<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 31 Jan 2015 01:28:48 -0600 Sat, 31 Jan 2015 01:28:48 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[McDonald's Offers Option to "Pay with Lovin'" in Chicago Area]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:37:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/56857245.jpg

McDonald's plans you a chance to earn a cheeseburger for calling your mother. Or fist bumping a fry cook. Or just passing along good vibes. 

Select McDonald's customers in participating restaurants nationwide will soon get the chance to pocket their cash and pay for a meal with "lovin'" instead.

Customers who enter participating McDonald's restaurants between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14 will be selected at random and told they could pay for their meal with an act of lovin' instead of money, according to a statement from McDonald's. Acts of lovin' include anything from a friendly fist bump with an employee on duty to calling a loved one on the phone. 

The newly accepted form of currency -- called "Pay with Lovin' " -- comes just in time for Valentine's Day and is part of the Oak Brook-based company's new campaign to emphasize the "love" in its long-running "I'm Lovin' It" slogan.

"McDonald's is in a unique position to bring a little more lovin' to our customers," said Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer for McDonald's USA. "We're on a journey to change the relationship and conversation and 'Pay with Lovin' ' is a direct way for us to engage with our customers. We believe that a little more Lovin' can change a lot."

The new payment method begins Feb. 2 and applies between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. at select McDonald's stores.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Midwest Dominates Redbox Survey of Most Romantic Cities]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:46:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Redbox+Kiosk.jpg

The Midwest is the place to be for romantic movie-watching this Valentine's Day, according to a new survey that ranked the most romantic cities in the country based on movie rentals.

Oakbrook Terrace-based Redbox tracked the number of romantic movie titles checked out in cities across the U.S. and ranked them based on the number. The top 10 cities all reside in the Midwest, with Green Bay, Wis., taking the No. 1 spot.

Green Bay was followed by Evansville, Ind.; Lansing, Mich.; Mankato, Minn.; Zanesville, Ohio; Ames, Iowa; Rochester, Minn.; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.; Toledo, Ohio; and Lima, Ohio.

The Midwest was deemed more romantic than all other regions in the U.S., according to the survey, which identified the top states as Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa.

The survey results also named "The Notebook" as the "most romantic movie of all time," followed by "Titanic" and "Pretty Woman." Concerning the actors and actresses in romantic movies, Americans chose Channing Tatum and  Jennifer Lawrence as their top picks for a celebrity valentine.

Romantic movie rentals skyrocket during the week of Feb. 14, according to Redbox, which tracked a 66 percent increase that week as compared to the first week of February last year.

This year's romantic titles available at Redbox locations include "If I Stay," "The Fault in Our Stars," "What If," "The Notebook" and "The Vow."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Most Bizarre Excuses for Being Late to Work]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:49:55 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/alarm-clock-crop.jpg

Getting in to work on time is not always an easy task.

Despite the typical traffic problems or public transportation woes, there’s apparently also car trunk thieves, strangers using cars as beds and even bad dreams working against employees trying to get to clock in on time.

According to a new survey from Chicago-based CareerBuilder, more than 23 percent of workers say they’re late to work at least once a month, and 14 percent say it’s a weekly occurrence.

Of those workers, at least 3 in 10 said they’ve lied about the reason for their tardiness. But that doesn’t sound so far-fetched when you consider that 41 percent of employers have actually fired an employee for being late.

The survey involved responses from more than 2,100 hiring and human resource managers and more than 3,000 workers across the nation.

The most common cause of tardiness, according to the survey, was traffic, followed by lack of sleep and weather.

Trying to get kids to school or daycare was a problem for 12 percent of responders and public transportation or wardrobe troubles were a problem for 7 and 6 percent of workers, respectively.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Most Bizarre Excuses for Being Late to Work]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:42:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/alarm-clock-crop.jpg While traffic, lack of sleep and weather are among the top reasons employees arrive late to work, some workers have blamed more unconventional causes of tardiness. In a new CareerBuilder survey, employers revealed some of the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boeing 747-8 Picked as Next Platform for Air Force One]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:50:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/020810+Boeing+1.jpg

An aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing was once again selected to fly the President of the United States.

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, said a Boeing 747-8 will serve as the next presidential aircraft, commonly known as Air Force One.

"The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States. The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest," James said in a statement.

Research determined that only two four-engine platforms meet the requirements for Air Force One—the Boeing 747-8 and the A380, manufactured by Airbus in Toulouse, France.

Officials say modifications will need to be made to the aircraft before it can serve as Air Force One, a process that will likely also fall in the hands of Boeing.

"This decision is not a contract award to procure 747-8 aircraft," Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program manager, said in a statement. "We still need to finalize the overall acquisition strategy and conduct risk reduction activities with Boeing to inform the engineering and manufacturing development contract negotiations that will define the capabilities and cost."

The Air Force wants to own enough of the technical baseline to allow competition for "sustainment throughout the aircraft's planned 30-year life cycle," a release from James’ office said.

"The current fleet of VC-25 presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft," James said. "Yet, it is time to upgrade. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded."

The release said affordability will be a key part of the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program.

"The program will use multiple strategies, such as the use of proven technologies and commercially certified equipment, to ensure the program is as affordable as possible while still meeting mission requirements." James said. "We will insist upon program affordability through cost conscious procurement practices."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sears Lays Off 100 Employees at Hoffman Estates Headquarters]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:51:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/136142864.jpg

Sears Holdings laid off more than 100 corporate employees Wednesday, the company announced.

About 100 workers at their Hoffman Estates headquarters found out their jobs were cut effective immediately on Wednesday with about 15 additional people receiving the same news at other offices.

The layoffs were made in various departments across the organization, according to the struggling retailer.

