Old Town Merchants and Residents Association
October 2020 Newsletter
In this Issue:
  • Message from the Executive Director
  • OTMRA September Events Recap
  • Retail Solutions with Amy Meadows: October 6
  • October 11-18: LiveWell Week
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Training with Taft Law - October 20
  • Holiday Decorations Rebate Program
  • Support the OTMRA through Old Town Face Masks
  • Only in Old Town Video Series
  • Back to Work Safely Guidelines
  • Membership Information
Message from
the Executive Director
Autumn in Old Town is always a scenic sight on Wells Street. While we are all taking precautions, we invite you to join us on Wells Street to SAFELY shop at our businesses and visit your friends. The Old Town Merchants and Residents Association is absolutely committed to ensuring that our businesses are doing all that they can to keep your safety in mind. We encourage our members to self-certify through the Be Safe Chicago test and for our businesses to also take advantage of SSA 48's Health and Sanitation rebate program.

While you are out and about in Old Town, don't forget to partake in LiveWell Week this year! More than ever, ensuring that you are in good health is a priority. Old Town's health and wellness businesses are excited to help you out. Check out the many deals being offered by our members as well as a socially distanced, outdoor Crunch N Brunch event!

Sincerely,

Ian M. Tobin
Executive Director
Events Recap: September
Throughout September, the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association continued to foster connections between businesses and residents.

To provide Old Town residents with a safe way to support the OTMRA, we introduced Old Town Face Masks, available for purchase here.

The OTMRA hosted the next installment in the series of Elected Official Panel webinars on September 18th. Attendees submitted questions and received legislative updates from 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer.

Finally, the OTMRA finished the month with the Old Town Neighborhood Cleanup. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Old Town Cleanup this weekend, especially Lincoln Park Community Services, Youth for a Better Future, Bob's Pizza, and Kapéj Coffee! We appreciate everyone who generously donated their Saturday morning to help beautify Old Town - we made a huge difference in the community! Participants generously donated their Saturday morning to help beautify Old Town. Thank you to everyone who participated -- we made a huge difference in the community!

During this time, the OTMRA also wants to be a resource for businesses and residents in the neighborhood. OTMRA staff created guides to connect people with resources available to the neighborhood. Click to access the Small Business Guide and the Resident Guide.

Retail Solutions with
Amy Meadows: 10/6
As our “new normal” continues to evolve, retailers are tasked with shifts in shopping behaviors, changing safety precautions and customer needs. Let’s look at ways to implement changes while maintaining your customer base and brand excellence.

After 25 years as head of Marshall Field’s/Macy’s Window Display department, Amy Meadows is uniquely suited to bring retail design solutions from State Street to Wells Street.
Coming This October:
LiveWell Week!
The Old Town Merchants and Residents Association (OTMRA) will be hosting the 9th annual LiveWell Week, October 11-18. This year the OTMRA is adapting LiveWell Week programming to fit the needs of a COVID world. In addition to in-person programming, we will be offering virtual content from health and wellness studios. There will also be a socially-distanced outdoor Crunch & Brunch at the Chicago History Museum!
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training with Taft Law
Please join the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association for a presentation from Taft Law. The seminar will provide a brief overview of Illinois’ mandatory sexual harassment prevention training law, explore ways to deal with uncertainties in the law, and provide suggestions for creating training tailored to your workplace. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the covered topics.

Note: this training is not for employee certification, but will provide an overview of the law. Please reach out to Sam (swaldorf@oldtownchicago.org) if you are looking for facilitators.
Holiday Decorations
Rebate Program

The Old Town Holiday Decorations Rebate Program is administered by the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association (OTMRA) in partnership with Old Town Special Service Area #48. This Program is part of an effort by both SSA #48 and the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association to coordinate holiday window storefront decorations for storefronts in the neighborhood. The window displays would showcase Wells Street and Old Town’s holiday spirit, as well as serve as an attraction for Old Town. Window decorations will also show unity among Old Town businesses during this holiday season.

Please reach out to Sam Waldorf (swaldorf@oldtownchicago.org) with any questions about this rebate.
Support the OTMRA by Purchasing Old Town Masks
The OTMRA is offering a fun and colorful way to stay safe in Old Town: Old Town Face Masks! Learn more and purchase a mask for $12 below.

Send in photos of you wearing your Old Town Mask to be featured on OTMRA social media! Email to Rachel: rrubinson@oldtownchicago.org.
Only in Old Town Video Series!
The OTMRA is highlighting what makes Old Town special through the new Only in Old Town video series. Check our social media every other Wednesday to see a new episode featuring the businesses that make Old Town great!

Watch Episode 1: Wells Street via Facebook or YouTube and Episode 2: Pure Barre here via Facebook or YouTube.


More information can be found here.

Contact Sam Waldorf at swaldorf@oldtownchicago.org with any questions.
Back to Work Safely Guidelines from the American Industrial Hygiene Association
From the American Industrial Hygiene Association Back To Work Safely Initiative: The links below offer specific, easy-to-follow, science-based recommendations for limiting the transmission of the coronavirus while operating a wide variety of businesses, including restaurants, retail outlets, and hair and nail salons.

These guidelines were developed for those smaller business that don't have readily available occupational health and safety resources. We encourage employers, employees, and customers to carefully read and implement as many of the recommendations contained in the guidance document provided for your industry as possible.


See the full list of "Back to Work Safely" resources from the American Industrial Hygiene Association here.
Maintaining Wells Street's Streetscape
Old Town’s SSA is focused on keeping Wells Street a well-functioning business district. While part of that means a litter abatement team to pick up litter on the sidewalks and private security to help retailers, it also means beautification. SSA 48 Old Town hires a landscaping company to plant throughout the year: springtime bulbs, summer tropical plants, and autumn mums. They also pay for holiday decorations on the streetlight poles and for the annual tree lighting in Burton Place Park.

But beautification does more than just maintain flower beds. This is part of an economic development strategy! Foot traffic to businesses is encouraged by clean, safe streets, and a visually attractive streetscape. By maintaining seasonal planting, we help Old Town’s curb appeal stay picture perfect and inviting so businesses choose to locate here and so pedestrians enjoy their experience on the street. 
Become a 2020 Member
The Old Town Merchants and Residents Association has revamped our membership program for 2020.

We now offer memberships designed for residents, businesses, non-profits, and residential buildings. Benefits include marketing and sponsorship opportunities, positions of engagement, discounts on OTMRA events, and more!

See below for information on each membership or to become a member!

See what else is going on in the Old Town neighborhood by checking out the

Submit to the calendar by filling out this form.