The Chicago Journal

Your Gateway to the Heartbeat of Chicago

Greening the City: Chicago’s Call for Sustainable Business Practices

By: Anne Davis

In the heart of the Midwest, where the skyline meets the lake, Chicago stands as a testament to progress and innovation. Yet, as the city continues its forward march, the environmental impact of its businesses becomes an increasingly urgent concern. This article delves deeper into the intricacies of Chicago’s environmental landscape, dissecting the role of businesses and providing comprehensive tips for residents to be catalysts for positive change.

The Pulse of the City: Chicago’s Environmental Landscape:

Nestled between the architectural marvels and cultural hubs lies Chicago’s often-overlooked natural splendor. From the expansive lakefront to the lush parks, the city boasts an ecological diversity that is both fragile and resilient. However, the relentless pace of urban development poses a challenge to maintaining this delicate balance. The economic metamorphosis of Chicago, while driving progress, has raised questions about its environmental health. From air quality concerns to waste management challenges, the vibrancy of the city is increasingly juxtaposed against the environmental toll of its growth.

The Role of Businesses: Balancing Growth and Sustainability:

Businesses, as the lifeblood of Chicago’s economy, contribute significantly to the city’s environmental well-being. Whether it’s the emissions from industrial processes, the waste generated by manufacturing, or the carbon footprint of transportation, the environmental cost of economic activities is tangible. However, the transformative power of businesses lies not only in acknowledging their impact but also in embracing sustainable practices that align with the needs of the community and the planet. Striking this balance is pivotal for ensuring a Chicago that thrives economically without compromising its ecological integrity.

Demystifying the Impact: Identifying Environmental Stressors:

To effectively address the environmental concerns, residents must be cognizant of the key stressors affecting the city. Industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and construction emerge as major contributors to air and water pollution. Additionally, the excessive use of non-renewable resources exacerbates the environmental strain. By demystifying these stressors, Chicagoans can articulate specific demands for change, fostering a more sustainable business landscape that embraces the principles of circular economy and responsible resource management.

Empowering Residents: Tips for Demanding Change:

Educate Yourself:

In a world driven by information, knowledge is the first step towards change. Stay abreast of local businesses and their environmental practices. Delve into their sustainability initiatives or lack thereof to make informed decisions as a conscious consumer.

Support Green Businesses:

Your purchasing power is a formidable tool. Choose products and services from businesses that prioritize sustainability whether it’s charcoal soap or bamboo toilet paper. By supporting eco-conscious enterprises, consumers create a demand for green alternatives, nudging the market towards a more sustainable trajectory.

Engage with Businesses:

Move beyond the transactional relationship with businesses. Attend community meetings, utilize social media platforms, and actively engage with companies about their environmental practices. Public pressure, fueled by informed and engaged citizens, can drive positive change.

Advocate for Policy Change:

Policies shape the framework within which businesses operate. Support and advocate for policies that promote sustainability at the local and state levels. Engage with community organizations working towards environmental initiatives, pooling collective efforts to influence policy decisions for the greater good.

Embrace Sustainable Lifestyles:

The choices we make in our daily lives ripple outward. Adopt eco-conscious practices, from reducing single-use plastics and conserving energy to using reusable cotton rounds and turmeric soap for your skincare routines. Leading by example not only benefits the individual but also encourages businesses to align their operations with the values of the residents they serve.

Participate in Community Initiatives:

Collective action amplifies impact. Join local environmental groups and initiatives that focus on sustainable practices. By participating in community-driven efforts, individuals contribute to a broader movement that influences businesses to integrate environmentally responsible practices into their operations.

In the tapestry of a city that has weathered storms and embraced change, Chicagoans find themselves at a critical juncture. The collective power of residents can shape the trajectory of their city, ensuring that economic progress is synonymous with environmental stewardship. As businesses navigate the challenges of growth, the call for sustainability resonates as a clarion call for harmonious coexistence. Let’s unite in our commitment to a healthier, more sustainable future for the Windy City, setting an example for urban centers around the world, and proving that a thriving economy and a thriving environment are not mutually exclusive but integral to the fabric of a truly progressive city.

Navigate the Windy City’s Market With These 5 Essential Strategies for Small Business Owners in Chicago

Renowned for its architectural marvels and blues music, Chicago stands as a beacon of opportunity for small business owners. The city’s diverse economic landscape offers a fertile ground for businesses of all types to grow and prosper. Yet, the path to success is often winding and fraught with challenges that demand a strategic approach. Whether you’re a café owner in Lincoln Park or a tech startup in the Loop, understanding the local market is crucial. This comprehensive guide aims to arm small business owners in Chicago with five key strategies that can mean the difference between just surviving and truly thriving in the competitive marketplace of Windy City.