“These decisions are never taken lightly, but they are a necessary part of our efforts to transform the company and return it to profitability,” Sears spokesperson Howard Riefs said in a statement. “We are committed to treating these associates with respect and compassion during this process.”

Eligible associates will receive outplacement services and severance to assist in their transition, Rieds said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[First Whole Foods in Former Dominick's Set to Open]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:16:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+21.JPG

The first Whole Foods store in a former Dominick's is set to open Wednesday in the Streeterville neighborhood.

The new location, at 255 E. Grand Ave., features several new shopping and dining experiences, including a coffee and wine bar, a living wall, a RAW vegan food venue, a shopping concierge service, a juice bar and a ramen bar.

"Whole Foods Market loves Chicago and we know that the community has been hungry for this store to open for some time," said Michael Bashaw, the Midwest regional president of Whole Foods. "We took the time to design and build a brand new store for this community that would offer not just a full-service grocery store, but a place to meet friends and share each other's company."

For opening day on Wednesday, the store will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Ald. Brendan Reilly at 8:45 a.m. After the ceremony, members of the Streeterville community can sample food, and the first 500 customers will receive a gift card.

The Streeterville store is the first of four new Whole Foods that will open by May of this year. The next one is set to open in Lincoln Park near DePaul University on Feb. 25 followed by one in the West Loop on March 25 and one in Edgewater on April 29. Three additional stores will open by the end of 2015.

<![CDATA[Pet Food Maker Issues Recall Over Listeria Concern]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:00:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JJ-Fud.jpg

A Valparaiso, Indiana pet food manufacturer on Monday issued a recall of several items due to listeria concerns.

J.J. Fuds' frozen Premium Natural Blends, Chicken Tender Chunks pet food comes in 5-pound bags and was sold in five Midwest states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The items have product a UPC / batch ID number of 654592-345935. The manufacture date or lot codes on the bags say 5/5/14.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should return to retailer for a refund and proper disposal.

Consumers with questions can visit jjfuds.com or call 888-435-5873 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

<![CDATA[Avec, Alinea Top Zagat's 50 Best Restaurants in Chicago]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:46:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/FoodWineMagazine_Chicago-Koren-Grieveson.JPG

The votes are in for Chicago's best restaurants of the year according to Zagat.

The restaurant review site surveyed thousands of people across the country and analyzed the results for each city based on ratings and reviews from 2014. Each restaurant was given a score out of 30. The result was a list of the top 50 best restaurants in the city.

Topping the list in Chicago is Avec Restaurant, which serves Mediterranean food in the West Loop. Rounding out the top five are Alinea; Frontera Grill; Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab; and Katsu Japanese Restaurant.

The list can be sorted by food, decor, service and price. Using just one of these metrics, however, changes the order on the list quite a bit. The top restaurant for decor is North Pond in Lincoln Park, which came in at No. 48 overall. Alinea took the top spot for service, and Top Notch Beefburgers in Beverly took first place in price at $13 per meal.

The top 50 restaurants in Chicago are as follows:

Avec Restaurant: Mediterranean - West Loop

Alinea: American - Lincoln Park

Frontera Grill: Mexican - River North

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab : Seafood - River North

Katsu Japanese Restaurant: Japanese - West Rogers Park

Les Nomades: French - Streeterville

Next: Eclectic - West Loop

Longman & Eagle: American - Logan Square

Grace: New American - West Loop

Arami: Japanese - East Village

Spiaggia: Italian - Magnificent Mile

Topolobampo: Mexican - River North

Tanta: Peruvian - River North

Naha: American - River North

MK: American - River North

Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse: Steakhouse - Gold Coast

Girl and the Goat: American - West Loop

The Purple Pig: Mediterranean - Magnificent Mile

Publican Quality Meats: American - West Loop

Goosefoot: American - Ravenswood

Smoque BBQ: Barbecue - Irving Park

Arun's: Thai - Irving Park

Riccardo Trattoria: Italian - Lincoln Park

Au Cheval: American - West Loop

Nightwood: American - Pilsen

Sabatino's: Italian - Irving Park

Travelle: Mediterranean - River North

Kuma's Corner: Burgers - Avondale

Xoco: Mexican - River North

Brindille: French - River North

Mixteco Grill: Mexican - Lakeview

Homestead: American - East Village

Lawry's The Prime Rib: Steakhouse - River North

Top Notch Beefburgers: Burgers - Beverly

Chicago Chop House: Steakhouse - River North

Benny's Chop House: Steakhouse - River North

Nico Osteria: Italian - Gold Coast

Kai Zan: Japanese - Humboldt Park

Mercat a la Planxa: Spanish - South Loop

Everest Restaurant: French - the Loop

The Capital Grille: Steakhouse - Streeterville

A Tavola: Italian - Ukrainian Village

The Publican: American - West Loop

Blackbird Restaurant: American - West Loop

Pequod's Pizza: Pizza - Lincoln Park

Big and Little's: Seafood - Lakeview

Green Zebra: Vegetarian - Noble Square

North Pond: American - Lincoln Park

Turquoise Restaurant: Turkish - Roscoe Village

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria: Pizza - River North

Photo Credit: Carly Fisher]]>
<![CDATA[Andersonville Ranks No. 7 in Redfin's Hottest Neighborhoods for 2015]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:16:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/andersonville.jpg

The real estate website Redfin released its annual list of the nation's hottest neighborhoods for home buyers in 2015, and one Chicago hood landed a top spot.

Andersonville, located on the city's North Side, came in at No. 7 on Redfin's list and is the only Chicago neighborhood in the top 10.

Redfin ranked neighborhoods in 27 major metro areas across the U.S. based on total page views on their site, total favorites and the prevalence of "Redfin Hot Homes," defined as homes with a 70 percent chance or higher of having an accepted offer within their first two weeks on the market.

