May 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,

I hope you are continuing to stay safe and healthy and are doing what you can to make it through this difficult time.

Please make sure to read through this newsletter for a consolidated list of COVID-19 related business resources, upcoming online events, and information about West Town Bingo.

The West Town Chamber is here to support you. Please feel free to email us at if you have any questions. Thank you! ♡


Sara Bemer
Membership Director
West Town Chamber of Commerce
Membership News
Welcome New Members
West Town Bingo
The Chamber recently released West Town Bingo! With this initiative, participants are being encouraged to support any West Town business in our service area (Division to Hubbard, Halsted to Kedzie) all while sheltering in place. Example bingo tiles include "Shop online with a West Town retailer", "Do a virtual West Town workout class", "Buy art from a West Town gallery", etc.

Please help spread the word and share this program on your own social media, so we can get as many residents to participate as possible. Click here for a folder with the bingo card, information on how to play, and accompanying rules. West Town Bingo is happening now through May 31st.
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.
West Town Business Survey: COVID-19 Edition
The Chamber has two surveys that we want to circulate to the business community. Please take one or both by May 3rd if they apply to you.

Survey: Businesses Access to COVID-19 Funding
Have you applied for  or  plan on applying for any COVID-19 related loans, grants, or financing options? If so, please take this survey so we can hear more about that experience:

Survey: Bulk PPE Ordering
The Chamber  may  have the opportunity to purchase PPE items, specifically non-N95 masks and mini bottles of hand sanitizer. If we purchased these items in bulk, would you be interested in buying a smaller quantity that fits your business' needs? If so, please take this survey:
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:
Information on the New Stay at Home Order
Message from Rosa Escareno - BACP Commissioner:

On Thursday, April 23 rd , Governor Pritzker  announced an extension of the Illinois Stay at Home Order to the end of May . Under this extension, there will be important modifications to the Stay at Home Order that will come into effect on May 1 st . These modifications provide increased flexibility for certain businesses and important new guidelines to protect workers and consumers. This email provides an overview of the changes that will become effective May 1 st  and will last through the month of May. Please note that these rules are subject to change- please visit  for updates.

1.   NEW Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
Effective May 1 st , all individuals over the age of two that can medically tolerate face covering will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are:
  • in a public space and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance; or
  • in any indoor public space.

2.   NEW Categories of Businesses Considered Essential
The following businesses will be considered essential and may re-open beginning May 1 st :
  • Animal Grooming Services
  • Greenhouses, Garden Centers and Nurseries
These businesses will be added to the full list of essential businesses under the previous Stay at Home Order, which can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions tab at . All essential businesses must follow the social distancing requirements outlined in number four below.

3.   NEW Permissible Activities for Non-Essential Businesses
Beginning May 1 st , retail stores that are not designated as essential may re-open to fulfill online or telephone orders. These orders must be completed through pick-up outside of the store or through delivery. All non-essential businesses engaged in minimum basic activities such as these must follow the social distancing requirements outlined in number four below.

4.   NEW Requirements for all Businesses to Protect Employees and Consumers
Effective May 1 st , all businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible:
  • Provide employees with face coverings
  • Require that employees wear face coverings in circumstances where they are unable to maintain a six-foot distance at all times
  • Where work circumstances require it, provide additional Personal Protective Equipment
  • Evaluate whether employees are able to work from home
This applies to all essential businesses and non-essential businesses that are engaged in minimum basic operations. These requirements are in addition to existing requirements to designate six-foot distances, have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available, designate separate operating hours for vulnerable populations and post online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility.

5.   New Requirements for Retail Businesses to Protect Employees and Consumers
In addition to the requirements outlined in number four above, all retail businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible beginning on May 1 st:
  • Cap occupancy at 50 percent of store capacity or occupancy limits
  • Set up store aisles to be one-way where practicable
  • Communicate with customers through in-store signage, public service announcements and advertisements about the social distancing requirements
  • Discontinue use of reusable bags

6.   NEW Requirements for Manufacturers to Protect Employees
In addition to the requirements outlined in number four above, all manufacturing businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible beginning on May 1 st:
  • Stagger shifts
  • Reduce line speeds
  • Operate only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines
  • Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing
  • Downsize to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing

Please be advised BACP has been and will continue to enforce the Stay at Home Order. Citations for businesses violating the order, including the social distancing requirements, can range up to $10,000 per offense. The modifications in the new Stay at Home Order are essential to building on the lifesaving progress our State has made over the last month. Thank you for your observance of the Order.
ICYMI - West Town Webinar: Cash Flow Growth & Survival Tactics For COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Thank you to everyone who tuned into last week's webinar with
David Hardin of Cultivate Advisors! Incase you missed it, click here for the power point.

A big THANK YOU to David Hardin for hosting this webinar and for lending his expertise! Please make sure to reach out to David directly if you have any questions, as he is offering free 1-2 hour advising session to the West Town business community (more info below in the "Business to Business Deals" section).
Upcoming Member Meetings
West Town Webinar: Insurance for COVID-19 Business Losses - Maximizing the Chance for Recovery
Wednesday, May 6th
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
via Zoom (Register to obtain meeting info)

  • As you may already know, insurance companies have been denying claims related to the coronavirus. Much of the current debate relates to business interruption insurance.
  • During this webinar, attorney Dan Johnson (Waskowski Johnson Yohalem LLP) will discuss:
  • Key concepts involved (the types of insurance that may respond)
  • Explain some of the points of argument (defenses raised by insurers and counterarguments)
  • Point out things businesses can look for in their insurance policies or in correspondence with their insurers (particular clauses and exclusions in the policies)
  • Cover emerging news (lawsuits filed by business owners against their insurers and proposed legislation in other states).
  • CLICK HERE to register for the webinar.

About the Speaker: 
Dan Johnson is a trial lawyer at Waskowski Johnson Yohalem LLP and represents businesses and individuals in commercial disputes.

Before starting WJY five years ago, Dan was a partner at a 500+ lawyer, international law firm in the global insurance group, representing insurance companies in business insurance coverage disputes with their customers. At WJY, they represent the insurance customers in disputes with the insurance companies.

Dan is also a West Town resident and past President of the East Village Association.
West Town Special Service Area Commissioners Meeting
Thursday, May 7th
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.
Virtual Member Mixer with Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber
Wednesday, May 13th
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
via Zoom (Register for log-in info)

  • Join the West Town Chamber and the Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber for our first ever virtual Joint Member Mixer!
  • Connect with our Wicker Park neighbors to share what is going on with your business as we all support, partner, and connect to get through this together. BYOB, of course.
  • CLICK HERE to register.
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, May 14th
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:
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.
Business to Business Deals - COVID19
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.
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 or email
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.
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.
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
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

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 |