June 2020
Chamber Member Newsletter
Your source for upcoming West Town Chamber meetings, events, business district news and information on chamber programs geared to support your business.
Hello West Town Businesses,

As demonstrations continue throughout the city and across the globe, the safety and wellbeing of our neighborhood businesses and community is of paramount priority. With reports of looting beginning to surface in West Town, know that we can share your emergency contact information with our designated Business Liaison officer. If you’d like us to pass on alternate forms of contact info on behalf of you and your business, please email us at: info@westtownchamber.org.

Additionally, we’ve been asked by the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to collect and report data on non-life threatening incidents in efforts to free up the 911 system for life-threatening emergencies. If your business is a target of looting, damage, or vandalism, we ask that you email the Chamber directly at info@westtownchamber.org. We will then forward this information to the BACP, which is coordinating response efforts to crimes like these. In your email please include the address of the incident, emergency contact information, along with photos of the damage (if you have them).

If a life threatening crime is in progress, report to 911.
If you are interested in boarding your business, please find resources below:
  • Cook County Board Up: 708-389-3889
  • Chicago Board Up Service: 773-338-2500
  • Rapid Board Up: 773-997-8770
  • A Quality Board Up Services: 773-202-8700
  • Triple A All County Board Up: 773-233-4900
  • Busy Bee Board Up: 773-501-7705
  • Tri-County Board Up: 708-800-6672

For businesses located in the West Town SSA,  click here  to learn more about the SSA's  NEW  Emergency Board Up Grant!

We’d also like to remind you all of the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew put in place for the city of Chicago, which will last indefinitely. Please stay safe and don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions. We are here for you. ♡


Sara Bemer
Membership Director
West Town Chamber of Commerce
Membership News
Welcome New Members
West Town Chamber Membership Dues - 3 Month Extension
The Chamber’s success is interwoven with the overall success of the West Town business community, so whatever we go through - we are all in it together. If this would have been the time to renew your West Town Chamber Membership, we do not feel right about collecting payment from our businesses during this tough economic time. Between employee layoffs and temporary closures, Chamber Membership renewal likely is the last thing on many people’s minds (and understandably so).

That being said, we are deferring all Membership renewal payments for three (3) months. You will be receiving an invoice for your records, but by no means are we seeking immediate payment. Please email Sara if you have any questions.
Chamber Members Only Facebook Group
Join our Chamber Members Only Facebook Group !

Our goal is that this will be an effective forum for communication among you--the Members of the West Town Chamber. COVID-19 updates, webinars, and fact sheets sent to us by various other agencies and government entities are posted here every day .

We know you are busy! Please use this place to communicate with your fellow West Town business owners ! We will also be posting up to date info in the group and reminding you of events coming up. Make sure you fill out the Membership Questions when requesting to join the group, so we know which business you are representing.
Business Resources - COVID19
Summary of COVID-19 Small Business Financial Resources
If your email inbox has been anything like ours, it seems like every day there are hundreds of messages coming in of new COVID-19 related grant opportunities, loan criteria, webinars, and safety guidelines!

The Chamber has taken all of this information and put it in one document, available here. We will be updating this document in real-time, so make sure to continue to check it for the latest information and resources.
BACP Business Education Workshops Webinars
The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection’s FREE business education workshops are now available as webinars! To register, visit: chicago.gov/businessworkshops
Phase III Cautiously Reopen: Industry Guidelines for Reopening
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that Chicago is on track to transition to phase three of the “Protecting Chicago” framework and will begin reopening on Wednesday, June 3.

These guidelines are part of the city’s Be Safe Chicago framework that will be used to guide Chicago’s reopening process amid COVID-19.

Within Phase III, the following industries are opening first with specific safety guidelines:
  • Childcare centers and family childcare
  • Non-lakefront parks (no contact sports)
  • Libraries and other city services
  • Office-based jobs, professional services, and real estate services
  • Hotels / lodging
  • Outdoor attractions (e.g., boating – not including the Playpen, non-Lakefront golf courses)
  • Non-essential retail
  • Personal services (e.g., hair/nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors)
  • Restaurants and coffee shops (outdoor dining only)
  • Manufacturing, construction, and warehousing
  • Hospitals, dentists, community mental health centers, and Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Public transit, regional transit, taxis and rideshare
  • Gyms (outdoor and 1:1 personal training only)

For up-to-date information, visit: www.chicago.gov/reopening
Chicago PPE Market
The City of Chicago's Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Market, powered by Rheaply, provides small businesses, community-based organizations, and not-for-profits a streamlined way to secure affordable supplies from verified sources.

