaders as a consultant with Accenture and others. His topic will be "Overcoming Your Immunity to Change." 


Friday November 4, 12:00 - 12:30pm - Takeout Stakeout & Ribbon Cutting at Khyber Pass

Join your fellow Chamber members for our next Takeout Stakeout, this time at Khyber Pass! In this event, we convene at a designated restaurant to pick up our takeout lunch choices, and make and build connections with our colleagues outside for half an hour before we take our lunches back to work.

Plus, we are celebrating their 25th anniversary! (a couple of years late, because... pandemic!)


Tuesday November 8, 5:00 - 7:00pm - Business After Hours at Byline Bank

Join us at our regular monthly networking event! Business After Hours (BAH) occur on the second Tuesday of every month at a new location each time. This is your chance to connect with other members in a more casual setting. All members and non-members are welcomed.

Our November Business After Hours (BAH) will be hosted by Byline Bank at their Oak Park location at 1001 Lake Street. Come check out their beautiful location!


Thursday November 10, 2:00 - 2:30pm - Ribbon Cutting with Real People Realty

This time we'll be at Real People Realty celebrating this new business, taking pictures of the ribbon cutting, and enjoying a great networking opportunity! Check them out to see what they're all about.

Real People Realty is one of our newest realty companies in Oak Park. Their tag line is Real People, Real Service, Real Results. Come meet their team and meet the real people behind this business!


Friday November 11, 9:00 - 10:30pm - Women in Business Affinity Group Meeting at The Sheridan at River Forest

We are thrilled you will be joining us! WIB is continuing our monthly series with Laura Barnard and Lindsay Gaskins of BREAKTHRU Brands. Laura and Lindsay will be sharing their expertise on empowering women to lead people, ideas, and movements with clarity and confidence. We cannot wait! 


Wellness Wednesdays

Share Your Knowledge with the Community!

Welcome back to one of the Chamber's newer projects to help reconnect our member Health & Wellness businesses with clients, customers and community. Wellness Wednesdays is a monthly e-newsletter that focuses on tapping into local expertise to support everyday health and well-being in our community.

Still not quite sure what this is? Check out the Health & Wellness Affinity Group page to see this year's newsletters so far.

Each month there will be one specific topic that is timely and relevant to the community. Planned topics include:

  • November 2, 2022 - "Balanced Boundaries: Healthy Habits When Saying YES & NO"
  • December 7, 2022 - "Protect Your Peace: How Not to Kill Your Family or Yourself During Obligatory Gatherings"
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

BMO Harris will be offering eight $10,000 grants to women-owned businesses that are looking to grow their business.

From their website:

"We’re excited to present the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program, in collaboration with Deloitte. Eight women-owned businesses each will be receiving a $10,000 grant to take their businesses to the next level.

We’re looking for women business owners who are motivated by growth and change and are excited to break barriers to achieve success. We recognize that access to funding and capital is a challenge that women business owners often face. BMO is committed to investing in and supporting women-owned businesses and has honored over 215 women since 2012.

The BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program will assess applicants based on their high-level business growth plans. Any type of business growth will be considered whether expanding into a new market or creating a new product/service."


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, Pam Dass & Heidi Ruehle.

Name: Pam Dass

Place of Business: Forest Park Bank

What does she do?

I am a Branch Manager for Forest Park Bank. I assist my customers with their banking transactions and their financial needs, and provide exceptional customer service.

What does she do for fun?

I like to do a lot of things. Going to movies, having a glass of wine a with group of friends, listening to some good music, cooking, reading books especially mystery novels, volunteer at my church activities, spending time with my family and many other things.

Why does she love the Chamber?

I think the Chamber is the heart of the community. I joined the Chamber during the pandemic. I have seen how our Chamber worked to help businesses stay in business through their financial hardships and support local businesses through connections, networking and new ideas for business growth.

Name: Heidi Ruehle

Place of Business: Unity Temple Restoration Foundation

What does she do?

Since 2018 I have served as the Executive Director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. We are a small but mighty organization, so I tend to wear many hats on any particular day. My primary responsibility is fundraising for the long-term preservation of Unity Temple, but the day-to-day tasks of grant writing, marketing, bookkeeping, program development, and project management take up a lot of my time. I love Unity Temple and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in general, and this position has given me the opportunity to connect with other Wright sites across the country as well as promoting tourism and the arts locally.

What does she do for fun?

I love to travel and spend time with my family, but when I need time to myself I enjoy taking hikes through nature. Last year I completed a 52 Hike Challenge (one hike per week for a year) and am now walking my way through a 100 Hike Challenge. The Chicagoland area has an abundance of hiking trails, but I wish we had mountains too!

Why does she love the Chamber?

Being on the Board of the Chamber has been a great experience and has provided the opportunity to get to know local business owners and community leaders. I've enjoyed networking at the many events while building awareness of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. With the chamber there is truly something for everyone!

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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