<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:06:49 -0600 Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:06:49 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Online Sales Surge, but Thousands Lining Up for Black Friday]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 06:28:13 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BlackFridayMacys-AP_931186516506.jpg

Thousands of shoppers are still choosing to line up in the stores to make sure they got the best deals. The tradition of getting there early was still going strong, according to NBC News.

Hundreds lined nine levels of escalators at Macy's flagship store in New York City to get Black Friday deals on Thursday.

Many more consumers opted to stay home and shop online, according to NBC News.

Online sales increased 24 percent through 11 a.m. ET Thursday, compared to the same 12-hour period on Thanksgiving last year, according to Adobe Digital Index, which tracks real-time data for retailers.

Online shops are also reporting greater sales volumes - as much as 50 percent from midnight to noon, including 31 percent at Amazon.com, online retail data aggregator, Channel Advisor, said.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Macy's]]>
<![CDATA[UnitedHealth May Withdraw From Obamacare]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 00:15:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/UnitedHealth-AP_580078387860.jpg

Experts are divided over Thursday’s news that the No. 1 U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, might withdraw from health exchanges mandated by so-called Obamacare legislation, NBC News reported.

The company lowered its earnings forecast for 2015, and expects to lose $275 million on its exchange business next year.

Critics of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, said the news pointed to a flawed system that could trigger the withdrawal by other insurers, while advocates blamed the insurer’s late, tentative entry into the market for the company’s financial stumble.

Fewer enrolled are signing up for health insurance through the exchanges. Experts say insurers taking part in the exchanges can’t break even, and customers may see premiums climb, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Will Nation's Top Health Insurer Kill Obamacare?]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 02:19:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Obamacare-Website-AP_249581118509.jpg

Thursday's news that the No. 1 U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, might withdraw from the health insurance exchanges mandated by so-called Obamacare legislation divided experts into two camps. 

On one side were critics of the Affordable Care Act, the proper name of the 2010 federal legislation, who said the news pointed to a fundamentally flawed system put in place by the law and could trigger a flight for the exits by other insurers, NBC News reported.

On the other were advocates of the law and efforts to execute its policies, who blamed UnitedHealth's late, tentative entry into the market for the company's financial stumble.

UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley stirred up the somewhat-dormant debate over Obamacare on Thursday by announcing that the company was lowering its earnings forecast for 2015 from between $6.25 and $6.35 a share to $6 a share for the year and expects to lose $275 million on its exchange business next year.

Experts say that, in terms of the numbers, UnitedHealth dropping out wouldn't be huge. Exchange enrollees comprise less than 5 percent of UnitedHealth's business, Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch said in a research note.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tyson Closing Plants in Chicago and Wisconsin ]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 18:00:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tyson_logo.jpg

Tyson Foods says it's closing plants in Chicago and Jefferson, Wisconsin, in a move that will affect 880 workers.

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said in a statement Thursday the closures are due to changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive costs of renovations, as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material suppliers.

Job losses at the Chicago plant, which makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry, will total around 480 people. Another 400 positions will be lost at the Jefferson plant, which makes sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings, as well as sliced pepperoni and salami for deli and food service applications.

The company expects to close the plants in the second half of its fiscal year, which ends Oct 1, 2016. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Owners Donate Turkeys in Chicago]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:20:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000015185556_1200x675_568755267960.jpg The Black McDonald's Operators Association of Chicago and Northwest Indiana kicked off their 16th annual "Food for the Body & Spirit" program, donating more than 1,000 turkeys to Chicago residents in need. ]]> <![CDATA[U.S. Stocks Close Sharply Higher in Wake of Paris Attacks]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 16:21:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NYSE-Paris-Attacks-GettyImages-497371064.jpg

U.S. stocks gained Monday on a sharp jump in oil prices boosted by geopolitical concerns following weekend terror attacks in Paris. 

The major U.S. averages closed more than 1 percent higher, recovering some of their sharp declines last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 225 points in afternoon trade, with Chevron, Exxon Mobil and UnitedHealth contributing the most to gains.

"I think the positive tone to the market owes something to the fact that European shares moved higher," said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's. He also noted some support from greater confidence in a gradual pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

In Asia overnight, stocks were hit by a sell-off on Monday, with tourism-related plays among the hardest-hit, as sentiment was badly dented by the Paris attacks. In other Asia news, data released Monday showed Japan's economy slid back into recession in July-September.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wal-Mart to Open Its Doors on Thanksgiving Day]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:18:26 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WalmartBlackFriday-AP_674555436752.jpg

Wal-Mart has broken its silence about its plans for Black Friday.

On Thursday, the retailer announced it will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the same time it has for the last three years.

For those looking for a head start, Wal-Mart said the majority of its deals will be available online at 3:01 a.m. ET on Thanksgiving, including some of the most sought after items like televisions, video game consoles and small appliances.

Rivals Macy's, Sears and Target already announced their plans to open on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. Toys R Us will be open an hour earlier.

A number of stores, including H&M, have decided to keep their doors closed, opting to give their employees the chance to spend the holiday at home with friends and family.