Buyer registration is now open. Register for the Chicago PPE Market and then check your email for a link to access the online platform. The PPE Market provides Chicago's small businesses, community-based organizations, and not-for-profits with transparent pricing and direct access to local PPE suppliers. Organizations can purchase PPE in three steps:

  • Browse available listings for reusable face coverings, hand sanitizer, and protective shields
  • Request to purchase specific PPE based on your desired quantity and the advertised price
  • Communicate directly with the supplier through the in-platform messaging feature to agree on payment and pick-up or delivery details

For more information, visit: https://www.chicagoppemarket.com
ICYMI - West Town Webinar: Insurance for COVID-19 Business Losses & Maximizing the Chance for Recovery
Thank you to everyone who tuned into the May 6th webinar with attorney Dan Johnson (Waskowski Johnson Yohalem LLP). In case you missed it, click here for the power point. A big THANK YOU to Dan Johnson for hosting this webinar and for lending his expertise!
ICYMI - 1st Ward Small Business Town Hall
In case you missed it, you can watch 1st Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata's recent Small Business Town Hall with State Rep. Delia Ramirez (4th District), our very own Kara Salgado (Chamber Exec. Director), and small business owner, Rebecca George (Co-Owner Volumes Bookcafe) here.
Upcoming Member Meetings
West Town Special Service Area Commissioners Meeting
Thursday, June 4th
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
via Zoom (Contact Kace Wakem for meeting info)

  • We encourage stakeholders and interested community members to attend. The Open Meetings Act requires SSA meetings to be open to the public.
  • The Commissioners are all stakeholders and they exclusively vote on West Town SSA programs and budgets. Commission meeting minutes, SSA budgets, and SSA work plans can be found on the SSA website under the "Transparency" tab.
West Town Webinar: Sell Digitally - How To Maximize Your Businesses' Online Presence During COVID
Tuesday, June 9th
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
via Zoom (RSVP for meeting info)

Join Chamber Member Gregory Perrine ( eGuide Tech Allies) for this webinar all about pivoting to update your website and what you can to maximize your businesses' online presence!

Topics to Discuss:
  • Where are you engaging with your Audience?
  • Discuss how to funnel users into a digital marketplace
  • Overview of Various Market Places
  • Website eCommerce (the difference between Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, & WooCommerce/Wordpress)
  • Merchant Driven Platforms (Square / Shift4)
  • Funnel Feeders (Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook Shop, Instagram Products)

Questions to Answer:
  • Where are you going to sell? 
  • How are you going to get the message out?
  • How are you going to process payment?
  • What does the user experience look like?
  • How much revenue am I projecting to generate?
  • Do I want to advertise?

And more! Email Membership Director Sara Bemer with any questions you'd like to be covered during this presentation.

Click here to RSVP and the Zoom meeting information will be emailed to you.
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, June 11th
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
via Zoom

  • Monthly Chamber of Commerce Board of Director meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month with committee reports and agenda items approved by Board President.
  • It is a closed meeting for the Board of Directors.
  • If interested in joining the Board, a Chamber Committee, or introducing an agenda item please contact: sbemer@westtownchamber.org
Summer Festival 2020 Cancellation Announcement
Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, the West Town Chamber's Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the following 2020 summer festivals: Do Division Street Fest, West Fest Chicago, and Chicago Brewing District’s Dancing in the Streets.

The health and safety of the community, festival patrons, vendors, performers, and everyone who works to put these events together is of paramount importance to our organization. The Chamber looks forward to bringing back our summer events when it is safe to do so. The 2020 fall and winter West Town Chamber events are still being planned as scheduled until future safety guidelines are released.

We will be sharing additional plans for 2020 virtual and digital fest programming and promotions soon. @dodivisionstreetfest @westfestchicago @dancinginthestreetschi

To read the full statement about these festival cancellations, click here.
Virtual Summer Festivals
Do Division Virtual Street Fest - POSTPONED
**This virtual event has been postponed. New dates TBA.**
June 3rd to June 10th

  • Do Division 2020 has gone VIRTUAL! Join us for #DoDivisionAtHome, a week-long virtual event.
  • Enjoy special promotions and programming from your favorite #WestTownChicago retailers and restaurants, live music streams courtesy of Empty Bottle and Subterranean, virtual Chicago Fashion Fest fun and so much more.
Business to Business Deals - COVID19
Candice C. Cusic Photography- Complimentary Portraits of West Town Business Owners
Candice C. Cusic Photography has started "Save Local Businesses: West Town." Her goal for this project is to photograph (from a distance) local West Town business owners in front of their shops, share their stories, and provide a face behind their closed doors and dark windows.