The site claims that this year's neighborhood hot list shows a trend toward affordability as a home's most valuable asset. Many of the top neighborhoods are not located in the city's trendiest area and may be located further from the city center, but they are nonetheless more affordable and still convenient.

Andersonville is located near the CTA's Red Line and has easy access to many bus lines, including the 22, which runs down Clark Street. Clayton Jirak, a Redfin real estate agent for the Lakeview, Ravenswood, North Center and Lincoln Square neighborhoods, said the housing options in Andersonville are attractive for both first-time and experienced buyers.

"The abundance of charming small businesses along Clark Street paired with frequent neighborhood street festivals make Andersonville its own little village in the city of neighborhoods," Jirak said in the Redfin report.

The No. 1 neighborhood in the U.S. this year is Dickinson Narrows in Philadelphia, followed by East Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga.; Little Neck in Queens, NY; Bohemia in Long Island, NY; Curtis Park in Sacramento, Calif.; Woodridge in Seattle, Wash.; Crocker in San Francisco; and Woodridge in Washington, D.C.

Last year, the only Chicago neighborhood to make the list was Humboldt Park, which came in at No. 10. This neighborhood was one of the strongest predictions, as Redfin recently reported that the median sale price in Humboldt Park went up 62 percent in 2014.

Although Andersonville was the only Chicago neighborhood to top the list this year, Redfin also ranked the top five neighborhoods in each of the 27 metro areas reviewd. The top five in Chicago area for 2015 are Andersonville, Garfield Ridge, Brighton Park, Lakeshore Historic District in Evanston and Ishnala in Palos Heights.

Photo Credit: seanziecrews/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Frank Meats Patty Opens in Former Hot Doug's Home]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:54:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/frank+meats+patty+sign.jpg

Friday marks the day when the former home of famed encased meat eatery Hot Doug’s officially becomes Frank Meats Patty.

The new restaurant, which offered free food to its first 20 customers Friday morning, looks to give meat eaters an entirely new experience.

Frank Meats Patty is owned by the group behind Fatso’s Last Stand and Lockdown Bar & Grill, and judging by their menu, will likely aim to be a more traditional burger and hot dog locale, shifting away from the wild ingredient-filled meals, extremely long lines and unusual hours boasted by their Avondale predecessor.

But traditional shouldn’t be confused with boring.

In their menu posted online, the restaurant offers meals ranging from Single Fatso burgers to the “Ooey Gooey” burger, Char Cheddar Dogs, a Shrimp Po’ Boy, a game burger of the month (this month’s is a buffalo sausage burger with pepper jack) and more.

The restaurant also showed off on social media a new Duck Foie Gras sausage burger with caramelized onions, truffle mustard, roasted shallots, cherries and Foie mousse. Need we say more?

The transition may officially mark the end of an encased meat-eating era at California and Roscoe, but it also looks to be the start of a new meat age.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com
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<![CDATA[Tiffany & Co. Undergoes Magnificent Mile Makeover]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:01:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/461436280.jpg

Tiffany & Co. is revamping its Magnificent Mile flagship store and construction is reportedly already underway.

The overhaul aims to create a more modern aesthetic and open layout for people perusing the upscale jewelry store.

Edward Gerard, group vice president of U.S. retail sales for Tiffany & Co., told the Chicago Tribune the blueprint for the changes include expanding the sales floor by nearly 10 percent and outfitting the space with additional seating options and luxurious finishes such as marble, polished metal and velvet drapery.

"All consumers are becoming more discerning as it relates to how they shop, and experience is a differentiator," Gerard said to the Tribune.

The publication reported the 15,000-square-foot store front has consistently been one of the top performers for the iconic brand, which is why it will be the first of Tiffany’s four Chicago stores to receive the upgrades.

"Any way you look at it, Michigan Avenue plays an important role in the global retail stage, and it warrants the type of investment we're making," Gerard continued.

Shoppers can expect the renovations to be complete by September.

<![CDATA[Target Launches New Plus-Size Clothing Line]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:51:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/240*120/AVA+VIV+Header.jpg

Target has announced plans to unveil a new clothing line designed specifically for plus-size women.

The line, expected to arrive in mid-February, was designed by Target's in-house design team and features "stylish basics along with trend-driven statement pieces that fashionistas will love," the company said in a release Wednesday.

Similar to Target’s other apparel line, the new AVA & VIV clothing will be updated monthly, with prices ranging from $10 to $79.99.

“Target is synonymous with great design, and with the launch of AVA & VIV, we’re stepping up our fashion game for our Plus-size guests,” Stacia Andersen, senior vice president of merchandising, apparel and accessories at Target said in a statement. “From stylish original prints to the attention to detail and fit, this line is meant to impress and we can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

As part of their latest line launch, the Minneapolis-based retailer enlisted the help of a blogger who once called for a boycott of the company. Chastity Garner, along with fellow plus-size bloggers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason, were hired to help promote the line and give feedback on the newest collection.

Last August, Garner announced she was boycotting Target after the company released their Altuzarra for Target collection.

"Year after year, season after season, you put out these gorgeous designer collections and you almost never include a plus range. Every time each of these collections is about to be released it feels like a slap in the face," Garner wrote. “You may ask, ‘Is there any way I will take you back?’ I will take you back, when and only when, you include true plus sizes in your designer range collaborations. Until then, I will take my money elsewhere."

The line will be available on Target.com on Feb. 22 and will arrive in stores mid-February through March, the company said.

Photo Credit: Target
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<![CDATA[McDonald's Workers File Civil Rights Lawsuit]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:11:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/mcdonalds-sign1.JPG

Several McDonald’s workers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the company Thursday alleging a “widespread pattern of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment” at some stores.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia by 10 former employees, claims the company last May simultaneously fired more than a dozen black workers from three Virginia stores who “didn’t fit the profile” desired at its restaurants.