Identifying and Exploiting Your Niche in the Chicago Market

Standing out from the crowd is vital in a city as vast and varied as Chicago. The first step to making your mark is to identify what makes your business unique—your unique selling proposition (USP). This could be your exceptional customer service, an innovative product, or perhaps a gap in the market that only you can fill. Understanding your target demographic is crucial, as is tailoring your marketing efforts to speak directly to them. For instance, if your business serves a specific community, participate in local events and sponsor activities that resonate with that community. It’s about creating a brand identity that aligns with the values and needs of your potential customers. And remember, finding your niche isn’t just about what you sell but how you sell it. Your relationships with your customers can become the bedrock of your success in Chicago’s competitive market.

Harnessing the Power of Local Networking and Resources

Chicago is not just a city but a community that thrives on connections. For small business owners, this means networking opportunities and resources are abundant at your fingertips. The city boasts numerous business associations and chambers of commerce that cater to various industries and demographics, such as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Advocacy Council. These organizations can provide you with invaluable contacts, advice, and exposure. 

Tapping into local resources such as business incubators, accelerators, and Chicago’s Small Business Center can provide the support you need to navigate the business’s complexities. By engaging with local mentors and peers, you can gain insights specific to the Chicago market, helping you tailor your strategies effectively.

Mastering Chicago’s Financial Landscape: Payroll and Beyond

In the heart of the city’s financial management lies the imperative of handling payroll effectively. Managing your finances, especially regarding employee payments, can be complex and fraught with regulatory pitfalls. Leveraging payroll companies for small businesses can streamline this process, ensuring compliance with local and federal tax laws while freeing your time to focus on core business activities. These companies can handle everything from calculating tax withholdings to processing direct deposits, which can be particularly beneficial in a city with tax regulations as intricate as Chicago’s. Furthermore, having a robust financial plan and budget is crucial in a city with high operating costs. Regularly review your financial strategies, consider the economic trends of the Windy City, and don’t hesitate to seek advice from financial experts to keep your business financially healthy.

Embracing Technology and Innovation

In a city renowned for its bold architecture and history of innovation, Chicago’s small businesses must also look to the future by embracing modern technology. Whether adopting new point-of-sale systems, leveraging social media for marketing, or utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software, technology can provide a competitive edge. The integration of e-commerce can also open up new revenue streams, allowing businesses to reach beyond the confines of their neighborhood and tap into a wider market. Additionally, Chicago’s status as a growing tech hub means local businesses can access the latest advancements and partner with tech startups for unique solutions tailored to their needs.

Building a Resilient Business Model

Chicago’s weather is a metaphor for its market conditions—both can change rapidly and without warning. A resilient business model can withstand economic storms and adapt to the shifting tides of consumer preferences. This means diversifying your revenue streams, keeping a close eye on inventory management, and staying agile in your business planning. Resilience also comes from building a strong brand and loyal customer base to support you during a downturn. Regularly assess the risks facing your business and have contingency plans in place. By preparing for potential challenges, your business can survive and seize new opportunities that may arise during tough times.

In Chicago, small business owners are presented with unique challenges and opportunities. The strategies outlined above are more than just survival tactics; they are the stepping stones to establishing a thriving, enduring enterprise in the heart of one of America’s most vibrant cities. Remember, in the land of deep-dish pizza and towering skyscrapers, your small business has the potential to rise to great heights. With tenacity, insight, and a bit of Chicago grit, your business can become an integral thread in the rich tapestry of this city’s economy.

iFLY Lincoln Park Soars to New Heights

If you’re in the market for an exciting experience in the Chicago area, consider iFLY Chicago (Lincoln Park) for your next adventure. Approximately 15,000 people visit the location annually. Here’s what keeps them coming back for more high-flying fun.

The state-of-the-art Lincoln Park facility has much to offer guests. Approximately 250 people a day can fly inside the patented iFLY Generation 6, a 12-foot recirculating vertical wind tunnel. Guests come to experience the thrill of freefall simulation as they float on iFLY’s wall-to-wall air. It’s a must-do experience for adrenaline seekers. However, the Chicago area branch also offers an educational STEM Program, a popular field trip for area schools and groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and corporate events.