If you want to participate in this project and receive a complimentary photo from Candice, along with a social media post highlighting your story and business during this difficult time, please sign up here. We will be sharing these posts and your stories on our West Town Chicago social media pages as well.

Chris Hunt, owner of Seek Vintage, is her first featured post.
David Hardin - Cultivate Advisors
In response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, Chicago-headquartered small business advising firm, Cultivate Advisors, is offering free 1 and 2 hour advising sessions to help business owners navigate through the next 30-60 days.

As experts in partnering with small business owners 1:1 to weather these kinds of storms, Cultivate Advisors can help you manage cash flow and find innovative ways to survive and then thrive in the next few months.

Email David to get your free advising session scheduled today.
Fulton Street Collective - heART Support
Fulton Street Collective's heART Support is designed to shine an artistic light on local businesses with an emphasis on both promotion and artistic creativity.

For their Chalk Sketching program, Fulton Street Collective (FSC) will send one or two of our artists out to local bars/restaurants who are trying to stay financially afloat with delivery and take-out during this difficult time. Chalk murals are made on the sidewalk directly in front of the business in order to garner attention and present an impactful message of inspiration and assurance, with a unique endorsement.

It is FSC’s hope that shining a creative spotlight on prospective businesses will increase attention and sales.

The cost for this is free. It is FSC’s way to support the community through a grass-roots endeavor.

If you would like FSC’s heART Support at your business, please email info@fultonstreetcollective.com.
Groundlift Media
Ground Lift Media's "Digital Marketing Consults" program was created to support local businesses/creatives with their customer outreach and online marketing needs during the quarantine. We understand that just keeping the 'doors open' is the main focus for many, but we hope to offer a path towards growth during the slowdown.

For this program, Ground Lift Media will consult with members of your team on best practices for efficient Facebook / Instagram ads placement, ways to inspire customer interaction from afar, how to leverage your available communication channels and website for maximum effect, and we'll also review methods for pivoting brand strategies during these difficult times.

The cost of this is FREE. We want to see our neighborhood come back to life, and this is our way of supporting the local business community!

If you would like to schedule a consultation for your business, please visit http://groundliftmedia.com or email n.ridgeway@groundliftmedia.com.
Michele Taylor Photography
Michele Taylor Photography is offering her services free of charge for anyone that would need visual imagery for their websites, social media, blogs, marketing collateral, etc!

To set up an appointment, you can contact Michele here.
SSA Updates
Grants Opportunities
The SSA has four grant opportunities, open year round, that you can take advantage of if you are located in the West Town SSA! They are available until the money runs out:

Please take a look at the applications by clicking on the grant you are interested in. If you would like to discuss the program or have any questions regarding the applications, please contact SSA Program Director, Kace Wakem at KWakem@westtownchamber.org.

Neighborhood News
Neighborhood Association Meetings
There are several highly active neighborhood associations within West Town that meet regularly and would love to have representatives from local businesses attend! Their contact info is in the links below so reach out, attend an upcoming meeting, and introduce yourself and your business.

Special THANKS to Our Community Partner & Community Champion Chamber Members!
About Us
2020 Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Lesley Timpe, Squasht Boutique - President
Evan Muellner, Pie-Eyed Pizzeria - Vice President
Julia Skuibida, American Family Insurance - Secretary
Greg Whipple, American Eagle Bank - Treasurer
Jen Brown, Hangout Lighting - Director
Victoria Kolar, Soundscape Studios - Director
Joe Lauer, Penelope's - Director
Karen Woodbury, The Superior Street Center for the Arts - Director

2020 West Town SSA Commissioners

Michael Van Dam, Residential Property Owner
Chris Hunt , Seek Vintage
Jenny Rossignuolo , Urban Source 
Steven Tobiason , Epic Spices
Sara Dulkin, Chicago Truborn
Adam Williams, Reach Fieldhouse
Candice Cusic, Candice C. Cusic Photography
Nora McCarthy, Gallery 2052

2020 West Town Chamber of Commerce Staff

Kara Salgado, Executive Director
Susan Aldous, Operations Director
Kace Wakem, SSA Program Director
Sara Bemer, Membership Director
Deana Martin, Bookkeeper
Click here for the full West Town Chamber Member Directory 
West Town Chamber of Commerce | 1819 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago IL 60622 | 312-850-9390 info@westtownchamber.org | www.westtownchamber.org