“All of a sudden, they let me go, for no other reason than I ‘didn’t fit the profile’ they wanted at the store,” plaintiff Willie Betts, who was a cook at one of the McDonald’s, said in a statement. “I had no idea what they meant by the right profile until I saw everyone else that they fired as well. I worked at McDonald’s for almost five years, I was on time every day at four o’clock in the morning to open the store, and I never had a disciplinary write-up. They took away the only source of income I have to support my family.”

The complaint claims highest-ranking supervisors regularly called one of the locations the “ghetto store,” referred to black workers as “ghetto” and “ratchet,” and disciplined them for rule infractions that were forgiven when committed by white workers. One supervisor allegedly touched female workers on their legs and buttocks, discussed sexual activities with female workers and offered better working conditions in exchange for sexual favors, according to the complaint.

It further alleges that the McDonald’s Corp. representative who conducted regular inspection visits at the stores had learned of the terminations soon after they occurred on May 12, but took no action. The stores were located in Clarkesville and South Boston, according to the suit.

“We asked McDonald’s corporate to help us get our jobs back, but the company told us to take our concerns to the franchisee – the same franchisee that just fired us,” plaintiff Pamela Marable said in a statement. “McDonald’s closely monitors everything we do, from the speed of the drive-through line, to the way we smile and fold customers’ bags – but when we try to tell the company that we’re facing discrimination, they ignore us and say that it’s not their problem.”

Several workers say they contacted their local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People last year to report the harassment and discrimination.

“The treatment of these McDonald’s workers seems like it’s out of another era, but sadly the racism is a reality they are confronting today,” Rev. Kevin Chandler, president of the South Boston Chapter of the NAACP and Vice President of the NAACP Virginia State Conference, said in a statement. “The South Boston NAACP will stand with these fired workers until McDonald’s takes responsibility for the inhumane treatment these workers faced in its stores.”

Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s said it has not seen the lawsuit and “cannot comment on its allegations, but will review the matter carefully.”

“McDonald’s has a long-standing history of embracing the diversity of employees, independent Franchisees, customers and suppliers, and discrimination is completely inconsistent with our values,” the company said in a statement. “McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.”

The complaint filed Thursday brings harassment and discrimination claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Section 1981.

“This is a problem that goes far beyond these stores in Virginia – it’s a problem with McDonald’s business model itself when workers at the company have nowhere to turn,” Kendall Fells, Organizing Director of Fast Food Forward, said in a statement. “McDonald’s has the power to fix this problem, but instead it chooses to skirt its responsibility and hide behind its franchise model.”

In response to the suit, the Fight for $15 movement launched a toll-free national hotline Thursday for McDonald’s workers across the country to report alleged incidences of harassment and abuse at their workplace. Workers can report the incidents by calling (855) 729-2869.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How McDonald's Fries Are Made]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:27:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McDonalds-fries.jpg

If you were wondering how McDonald’s fries are made, or what they’re made of, you’re not alone.

As the world’s largest hamburger chain tries to shed its reputation of being “junk food,” the company released a video showing the process behind the making of their popular French fries, with the help of Mythbusters' Grant Imahara.

The YouTube video is the latest in a series of videos as part of the Oak Brook-based chain's recently launched marketing campaign to address common questions about its food, such as whether the beef has worms (the company's answer: "No. Gross! End of story.")

Last month, McDonald's USA President Mike Andres outlined improvements the company is working on, including the simplification of ingredient labels. Without providing details, he said to expect some changes in early 2015. The remarks came after the company reported a 4.6 percent decline in U.S. sales for November, capping two years of struggling performance.

"Why do we need to have preservatives in our food?" Andres asked, noting McDonald's restaurants go through supplies quickly. "We probably don't."

Andres said McDonald's is looking at different cooking and holding procedures to enhance the appeal of its core items, as well as shrinking the number of ingredients it uses. He noted McDonald's restaurants go through supplies quickly, meaning it may be a relatively easy task.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Plans for Woodfield Mall Renovation Revealed]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:39:58 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/woodfield+mall+rendering.jpg

Officials on Tuesday revealed plans for a major renovation at Woodfield Mall this year.

The nearly $14 million project, dubbed a “style evolution,” looks to give the mall modern updates and improve traffic flow for retailers and customers, according to the developer Audrey Thompson, regional vice president at Simon Malls.

“It was important for us to maintain Woodfield’s unique environment,” Thompson said.

The renovation plans include replacing much of the mall’s brick features, particularly those in Center Court, adding an elevator and replacing two existing elevators, adding two escalators, and revamping the seating areas throughout the mall.

“It will be a complete update of the center,” Thompson said. “It will improve the visibility for our tenants. It will also greatly enhance the traffic and flow for our customers and visitors.”

Thompson also noted that the renovation will include new signage for shoppers, flooring replacements and other “aesthetically pleasing finishes.”

The changes are expected to be made this year, but the mall plans to remained open during construction, said General Manager David Gott.

"We’re pretty excited because what we’re talking about today is the continuing evolution of Woodfield Mall," Gott said. "This style evolution that we’re talking about here isn’t just good news for the customers, it’s good news for the local economy."

The mall currently features nearly 300 stores and restaurants, according to its website.

The mall’s last renovation was reportedly 20 years ago, when 50 stores were added, including a three-story Nordstrom.

Last month, officials announced plans to add a Pac-Man inspired restaurant.

“Woodfield mall is the hub of our downtown,” said Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson. “We are viewed as a downtown of the northwest suburbs.”

<![CDATA[Victory Auto Wreckers to Launch Contest for New Commercial]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:34:17 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/junkyard+generic+getty.jpg

For TV watchers across the Chicago area, the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial has been a staple in the local television advertising diet for years -- 30 years to be exact. But the Bensenville business is planning to make some big changes this year, including a new and improved version of the decades-old advertisement.