Dave Genovese, general manager of iFLY Lincoln Park, says, “Day visitors from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin comprise about one-third of our visitors, and a quarter of guests hail from areas outside of the Midwest.” However, within the Chicagoland area, the majority of visitors come from the west and south sides of the Windy City.

What Sets iFLY Chicago Apart From Other Family-Friendly Experiences?

Genovese says the Chicago location “offers an experience unlike any other.” Of course, the majority of visitors are eager to soar to new heights. But even people afraid of elevation or jumping out of an aircraft can enjoy the experience.

“The flight package with a High Flight upgrade is the most popular,” says Genovese. The High Flight upgrade is the ultimate thrill. First-time flyers typically float on air inside the vertical wind tunnel, approximately 3 to 6 feet above the net, within arm’s reach of the world-class instructor.

When guests choose the High Flight add-on, the instructor guides the student somewhere between 10 and 20 feet above the net. This YouTube video is an excellent example of a high flight at iFLY Chicago Lincoln Park.

It’s a popular pick for birthday parties. Party attendees have the option to fly inside the vertical wind tunnel. In addition, they receive first-timer training lessons, a flight suit, and goggles as part of the preflight process. A private room, pizza, and beverages are included in the cost of having a gathering at the facility.

It’s also a popular place to have corporate events. “It is an immersive experience,” says Genovese. “It’s very unique and a great way [to facilitate] team bonding.”

Additionally, the academic science, technology, engineering, and math program is incredibly popular. “At iFLY Lincoln Park, we host one or two STEM events daily during both the week and on weekends,” explains Genovese. So why should a teacher or scout leader consider bringing a group to the vertical wind tunnel? “It offers real-life applications to physics and the natural world,” says Genovese. “The vertical wind tunnel is a very visual piece of physics,” agrees Ellie Davis, Chicago area sales manager.

“It’s educational, but more importantly, it’s fun,” says Genovese.

Delivering the Dream of Flight

There are three locations in the Chicago area. In addition to the Lincoln Park facility, there are two slightly larger iFLY spaces in Naperville and Rosemont. The vertical wind tunnels are a popular tourist attraction, notes Genovese, adding that tourists make up the bulk of their customer base.

A report from Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for the city, stated that in 2021 over 30 million tourists visited Chicago. Lynn Osmond, Choose Chicago’s president, said that by the end of 2023, the city’s tourism numbers are expected to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

And iFLY is ready to give them the time of their lives. The facility, which opened in 2016, prides itself on being able to fly people of all ages and abilities. “If you can relax and let the wind do the work, it’s very accessible,” says Genovese.

Guests lean into the tunnel and let the air lift them up. There are numerous flight packages available for visitors to choose from so they can select the right option for their budget and experience level. 

First-time flyers are accompanied in the wind by a world-class flight instructor who has passed a rigorous training course. It takes approximately six months to become a fully certified instructor and then about 100 hours of training a year to get to higher-level training positions. “The instructor supervises the experience, and you’re just along for the ride,” said CEO Matt Ryan. “The vast majority of our customers fall into out-of-home family entertainment, one-on-one experience with an instructor category.”

Beginners start out on their stomachs. “Over time, if you keep going, you’ll transition to your back; you’ll be able to fly on your back, then you’ll be able to sit fly, and ultimately, you can head-down fly. And that’s a very small percentage of the population,” said Ryan.

What makes Chicago a great location for multiple vertical wind tunnel facilities? “We want to be in locations where families come to eat, drink, shop, and be entertained. You won’t find us isolated,” said Ryan.

When you’re ready to fly like an eagle in Chicago, visit the Lincoln Park location to get started on your memorable journey.

SamBoat Sets Sail in Chicago

If you’ve ever gazed at the sails and motorboats on Lake Michigan and wished to be on the glittering water yourself, there’s good news — chartered yacht rentals are now available in Chicago through SamBoat.

“SamBoat’s first boats in Chicago have just been uploaded to the website,” says Robert Harrington, the company’s US Country Manager. “We’ve launched our fleet in Chicago several months ahead of the warmer summer season so people can start planning and reserving their yachts well ahead of time. You can now book for the summer holidays (Juneteenth, July 4th or Labor Day), as well as the events you have coming up this summer, such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.”

SamBoat enables ordinary people to rent their own boats through a simple and secure online platform. “The idea is new and is based upon the sharing economy we’ve seen explode over the past half a decade,” Harrington says. “Renting a boat has never been easier. It’s now just as easy as booking yourself an Uber or Lyft. It’s very much like Airbnb, except instead of renting a home, you would be renting a boat or yacht.”