Outdoor retailer REI said it would skip Black Friday altogether. According to its website, “the outdoors, and the website are always open.”

Photo Credit: Invision for Walmart]]>
<![CDATA[Target 5: Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 13:57:53 -0600 ]]> <![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 08:08:56 -0600 ]]> <![CDATA[Company Makes $14B on China's Fake 'Singles' Day']]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 15:07:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_996003549132.jpg

The retail website Alibaba brought up $14 billion in sales on the made-up Chinese holiday "Singles' Day," the company said on Thursday.

This year's sales were 60 percent higher than last year. 

Six years ago, Alibaba turned Nov. 11 into China's equivalent of United States shopping event Cyber Monday. It has now become larger than both Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined, and a closely watched barometer of the company's performance.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Macy's Considers Redeveloping Flagship State Street Store]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:23:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458643256.jpg

Macy’s announced Wednesday that it is considering redeveloping its flagship State Street store in Chicago, among others.

The company said in a release it has “begun a process to explore joint ventures or other deal structures with third parties to redevelop” flagship spaces in Chicago, Manhattan, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

The redevelopment would be done in “a manner that maintains a robust Macy’s retail store presence while also bringing alternative use into those buildings,” Macy’s said.

The announcement came as Macy’s revealed its third-quarter financial results.

“We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, as we had expected,” Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc., said in a statement. “Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories. Simultaneously, the slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in tourist centers, which are some of our company’s largest-volume and most profitable locations.”

The company announced in September it planned to close 35 to 40 locations in early 2016, or as much as 5 percent of its namesake department stores.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[China's Online Singles' Day Nets Record Sales ]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 06:00:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SinglesDay-GettyImages-496343898.jpg

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has passed its record halfway through its Singles’ Day shopping event, NBC News reported.

In the first eight minutes of this year’s sale, the company generated more than $1 billion in sales. Last year, it took 17 minutes to hit that mark.

Alibaba said it hit more than $9.3 billion in gross merchandise volume. It said it surpassed the $2.4 billion sold on Cyber Monday, the largest online sales day in the U.S.

Singles’ Day is known as the world’s largest 24-hour online shopping event, and falls on Nov. 11 every year. It was created in the 1990s as a way to celebrate single life.

Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's to Offer Mozzarella Sticks Nationwide Next Year]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 15:05:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/mcdonalds-sign-gallery.jpg

McDonald’s plans to add a new snack item to menus across the country next year.

McDonald's USA President Mike Andres announced plans Tuesday to widely offer mozzarella sticks in the U.S. as “a snack item to add to your order,” a company spokesperson confirmed. 

The move is the latest addition to the Oak Brook-based chain’s menus.

The fast food giant made headlines after it rolled out all-day breakfast options nationally last month.

Reports have also indicated the chain may soon chop the Dollar Menu and add a $2 menu in a program called the “Pick 2.” The “Pick 2” would allow customers to choose two items for $2. Franchise owners were expected to vote on the 2-for-2 deal late last month.

The franchise is also making a few other tweaks as a way to entice customers, like toasting burger buns longer and searing burger patties. Most recently, the company revealed plans to test Monster drinks at about 20 restaurants in the U.S., including in Illinois.

Since new CEO Steve Easterbrook took over the company in March, McDonald’s has seen an uptick in sales at U.S. locations during the third quarter. It’s the first time sales have increased in two years.

Easterbrook has said he wants to transform McDonald's into a "modern, progressive burger company."

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com/File
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<![CDATA[Safety Experts Release New Booster Seat Ratings]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 05:47:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/news-GettyImages-580521915.jpg

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its latest safety ratings for booster seats on Tuesday.

Twenty of the 23 seats earned the highest rating. The IIHS said the seats would provide a good belt fit for children between 4 and 8 years old in any vehicle, including cars, minivans and SUVs.

Booster seats are meant for children who have outgrown traditional harnessed car seats, which is usually at the age of eight. But the organization recommends keeping some children in booster seats until they're 12 years old.

Until then, the IIHS recommends making sure the belt lies "flat across a child's upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, and the shoulder belt crosses snugly over the middle of a child's shoulder.”

The other three seats would provide an acceptable fit in almost any vehicle, the IIHS said.

Using a booster seat can help lower the risk of injury in crashes by 45 percent, according to the IIHS.

Photo Credit: Stock photo via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VW Offers $1,000 Credit Cards to Owners of Cheating Diesels]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 18:08:44 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_928991880469-VW.jpg

Volkswagen's U.S. subsidiary said on Monday it will offer $1,000 worth of credit cards, of which half may be spent at VW and Audi dealerships, to owners of certain diesel models the company has admitted do not comply with government emissions standards.

The automaker said eligible U.S. owners of nearly 500,000 VW and Audi models equipped with 2.0 liter TDI diesel engines can apply to receive a $500 prepaid Visa card and a $500 dealership card, as well as three years of free roadside assistance services, NBC News reported.