Kyle Weisner, the owner of Victory Auto Wreckers, says the family-owned business is launching a contest to invite fans to make their version of the now easily recognized commercial to celebrate its 30th anniversary in May, according to the Daily Herald. Entrants will have the option to make a whole new commercial or re-create the classic one.

The advertisement, which was filmed in 1985 but looks even older, features a man attempting to open the door of his car only to find the entire door has been unhinged. He then brings the car to Victory Auto Wreckers, who pay him in $20 bills, which the auto worker fans out before handing the to him.

Victory Auto Wreckers, which is located near O'Hare Airport, has been around even longer than its commercial. Weisner is a third-generation owner of the business, which was founded at the end of World War II, according to the business's website.

The auto business is making other big changes this year, in addition to the new advertisement contest, to modernize and update it, according to the Daily Herald. These changes include paving over the lot where the used cars sit. Weisner said its 10-acre grounds have been known for their muddiness and sloppiness no matter the weather as much as the business is known for its commercial. Paving over the mud will solve that problem.

The business has made other updates in the past to trump the junkyard steroetype, Weisner told the Daily Herald, including getting rid of junkyard dogs as its security system. They now use cameras, like most businesses.

Amid all the changes, however, one thing will remain the same. As they say in the advertisement, "That old car might be worth money." And that fact remains true to this day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[New Chicago Whole Foods Stores to Have Restaurants, Bars]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:42:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/exterior+window.jpg

Whole Foods’ new Chicago storefronts will have completely unique shopping, dining and drinking experiences tailored towards the residents of each neighborhood, the company said in a release.

Four of the seven new Chicago locations – all former Dominick’s stores that were acquired by the upscale grocer – are set to open by May of 2015, the company said. The first of the openings will be their new Streeterville location on Jan. 28.

Streeterville’s launch will be followed by one in Lincoln Park off of DePaul University’s campus on Feb. 29, the West Loop on March 25 and Edgewater on April 29.

How these stores differ from other Whole Foods is not the neighborhoods they are located in but what’s inside.

Here's what shoppers can expect when the new storefronts open this year:

• RAW: Special venue filled with products from Chicago’s own local raw and vegan foods restaurant RAW. This new venue will offer a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options for our shoppers who follow raw and vegan diets.

• Red Star Bar: Rotating tap of 12 draft beers including an exclusive Streeterville Pale Ale brewed by Begyle Brewing just for the Streeterville store.

• Coffee bar by day, wine bar by night: Customers can stop in for a cup of espresso from the La Marzocco espresso machine to get their day going in the morning and return after work for a nice glass of wine to wind down the day.

• Focaccia: A bakery will have a rotating menu of classic and seasonal varieties of breakfast, lunch and dinner options for shoppers.

• New Whole Body Department: Apothecary setting that includes a self-sufficient vertical garden. A first for Chicago Whole Foods Market locations, this new concept includes cosmetics, DIY ideas, face care, and active living support.

The extensive array of dining options are just the first step in the direction Whole Foods is heading. Michael Bashaw, president of Whole Foods' Midwest region, told Crain’s Chicago they plan to continue experimenting with full-service eateries that even further differentiate them from the typical standard grocery store.

Whole Foods looks to be not only a place to shop, but a place to hang out, socialize, drink and dine – even if you don’t need groceries.

“In any business, you constantly need to reinvent yourself,” Bashaw told the publication. “People would get bored if we do the same thing year after year. That's what's driving this, and I don't expect it to stop.”

Photo Credit: Whole Foods]]>
<![CDATA[Interview Tips to Avoid Embarrassing First Impressions]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:25:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PHI+job+interview+questions.jpg

Job interviews can be intimidating. 

Employers maintain that an applicant's performance in the interview often decides whether or not they get the job.

According to a survey by employment site CareerBuilder, almost half of employers say they know within the first five minutes of a interview if the applicant is a good fit. After 15 minutes, nearly 90 percent of employers have made their judgment.

In order to better your chances of getting the job, try to avoid making the most common mistakes in those crucial first minutes.

The most common body language mistakes during interviews include failing to make eye contact, playing with something on the table, having bad posture, fidgeting too much and crossing your arms over your chest, according to employers who participated in the survey.

Other mistakes include coming off too strong or too weak. For example, employers cited both weak handshakes and handshakes that were too strong as mistakes.

While it's important to stand out in a pool of applicants with similar backgrounds, interviewees should also be careful not to overdo it. Some employers in the survey recalled stories about applicants who exhibited unusual behavior and left a bad impression as a result.

One employer said a candidate introduced himself by name, but then followed it up with, "But you can call me Tigger! That is the nickname I gave myself." Another brought 50 ink pens to the interview and then proceeded to spread them out on the table.

One interviewer said a candidate tried to Google the answer to a question while another sat in a yoga pose during the interview.

"Acing the job interview isn't just about what you say in response to the interviewer's questions," Rosemary Haefner, the vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, said. "It's also about what your body language says about you. Employers are looking for those non-verbal cues to indicate a candidate's level of professionalism and if they will be the right fit for the position."

To ensure a good first impression and a successful interview, Haefner provided five key tips: 

1. Rehearse: Practice your interview skills with friends or family members and have them give you feedback on your body language during the mock interview.

2. Record yourself practicing: Watching yourself during an interview can help you see any mistakes you might be making.

3. Have your "elevator pitch" ready: The "elevator pitch" can be the perfect answer when employers ask you to tell them about yourself. Be ready to back up the claims you make with examples and experience.

4. Do your homework on the company and the person interviewing you: Research the company ahead of time and come prepared with questions for the interviewer.