How SamBoat works

SamBoat rentals are located along Chicago’s shoreline of Lake Michigan at a variety of different yacht clubs and berths. Rentals can last anywhere from a couple of hours or days to even weeks or months. For those who don’t know how to skipper a yacht themselves, many listings include the possibility of hiring a crew.

The website is a simple, easy-to-use interface. Just specify your port of embarkation and the dates for your trip, as well as the kind of boat you are interested in: motor or sailboat. Click on “Search,” and a list of appropriate options will appear. Photographs of the sleek hulls immediately deliver a thrill — which yacht can you see yourself driving over the waves or sunbathing on?

The website also allows you to choose the order in which listings appear. One option gives you recommended boats first, while another shows you the options from least to most expensive. It’s also possible to sort the listings by previous customers’ highest average rating.

Once you click on a particular listing, that boat’s web page comes up with more details, such as its length, year of manufacture, and horsepower. More photographs will pop up, and some will even show you the yacht’s interior, as well as the staterooms or cockpit. Each listing has a clear description of the boat’s additional features, such as Bluetooth audio, kitchen, wet bar, or sun pad.

The service also opens up opportunities for those who own yachts. “Boat owners can make money by offering their boats for rent through our platform,” Harrington says. “This can help offset costs while you’re not utilizing the boat yourself. Otherwise, you can turn your boat into a full-time money-making operation.”

Chicagoans would rightly feel lucky to have such possibilities at their fingertips. Harrington feels the same way about Chicago.

Why Chicago is the perfect fit

“Chicago is a great place to get out on the water, especially during the warmer months,” Harrington says. “It’s not only one of the largest cities in the country, but also one of the hotbeds for tech startups. While SamBoat is based in Bordeaux, France, we needed to have a presence in such a large, dynamic, influential American city.”

No other operator offers the ease, reliability, and affordability that SamBoat brings to this market. “The alternatives haven’t always lived up to Chicagoans’ expectations in terms of customer service and price,” Harrington explains. “We’re excited to finally offer a solution that will live up to expectations.”

According to Harrington, SamBoat is better than the other options in Chicago for several reasons. “We have flexible payment options and payment plans,” he says. “There’s no need to shell out the full amount of your yacht charter months in advance. We are also happy to come up with a personalized plan for you.”

He also referenced SamBoat’s fantastic selection. “You’re bound to find the perfect yacht for your day on the water, whether it’s a 30-footer or a 70-footer,” he says. “There’s no need to browse for hours looking through different websites.” SamBoat’s flexible cancellation policies ensure stress-free booking.

SamBoat is also less expensive than other boat booking websites. “For the same exact boats,” Harrington observes. “Why pay more for the same experience? Keep that extra money for a few bottles of champagne while on your yacht charter.”

Other places SamBoat operates in the US

According to Harrington, SamBoat is available in basically all the large coastal US cities, from California to Florida and up to New England. “We’ve especially seen rapid growth in South Florida at ports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach,” he notes. “The company is growing at a rapid pace; we’ve recently added Mexico and the Caribbean with a particular focus on the beautiful resort cities of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun.”

Nothing compares to the serenity and satisfaction of blue mind. That unparalleled experience is what SamBoat is bringing to Chicago and other ports throughout the US.

“Above all, we’re always trying to share our love of the water as broadly as possible,” Harrington says. “At the end of the day, some of your very best memories will be time spent on the water. We’re excited to help people create those memories.”

The Importance of Digitizing Documents in Today’s World

Society is changing, and so is our environment and the reality that we live in. All of these elements are part of the reasons why digitizing documents in 2022 should be something that everybody does in order to protect themselves, their family, their business and their belongings. As we will show below, modernizing the way we handle our paper trail is of utmost importance to each of us but also to society as a whole. 

Saving Document on PDF Smart: Great Protection in Case of Natural Disasters

It has been a long time since we have been taking from the earth. Most importantly, we have been a major pollution factor, filling our oceans, our lands, and even the air with chemicals. Scientists warned us that we would find ourselves with natural issues in the future if we did not change the way we consume. The ozone layer disappearing was a major warning in itself. Still, we continued almost as if everything was perfectly fine. And now, we have to face the backlash of extremely warm weather causing forest fires and raising the level of other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, thanks to warmer temperatures of water.

When one of those happens where we live, we can end up losing everything we have in the house or at the office. That is the first reason why we need to transfer our paper documents into a digitized version. The best way is to scan them and save them in a PDF format. That includes our legal identity documents, such as our birth certificate, ID card and passport, as well as pictures and receipts of our belongings, so that we can easily make a claim to our insurance company. By placing these documents on a PDF file, you can easily modify them as you acquire new objects simply by using a PDF editor. If you need to add text documents, PDF Smart will enable you to make a format change, and you can do file modifications whenever you need to in the future to keep everything up-to-date.

