Economic Development April Newsletter

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Economic Development News & Events

April 3, 2012



The arrival of spring has brought with it a lot of additional Economic Development activity to the City! Local businesses are continuing to get much-deserved recognition in various media outlets, new businesses are opening throughout the City, and there are an increasing number of opportunities to enhance your business skills through programs and events at the Evanston Public Library, the Youth Job Center, and through SCORE – just to name a few. Businesses have begun upgrading their buildings through the City’s Façade Improvement Program while  Evanston's merchant associations are preparing to promote the businesses within their districts through sidewalk sales, festivals, and other similar events. Economic Development is looking forward to partnering with you to encourage this ongoing growth.




NuMat Tech NuMAT Technologies, a start-up clean energy tech company run by   Northwestern University students, was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business. The company won $100,000 in the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge held earlier in March for its plan to identify and produce materials that can be used to store clean fuel. The annual competition awards cash prizes to top Midwest clean-technology entrepreneurs. The team will go on to compete in a national competition in June. 



Ward EightHoward Street will see the arrival of Ward Eight, a new craft-cocktail bar, restaurant and spirits shop, at 629 Howard Street. The Chicagoist reported how bartenders of Andersonville's In Fine Spirits will be launching the new lounge and restaurant on the Evanston side of Howard Street later this summer.




SoulwichSoulwich, a recently opened restaurant specializing in Asian sandwiches, was recently featured in Chicago Magazine as part of “The Hot List” for the month of March!




Featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, Benevolent is an organization that pairs potential donors with impoverished individuals who have one-time needs. With Benevolent, an individual who encounters a need works with a non-profit to verify the need and list it on Benevolent's website. Once there, visitors to the site are able to donate to a specific need. Once the funding for a need is acquired, Benevolent sends the funds to the non-profit for distribution and the need is met! 



30 Second Mom30 Second Mom, was featured Crain’s Chicago Business in a news story on March 7th and again on March 30th in a video news story. The website and app, started by Evanston entrepreneur and mom, Alisa All, provide 30 second tips on various topics such as health, money, food and relationships.



Lucky PlatterThe Lucky Platter was featured in the Chicago Tribune’s Food & Dining section for its "Funkalicious post-hippy eclectic world cuisine." This year marks the 20th anniversary of the restaurant’s opening.





Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse was featured in the Chicago Tribune for its efforts in reusing building materials. This non-profit organization promotes reduction of waste in landfills through sustainable deconstruction and renovation building practices. Reclaimed building materials are sold at their warehouse at low cost to the community and support their education, job-training and job-development programs.



Better Whey of LifeTula Food’s Better Whey of Life Greek yogurt was recently covered in both in the Chicago Tribune and on the Chicago Foodies website. It hit Chicago-area Jewel stores in February. The low-fat, low-sugar products, also sold in Denver and Northern California, are in 400 stores.   Daphne Mazarkais, founder and President, launched Evanston-based Tula Foods in early 2008. After an 18-month test, Tula's Better Whey of Life Greek yogurts hit Chicago-area Jewel stores in February. The low-fat, low-sugar products, also sold in Denver and Northern California, are in 400 stores 


Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Northwestern Memorial Hospital will be expanding into the northern suburbs with five new physicians’ offices, one of which will be located at 1700 Maple in Downtown Evanston.


Evanston Dance Ensemble was featured in the Northbrook Star. The non-profit dance company, which most recently presented “Count Me In,” is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.




PiccoloThe Piccolo Theatre, at 600 Main Street, Evanston IL (Evanston Arts Depot at the Metra Station), begins a run of The Cherry Orchard, By Anton Chekhov, Translated By Paul Schmidt, Directed By Zachary Davis. This production is “…a comedy rooted in vaudeville where laughing through the tears takes on a whole new meaning…”  The show opened on March 16 and will run through May 5.  





Wild & Scenic FilmsThe Evanston Ecology Center, in partnership with the Evanston Environmental Association (EEA), is hosting Evanston’s first Green Film Series. The film series includes a selection of many of the best films from the renowned Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, the largest environmental film festival in the U.S. Films will be screened from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13 and Friday, May 11, 2012. The Ecology Center is located at 2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston. Films are suitable for ages 16 and older. Seating is limited; interested movie-goers should register in advance.




Carmen’s Pizza (new location!)

Yes, We Will, Marketing Company LLC (new location!)