5. Remember to breathe: Taking a few deep breaths before the interview can help manage the anxiety that leads to fidgeting and nervous behaviors.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ricketts Family Buys Three Wrigley Field Rooftop Properties]]> Sat, 17 Jan 2015 13:17:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wrigley+field+rooftop+view.jpg

The family that owns the Chicago Cubs recently purchased three rooftop properties adjecent to Wrigley Field that give visitors a view of the ballpark.

The Ricketts family bought two properties on Sheffield Avenue and one on Waveland Avenue, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

The property at 3639 N. Sheffield Ave., which for more than 30 years was co-owned by Jim Lourgos, was sold to the Ricketts on Jan. 9 for $4.2 million, according to Crain's. Two other properties at 3643-3645 N. Sheffield Ave. and 1032-1034 W. Waveland Ave., both previously owned by George Loukas, were also sold to the Ricketts for an undisclosed price.

The ongoing renovation of Wrigley Field has caused tension among the Ricketts family, the City of Chicago and the owners of the rooftop businesses, some of whom feel the renovation plan deprives them of their property rights. As a result, the owners of eight rooftop businesses sued the City of Chicago in August.

Construction on the $575 million renovation officially began in September when baseball season ended. The renovation will include an expansion of the bleachers in both outfields, an addition of seven new outfield signs and a 2,400-square-foot video scoreboard.

<![CDATA[Bud Light to Deliver Beer With New App]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:48:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bud+Light+App.jpg

Some Bud Light lovers can now get beer delivered to their door with the tap of a smartphone screen.

With two weeks to go until Super Bowl Sunday, Anheuser-Busch has introduced a new app offering home delivery of Bud Light in less than an hour.

The free app "Bud Light Button" made its debut in Washington, D.C., this week. It provides Bud Light during the legal hours that alcohol is allowed to be sold in the city. The company said a "nominal" delivery fee will be charged, but did not specify the amount.

As of Thursday, D.C. residents of legal drinking age were able to order between one and 100 cases of beer with just the touch of a button.

The app is part of Bud Light’s "Up for Whatever" campaign to encourage customers to have spontaneous fun.

David J. Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, said the app follows with a broader trend dry counties becoming wet and the decline of blue law prohibitions against Sunday sales of alcohol.

"I think a lot of people will be willing to pay the extra fee for home delivery. Hopefully it will decrease the number of drinking and driving injuries as well," said Hanson, who has researched alcohol and drinking for more than 40 years.

He hopes to see the app spreading to all 50 states, predicting that it will do well if the company sees people vote with their dollars... or with their pointer fingers.

However, Emily Feinstein, director of Health Law and Policy of CASAColumbia, a non-profit organization affiliated with Columbia University that helps Americans with addiction and substance abuse, has raised concern about giving a tap to this app. 

“Any use of technology that encourages excessive drinking or increase access to alcohol for teens is a serious public health concern,” Feinstein said.
She believes that young people will be harmed the most by this app as “enticing alcohol promotions like these have been shown repeatedly to increase the risk of drinking and the volume of alcohol consumed.” 

CASAColumbia warns that excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of premature death, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths among working-age adults.
Colleen Sheehey-Church, national president of Mothers Against Drinking and Driving is still worried about the excessive alcohol consumption taking place inside D.C. homes. 

“MADD urges adults that any time alcohol is purchased - at a store, by mobile device, or elsewhere - to always designate a non-drinking driver if they choose to drink,” Sheehey-Church said.  

The app is currently only available on Android-powered smart phones; an IOS version is coming soon.

For more information on how to download the app, click here.

<![CDATA[Goose Island and 1871 Startup Zero Percent Team up to Launch Beer for Good Cause]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:24:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/170*120/4676513231.jpg

Goose Island Brewpub has teamed up with local startup and 1871 company Zero Percent to create a beer that helps the Chicago community.

The “Zero Percent” tribute beer, to be brewed by Goose Island, is an Extra Special Bitter on nitro, the company said in a statement. The proceeds of the specialty brew will go towards reducing food cost and alleviating hunger within the community.

Zero Percent describes itself as a startup that makes it easy for restaurants and grocery stores to reduce waste by coordinating the pickup of excess food and delivering it to local nonprofit partners.

With the new partnership, Zero Percent will also rescue Goose Island’s surplus food and donate it to local shelters, soup kitchens and pantries each week, according to an 1871 spokesperson.

Goose Island at 1800 North Clybourn Avenue will be launching the beer Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at the brewery.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Duck Boat Tours May Come to Chicago River]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:41:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ride+the+ducks+tour.jpg

Duck boat tours could make a splashy debut in the Chicago River as early as mid-summer.

Entertainment Cruises, a cruise operator based in Navy Pier, has submitted a proposal to lead the tours using duck boats, named because of their ability to traverse land and water, according to Dan Russell, the vice president and general manager of the company.

Duck boat tours already exist in several cities with easy access to waterways around the U.S., including Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia.There used to be a small operation of duck boat tours in Chicago in the late 1990s that took tourists into the lake by Burnham Harbor, but the operation only lasted a couple of years, Russell said.

Entertainment Cruises' duck boat tours would begin at Navy Pier and visit several sites in the city on water and on land, including River North, the Magnificent Mile, the Museum Campus and Millennium Park. Russell estimates the tour would last about one hour and 15 minutes, but he said the time would probably fluctuate based on traffic both on the road and in the river.

If the tour is approved to come to Chicago, ramps would need to be constructed at Marina Towers and West Polk Street. The ramps would be 25 feet long and 73 feet wide, according to the Chicago Tribune. Before the cruise company can begin, however, several agencies need to approve the proposal, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Marina Towers, according to the Tribune.

Russell said the company is in the "latter stages" of planning now, and he expects the plans to be finalized and approved in the next 30 days.