Digitizing Documents makes Work Easier for Everyone

It is surprising how much paperwork still exists in the world of business. Contracts that are still in physical forms, when you can actually sign them digitally, these days, totally legally. The problem is that paper takes up a lot of space, which the company needs to pay for uselessly. If you digitize all the documents that you have on file, not only will you save on rental space, but you will also make it much more secure this way. That is because you can protect your documents through a variety of ways once they are scanned by keeping them locked away from those who would like to spy on you.

Once documents are digitized, you can have access to them through a click of a mouse. That is definitely a whole lot faster than having to go through a filing cabinet. Especially when the file hasn’t been stored in the right place, and you need to go through a bunch of them before you finally get your hands on it. It also makes it easier to share the file with all the departments. By having the PDF documents on the server, everyone can pick it up, modify the document with PDF Smart and save it again where it belongs in a matter of seconds. We are, indeed, a long way away from the time when you had to pay an employee just to gather up the paper files.

It also helps in case the company ever gets audited. Whereas before, the persons having to do the audit had to go through all the cabinets in order to find what they were looking for, spending a lot of time inside your office and disturbing the work of employees, now you can just give them access to the digitized files. You can even do so from afar by giving them access to your servers or by opening a door for them on The Cloud service that you use to store these documents.

It is obvious that transferring all of our documents, whether personal or related to our business, into PDF files, will make our life better in so many ways. And it will be much easier to modify them, thanks to PDF Smart.

A Hit-And-Run in South Side Chicago Kills Three and One in Serious Injuries

Image commercially licensed from : Unsplash

On Sunday morning, Chicago’s South Side continued to witness car-related crimes as a fatal accident left three dead and another injured.

What happened

According to Chicago police, three men were killed while one was lucky enough to survive, barely escaping death and making it out with severe injuries.

Witnesses and family members revealed that the situation started from a fight inside a bar during the night.

Although most of the fights typically end, things took a turn for the worse when they took their fight outside.

Read also: History is made with Seven Murder Convictions Tossed in Chicago


ABC7 Chicago has received footage showing the horrific incident at 70th and Jeffrey.

The video shows a group of men who appeared to be fighting in the middle of the road when a south-bound sedan hit them.

The fatal accident occurred at 5 in the morning.

Several shoes were seen scattered on the sidewalk, demonstrating the violence of the incident.

The vehicle escaped, according to police.

The victims

Three of the victims were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Police report that they have been pronounced dead.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified two of the victims as 27-year-old Devonta Vivetter and 25-year-old Donald Huey.

Meanwhile, the fourth man has been transported to Stroger Hospital.

Although his injuries are serious, he is in stable condition.

Family and witnesses

Vivetter’s cousin Anita spoke to ABC7 but declined to show her face. She says:

“I’ve been crying all day. It’s just– I can’t believe it.”

She also said the fight started just steps from the Jeffrey Pub.

“Someone jumped in they [sic] car and ran them over. Saw that they were fighting, jumped in the car and ran them over,” she added.

“He didn’t deserve it. And for you to keep going like! This is ridiculous!”

A witness added to the account and said:

“It’s no way you couldn’t have seen the folks in the middle of the street. And for you to keep going like that, this is ridiculous.”

“You could just hear down the street: boom, boom, other people were getting hit,” they added.

“I was just focused on who I was in front of: the victim. The victim that was in front of me. I was just focused on him.”

“It’s just sad to see our community in such devastation.”

Member of the Dr. Mark Stearnes community commented on the situation and said: “Not only is there no regard for the law, but there is no regard for life.”

Read also: Drive-By Shooting Outside a Church in the Southside of Chicago Left Three Wounded


Residents demand more to stop the ruthless and reckless driving.

Meanwhile, police are currently looking for the driver who shot and killed the three men.

The Jeffrey Pub also released a statement on social media that reads:

“Our hearts are heavy this morning that such a tragic event has occurred. And to those that lost a loved one or friend, we stand with you. We always encourage everyone to leave and go to your vehicles right away to make it home safe.”


Chicago hit-and-run leaves three dead, one injured

Disturbing video shows moment several struck in deadly Chicago hit-and-run; 2 of 3 killed ID’d

3 dead, 1 injured after Chicago hit-and-run; no arrest made, police say