Red Tape

Episode 28 – Catalyst Ranch, Creative Meeting and Event Space in Chicago Loop

Eva says doing business in Chicago is “challenging.” That’s putting it lightly! This founder of Catalyst Ranch, a creative meeting and event space in historic downtown Chicago, has run around in circles and jumped through hoops many times for everything from expanding their physical location, to getting the proper licensing to offer catering at their events, to getting a sign that people can actually see from the street. Find out why, despite these obstacles, Eva has no plans to leave Chicago and how she made the leap from corporate employee to thriving entrepreneur.

Episode 27 – The Silver Room, Eclectic Retail and Sound System Block Party in Hyde Park

Eric describes doing business in Chicago as “exhilarating.” Despite being a natural entrepreneur who loves his city and his community, it isn’t always easy to navigate the city’s codes and licenses. How exactly did Eric go from peddling Bart Simpson t-shirts on the street, to a lifestyle retail space in Wicker Park and a move to Hyde Park, to starting a block party in Hyde Park that attracts thousands of people, to pop-up shops around Chicago?

Episode 26 – StellaLily, a Mobile Business based in Ravenswood

Juana describes doing business in Chicago as “frustrating”. She spent much of her life savings outfitting a truck for mobile retail, but how’s it going?

Episode 25 – Yolis Tamales in Gage Park, a Tamale Vendor

Maria describes doing business in Chicago as “amazing”. Her business was recently formalized with the passing a street vending ordinance. Learn more about what street food legalization means for her.

Episode 21 – IntoxiCakes

Kamilah describes doing business in Chicago as a “learning experience”. She began by experimenting with boozy cupcakes in her kitchen. What inspired her to transition into a full-fledged business?

Episode 20 – Moon Meals of Hyde Park, a Food Producer

LaForce describes doing business in Chicago as “interesting”. LaForce says you have to be patient when you’re getting all the correct licenses and permits. How much time does he suggest you allot?

Episode 16 – Back of the Yards Coffee in Back of the Yards, a Coffee Shop

Jesse describes doing business in Chicago as “daunting”. His neighborhood views him as a huge asset and his business is profitable – so what’s in the way of his business’ growth?

Episode 15 – Nature’s Little Recyclers Throughout Chicago, a Composter

Ed and Dale describe doing business in Chicago as “tough”. They have faced skepticism from both their local communities and legislators. What challenges do they face as owners of a composting business in Chicago?

Episode 14 – Saucy Porka in The Loop & Hyde Park, a Restaurant

Amy describes doing business in Chicago as “rewarding but frustrating”. When she began operating her food truck business Amy had no idea she would end up launching the Food Truck Association and advocating for new legislation. What advice would she now give to small business owners looking to engage with City Hall and influence policy?

Episode 12 – Boombox Throughout Chicago , an Architect and Developer

Katherine describes doing business in Chicago as “hilarious”. When she first had the idea to support micro-retail, it was illegal. In what ways has Katherine worked with City Hall to create processes that support microbusiness owners?