Studio SLK


AcquirentCongratulations to Acquirent on their recently completed relocation and expansion  in downtown Evanston! Acquirent is a provider of outsourced sales solutions for middle market to Fortune 500 companies. Their new offices at 1603 Orrington consolidate 70 of their employees into one location on a single floor. The space is designed to enhance collaboration and to encourage a supportive sales culture. Acquirent finished 2011 with revenue increases of almost 80% and hired 40 new employees.  Check out additional photos from the April 2nd grand opening/ribbon cutting at the Economic Development Division's Facebook page 




TEDxEvanston 2012

coLab Evanston, based at 900 Chicago Avenue in the emerging Chicago and Main technology hub, is hosting TEDx Evanston. The event is scheduled for April 18, 2012 at the Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago in downtown Evanston from 6pm to 10pm.  


TEDxEvanston 2012 is billed as an exploration of learning in all its forms. The event will feature a musical act, two recorded talks, and five speakers. Scheduled presenters include Evanston residents Terry Howerton, Jane Dowd and Lisa Nigro in addition to Northwestern University based David Figlio, Reed Stevens, and Matt Easterday.


Terry Howerton is the founding chairman of the Illinois Technology Association and co-founder of the Loop-based TechNexus, a venture collaborative that has been home to more than 140 growing companies and an ecosystem used by 2,500 entrepreneurs, engineers and executives each month. Terry has been a founder, principal or active advisor in more than a dozen startups, his first launched at 15 years old. He cofounded and chairs the Chicago Tech Academy, an innovative charter high school that connects 600 at risk students a year with mentors and an education infused with technology aptitude and entrepreneurial vision.


Evanston resident Lisa Nigro, a recent winner of the Presidential Citizens Medal, founded The Inspiration Corporation to help people affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing. Jane Dowd is the director of Talent Management for Takeda Pharmaceuticals US. In 2004, she received the Chief Learning Officer magazine Bronze Award for Leading Business Change for her role in leading a large-scale training initiative to transition over 8,000 healthcare providers to a new electronic health record. Jane has been a resident of Evanston since 1987.


TED is a New York and Vancouver based nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.   TED grants licenses to third parties to organize TEDx events in cities around the world. TEDx Evanston license is owned by coLab Evanston.




Youth Job CenterThe Community Technology Center at the  Youth Job Center officially opened to the public on March 26, 2012 (A ribbon cutting was held on March 23rd). The Youth Job Center of Evanston provides young job seekers with job placement assistance, employment counseling, workforce training, and ongoing developmental support.  All ages are welcome Monday-Thursday 3:00p-7:00p. Stop by at 1114 Church Street in Evanston (between Ridge and Oak). They will also be offering free classes including Intro to Computers, Basic Internet Skills, and Beginner to Advanced Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


Illinois WorknetThe Evanston Public Library has partnered with the Illinois WorkNet Center to offer job search, career coaching, computer workshops, and related career services for Evanston community members. Illinois WorkNet, located on the 3rd floor of the Main Library, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am - 6 pm; Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am- 8 pm. 



SCORESCORE Chicago provides free business counseling, management consulting and low cost workshops; advises on how to get a business loan; and offers other resources like templates for a business plan.  SCORE has an Evanston Branch, located at the Evanston Public Library, and representatives are available on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, by appointment.  



The Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program's Youth Job Fair will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 8:00am to 3:00pm at the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. The City of Evanston has secured several commitments from private employers, but it needs participation from additional businesses to ensure that all of the youth and young adults who want to be employed can be. For more information about outreach sessions and the Youth Job Fair, visit or call 3-1-1. To volunteer at the fair, please visit



 Chicago Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project


Chicago Ave StreetscapeThe City of Evanston, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation has launched the Chicago Avenue streetscape improvement project from South Boulevard to Main Street. The project, to be completed over the next twelve weeks, will include curbing, concrete planters, installation of tree and perennial plantings, an irrigation system and pedestrian signals at the Chicago/Kedzie intersection. For more information regarding the project and related contractor information and parking restrictions, please visit the City’s website.  





Cinemark Century Theatre Liquor License


City Council recently approved the expansion of Cinemark Century Theatre’s liquor license to allow the sale of liquor at all of the Theatre’s movie rooms in Evanston. The change, which is subject to a trial period, would allow patrons to enjoy an alcoholic beverage (purchased at the café and bar area) while watching a PG-13 or R rated movie.  