There will not be an official opening date for the tours until the proposal is approved by all necessary parties, but Russell said he is hoping the tours could start with a partial season this summer or a full season next year.

Chicago already has several boat tours, including Shoreline Sightseeing's Chicago Architectural Boat Tour and Navy Pier's dinner cruises, but none of the current tours utilize one vehicle both onshore and offshore.

"Chicago is a magnificent city for tourists to visit and for our own residents," Russell said. "Viewing it from land as it is is wonderful and from the water as it is as well."

Photo Credit: Ride the Ducks]]>
<![CDATA[Construction Begins on Bronzeville Mariano's]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:56:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bob_mariano_2-17.jpg

Construction has begun on a new Mariano's grocery store on Chicago's South Side, which is expected to open next year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with two aldermen and Bob Mariano, broke ground on the new site at the intersection of 39th Street and King Drive on Thursday. The site, which has been sitting vacant for several years, is located in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

"At Mariano's, we make it our business to take care of people -- that's why we're joining the Bronzeville community and are honored to be part of its revitalization efforts," Mariano, the chairman and CEO of Roundy's, Inc., which owns Mariano's, said in a statement.

Construction of the 74,000-square-foot facility will create more than 200 construction-related jobs and 400 permanent jobs, according to the mayor's office.

Mariano's is working with Phil Johnson of Johnson & Lee Architects to build the store. Johnson, a Bronzeville resident, also designed the Ping Tom Memorial Park boathouse in Chinatown, which opened in 2013.

"I'm very excited that the Bronzeville Mariano's is moving forward," Alderman William D. Burns, of the 4th ward, said in a statement. "The project will create a great grocery store and hundreds of construction and permanent jobs. This is the kind of development that we have wanted in Bronzeville for a long time."

Mariano's says it has created thousands of jobs in Chicago and opened 29 stores in the Chicago area.

Ahead of the store opening, Mariano's will continue its practice of hosting a career fair for both experienced and entry-level local candidates to meet with store recruiters and learn about the job opportunities to come.

"This new store will ... provide an economic opportunity for Bronzeville and as importantly, it will also provide the opportunity that every family deserves to get healthy food in their own neighborhood," the mayor said in a statement.

The other Mariano's locations in Chicago are in Bridgeport, Bucktown, Edgewater, Jefferson Park, Lakeshore East, Ravenswood, Roscoe Village, the South Loop, the West Loop and Ukrainian Village.

<![CDATA[Target to Shut Down Stores in Canada]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:02:32 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/453903966.jpg

Target is shutting down in Canada.

Target Corp. Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said Thursday that the company was unable to find a realistic scenario in which the 133-store Target Canada would become profitable before at least 2021. It is Cornell's first major move since becoming CEO in August.

Cornell, who's been tasked with maintaining the retailer's momentum and reclaiming its image as a purveyor of cheap chic fashions and home decor, said it was a difficult decision "but it was the right decision for our company."

"We have determined that it is in the best interest of our business and our shareholders to exit the Canadian market and focus on driving growth and building further momentum in our U.S. business," he added.

Cornell said Target Canada worked hard to fix its operations and improve its relationship with customers, but that it didn't see the changes it was looking for over the holiday period.

Target entered Canada in 2013. While operations there improved before the holiday season due to changes in pricing and product assortment, Target still wasn't satisfied with its performance.

Target faced problems from the get go when it entered Canada. There are costly regulations, a slow economy and increasing competition. Its experience in Canada hasn't been unique, though. Big Lots Inc. and Best Buy Co. have shuttered stores there and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has seen its sales in Canada weaken.

The retailer said Thursday that it anticipates approximately $5.4 billion in fourth-quarter losses from discontinued operations in Canada. It foresees about $275 million of losses on discontinued operations in fiscal 2015.

Target expects cash costs for the exit to be between $500 million and $600 million, with most of those costs taking place in fiscal 2015 or later. The retailer said that it has sufficient resources to fund the expected costs.

Target Corp. currently has 17,600 employees at its 133 Canadian stores. It has 1,801 stores in the U.S.

The company said that it is seeking court approval to voluntarily make about $59 million in cash contributions into an employee trust. Once approved by the court, the proposed trust would give almost all of Target's Canada workers a minimum of 16 weeks of compensation, including wages and benefits coverage for employees not needed for the entire winding down of the business.

Target Canada stores will stay open during liquidation.

Target Corp. anticipates its exit from the Canada market will increase its earnings in fiscal 2015 and beyond and boost its cash flow in fiscal 2016 and beyond.

Target also announced that it now foresees fourth-quarter sales at U.S. stores open at least a year up about 3 percent. Its previous outlook was for an approximately 2 percent increase. The chain said its raised forecast was due to its performance for the holiday period including November and December. The Minneapolis company said that it had higher traffic and better-than-expected online sales during the period.

Sales at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Target anticipates fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.43 to $1.47 per share.

The company's stock gained $4.21, or 5.7 percent, to $78.54 before the market open.

Photo Credit: Lucas Oleniuk/ Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[85-Pound Beagle Inspires Weight-Loss Challenge]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:25:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kale+chips+cover+photo.jpg

For those looking for inspiration to stick to their New Year's weight-loss resolutions, look no further than Kale Chips, an 85-pound beagle that was rescued in Chicago last week.

Kale Chips was rescued by local animal rescue One Tail at a Time, who said the dog was so overweight he could hardly walk and had to be wheeled out in a wagon. Now, however, Kale Chips is getting a second chance at fitness.

"Kale Chips will be adopting a more active and healthy lifestyle in 2015," the rescue organization said on its website.

The organization has spun Kale Chips' own fitness journey into a fitness challenge and fundraiser. In the Team Kale Chips Challenge, participants select a number of miles to log -- either by walking, running, biking, swimming or a combination -- by the end of February and pledge to donate a certain amount per mile.

All proceeds from the fundraisers go to One Tail at a Time, a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue in Chicago.

To support the participants' and Kale Chips' fitness journeys and spread the word, the organization is encouraging people to use the hashtag #TeamKaleChips on social media.

<![CDATA[IKEA Issues Mattress Recall]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:03:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ikea-mattress.jpg

Furniture maker IKEA this week issued a recall of crib mattresses that pose an entrapment hazard to infants.

The company said the crib mattresses could create a gap between the mattress and crib ends that's larger than allowed by federal regulations.

There are five models impacted by Tuesday's recall: the Vackert, the Vinka, the Spelevink, the Sloa and the Slummer. The mattresses were sold online and in stores for about $100 between August 2010 and May 2014.

An identification label attached to the mattress cover has the date of manufacture in Month-DD-YYYY format and the VYSSA model name. Consumers should stop using the mattresses and return them to an Ikea store for a refund or replacement.

The Consumer Product and Safety Commission said there have been two reports of infants becoming trapped between the mattress and the end of a crib. Those children were removed without injury, the CPSC said.

<![CDATA[Juicy Fruit Returns to Television with New Advertisements]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:28:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/juicy+fruit.jpg

Wrigley's oldest chewing gum brand is getting a television rebirth. Starting this week, Juicy Fruit will return to television with some new advertisements, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

The new ad campaign includes two advertisements that use childish non-verbal noises as a means of communication, including two middle-aged men making "fart noises" with their armpits in a locker room and two children pulling the zippers on their hoodies up and down.

Juicy Fruit is marketed as "a sweet piece of fun" and "a fun experience for the whole family," according to Chicago-based Wm. J. Wrigley Jr.

Juicy Fruit was first introduced in 1893 and is the oldest brand in the Wrigley family, but it has not been featured in television advertisements since 2009, according to Crain's. Instead, the company has focused on other chewing gum and mint brands, ncluding 5 gum, Altoids, Extra and Orbit.

The two advertisements, called "Armpit" and "Zipper," feature the fun and family-friendly aspect of the Juicy Fruit brand, and one of the ads gives a plug to the brand's newest product -- Juicy Fruit in Starburst flavors. (Starburst is another Wrigley product.)

The advertisements hit the air waves on Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cadbury Changes Recipe for Creme Egg, Outrages Fans]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:45:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/484044769.jpg

Cadbury Creme Egg fans received some rotten news this week.

Cadbury, owned by Illinois-based Kraft, has changed its recipe for the Creme Eggs and will no longer use its signature Dairy Milk chocolate for the treats' shells.

The gooey chocolate treats, long considered an Easter candy staple, will now be made with “a standard, traditional Cadbury milk chocolate,” a spokeswoman for Kraft's Mondelez International said in a statement.

“The fundamentals of the Cadbury Creme Egg remain exactly the same – delicious milk chocolate and the unique crème centre that consumers love,” the statement read. “We have always used a range of milk chocolate blends for different products, depending on their shape or consistency.”

The change, which only applies to Cadbury eggs in the United Kingdom, sparked outrage from fans of the iconic candy.

“The product that Americans know and love and can find this time of year has not changed,” said Anna LIngeris, a spokeswoman for The Hershey Company, which manufacturers and distributes Cadbury products in the United States.

According to Cadbury’s website, the company makes about 500 million creme eggs a year, nearly two-thirds of which are consumed in the UK.

The recipe change is not the first upset for lovers of the “yolk-filled” chocolate candy, as it comes shortly after news that packages would now come with only five eggs instead of six.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Local Company Chosen as Dessert Sponsor for Golden Globes]]> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 18:34:29 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000010522271_1200x675_382564419630.jpg A suburban company was chosen as one of the dessert sponsors for the Golden Globes. LeeAnn Trotter reports.]]> <![CDATA[Major Renovation Planned for Woodfield Mall]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:35:18 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/woodfield_mall_black_friday.jpg

Woodfield Mall is expected to undergo a major renovation this year.

According to reports, the suburban shopping center has applied for a construction permit for the project, which is estimated to cost at least $13.8 million.

The Chicago Tribune reports details surrounding the renovations aren’t being released yet, but the plans will be unveiled at a private breakfast on Jan. 20.

The intended upgrade is slotted to take place in 2015, but likely won’t include an addition or amusement park-type amenities, the Tribune reported.

The mall currently features nearly 300 stores and restaurants, according to its website.

The mall’s last renovation was reportedly 20 years ago, when 50 stores were added, including a three-story Nordstrom.

Last month, officials announced plans to add a Pac-Man inspired restaurant.

Photo Credit: WMAQ]]>
<![CDATA[Groupon Co-Founder Buys $19.5 Million Suburban Mansion]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 15:27:37 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/eric+lefkofsky.jpg

One of the co-founders of Chicago-based Groupon has purchased a mansion in Glencoe for a hefty $19.5 million, which he paid in cash.

Eric Lefkofsky, 45, is now the owner of the home with the biggest pricetag in the Chicago area. The 15,800-square-foot vintage mansion sits on four acres of land next to Lake Michigan in north suburban Glencoe, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Lefkofsky bought the home from an estate whose beneficiaries included David Helfand, a co-president of Chicago-based Equity Group, and his wife, Leslie Bluhm.

The property reportedly contains a tennis court and a pool, but Lefkofsky plans to expand the amenities, according to the Tribune. The Chicago-based architecture company Studio Gang Architects is working on a nearly $700,000 addition that will house a gym and a spa.

In addition to his role at Groupon, Lefkofsky is one of the co-founders of Chicago-based venture firm Lightbank and several technology companies, including Echo Global Logistics, InnerWorkings and MediaOcean. In 2013, Forbes listed him as No. 395 on its list of the 400 richest people in America.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>