CMS ExpoThe 6th Annual Content Management Systems (CMS) Expo is being held in Evanston, on May 8-10, at the Hilton Orrington Hotel. The expo provides timely, relevant, actionable advice on the world's leading Content Management Systems and the talented people behind them. Whether you're a tech-savvy marketer or marketing-savvy technologist, CMS Expo is the place to connect to where the growth is! Evanston residents receive a special discount by entering Evanston2012 as a promo code when registering.  For more information, please visit



Stella Boutique , a local shop on Central Street that sells an eclectic mix of clothing, jewelry, handbags, accessories, home accoutrements and gifts, celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier in March. 


Evanston Arts Buzz provides a guide to cultural events going on in Evanston. Check the site, created by the Evanston Arts Council, regularly to get a list of the wide variety of performances and exhibits being presented around town.


The Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre offers classes and programs for teens, adults and seniors. They are currently gearing up for their summer performances so be on the lookout for more information on their productions and workshops!


Evanston Farmers Markets are open during the winter months. “Friends of Evanston Farmers Markets” hosts a weekly indoor farmers market on Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm running through April 28th at the Evanston Ecology Center at 2024 McCormick Boulevard.


Robert Crown Center’s 3rd Annual Spring Flea Market will be held on April 14th. This event connects people who own great “stuff” that they no longer want with those who like a bargain and believe in the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle! You can reserve a table and sell what you cleared out during your spring cleaning. Hurry, tables move fast! Contact Alice Allen or Ken Cherry of the Evanston Recreation Division at 847-448-8258. 



Kellogg Office InventoryEvanston Office Strategy

The City's economic development partner, Evanston Inventure , commissioned a study completed by students of the Kellogg School of Management, supervised by professor Therese McGuire. The study assesses the City of Evanston's policies toward commercial office real estate development and makes recommendations for prioritizing specific locations, office typology, and strategies for attracting office users to Evanston. The study and presentation are now available on the City of Evanston's website, and video is available through the City’s YouTube account.



Dempster Dodge TIFDempster Dodge TIF  

The City Council adopted two ordinances on March 26, 2012  initiating the Tax Increment Financing district designations process for the proposed Dempster Dodge TIF district.  TIF financing could be used to assist with potential renovations and re-tenanting of the Evanston Plaza Shopping Center.  A copy of the staff recommendation and the Draft Redevelopment Plan are available on the City’s website. The Joint Review Board is scheduled to open their public hearing at 3:00pm, on April 12, 2012 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center at 2100 Ridge.  

















CameraWhat Does Economic Development in Evanston mean to you?

Evanston’s Economic Development Division is looking for pictures featuring your favorite businesses! The top three chosen pictures will be posted weekly on the Economic Development’s facebook page. Photos must embody Evanston Economic Development and must be shot in Evanston. Please send your photos to 


Looking for a space to locate your business? 

The City of Evanston maintains a list of commercial, office and industrial properties available for lease or purchase on our website. If you are a leasing agent or owner that would like to have your property listed please send an email to the Economic Development Division with the following information:

Property Address • Total Available Space (sq. ft.) • Contact Name and Phone Number • Link to website (if applicable)


Improve the “Face” of your Business

The City of Evanston is currently accepting applications for participation in its recently updated Facade Improvement Program.  If you are a business owner or commercial property owner, you may be eligible to participate in this program designed to help upgrade the exterior of your building.  For more information on the Facade Improvement Program and how to apply, contact Economic Development Specialist Jim Furey or call 847-448-8078.


Get Connected

Join the Local Business Directory! The City of Evanston has a Local Business Directory, which is resource for residents, businesses or visitors who are seeking out specific goods or services. In addition, this list is used by the City as resource in bidding processes for City-funded projects. We currently list over 1,000 local businesses. If you want to get on the list, contact our Economic Development Intern, Eric Santiago or call 847-448-8100.


Connect with us online! 

Our webpage is continually updated to include helpful information, statistics, property listing, and resources for your business. In addition to the information provide in the Economic Development webpage and in our monthly newsletters, the Economic Division also maintains a Facebook page. “Like” us and get regular updates on business openings, events, and other Economic Development related news.


The mission of the Economic Development Division is to redevelop distressed property, revitalize neighborhoods, provide job opportunities, generate sustainable tax revenue, and bring amenities to neighborhoods in the City through local investment.--