The program could cost VW nearly $500 million, half of which could flow directly to dealers.

VW has said about 482,000 cars sold in the United States since 2009 with four-cylinder diesel engines had software installed that allowed the engines to pass government tests for smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions, but pollute at levels far above government limits in normal operation.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Nordstrom Says It Won't Deck the Halls Until After Thanksgiving]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:50:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Nordstrom-Generic.jpg

With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers across the country are decking the halls with holiday decor, but Nordstrom says that won’t be the case at its hundreds of U.S. locations.

Signs at the stores, including one along Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago, say Nordstrom won’t begin putting up Christmas decorations until Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. 

"We don't trim our stores till after we've trimmed the turkey," one sign reads. 


"Because we like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time," the signs says.

The sign also says the store will be closed Thanksgiving but will be open Black Friday.

Nordstrom spokesperson Dan Evans Jr. said the move affects all 312 Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in 39 states, along with three in Canada.

"We just believe in celebrating one holiday at a time," he said Tuesday. "It's a longstanding tradition. Our customers tell us they appreciate it."

Similar signs were posted at Nordstrom stores last year after the leading fashion retailer announced it would be closed for Thanksgiving Day.

Closing for the holiday doesn't sit well with many retailers. 

Breaking a 155-year-old tradition, Macy’s announced last year it would open on Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. Other retailers, including JCPenney and Toys"R"Us, also remained open and expanded their operating hours.

Still, many have joined the list of stores closing for the November holiday this year. 

H&M announced Monday all U.S. stores would remain closed for Thanksgiving, and Staples stores across the nation will do the same.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Verizon Considers Sale of Business Services, Data Storage Assets]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 13:10:12 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-92351676.jpg

Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a sale of its enterprise assets, according to people familiar with the matter, as the largest U.S. wireless carrier seeks to focus on its core business, NBC News reported.

The assets, which could be worth as much as $10 billion, would include the business formerly known as MCI, which provides landline and Internet services for large business customers, as well as Terremark, its data center unit, the people said this week.

The businesses have struggled to keep up with advances in cloud computing, and faces fierce price competition from players such as Alphabet Inc. (formerly Google) and Amazon.com Inc. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Scout's Bumping Cookies to $5 a Box]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:29:45 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_080402011722.jpg

After years of holding prices steady, more Girl Scout councils are boosting cookie prices to $5 a box.

"The No. 1 factor was us hearing feedback from adult volunteers that girls had such a great experience selling cookies, but they weren't earning enough money from them," said Jan Goldstein, chief marketing officer at Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, in a phone interview. 

Goldstein's council is raising the price to $5 per box from $4, the first hike in at least eight years. With the increase, the council's troops will now receive an average of 90 cents per box of cookies, up from an average of 62 cents per box.

<![CDATA[Kraft Heinz to Move Oscar Mayer HQ to Chicago]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 14:10:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/OscarMayer2.jpg

Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday it will move the headquarters for Oscar Mayer to Chicago in 2016.

Early next year, an estimated 250 Oscar Mayer employees will move from Madison, Wisconsin, to the new Kraft Heinz co-headquarters at the AON Center, where Kraft Heinz signed a 12.5-year lease earlier this year, according to a statement from the mayor's office. 

Along with the move to Chicago, Kraft Heinz will close seven North American manufacturing facilities, including the one in Madison, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Earlier this year, Kraft Heinz announced it was cutting about 2,500 jobs to help slash costs after Kraft and Heinz combined. About 700 of those cuts were to come to Kraft's Northfield, Illinois, headquarters.

"Oscar Mayer's decision to return to Chicago is a reflection of the talent of our workforce, the strength of our world-class transportation networks and the certainty and confidence we have given businesses that invest in our city ... Oscar Mayer's move to Chicago adds to our strength as a leading destination for food companies and I look forward to watching them create more jobs for our residents and build a great future here in Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Oscar Mayer]]>
<![CDATA[Wal-Mart to Get Help from Santa in Holiday Shopping War]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 05:56:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Walmart-AP_660836205135.jpg

Santa Claus will be coming to Wal-Mart this holiday season, NBC News reported.

The retail giant is banking on an army of Santas and other holiday attractions to help regain market share from its biggest competitor, online giant Amazon.

Shoppers at the 3,600 Supercenters across the country can expect a holiday experience, including carols, decorations and a photo-ready Santa Claus, Wal-Mart Chief Operating Officer Judith McKenna said in a press release.

Analysts say the big-box retailer may see some success with its holiday plans, but that there are still challenges after customers get in the door, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Activision to Buy 'Candy Crush' Maker for $5.9B]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 04:17:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CandyCrush-AP_163106589683.jpg

Video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. said it will buy the maker of the popular “Candy Crush Saga” game, Reuters reported.

Activision will buy King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion to strengthen its games portfolio. It will pay $18 in cash per King share.

King went public last year and has been struggling to boost bookings. It will continue to be led as an independent operating unit.

Video game makers are shifting to digital business platforms as more consumers are playing games on smartphones and tablets.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Offers 20 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:51:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_93380942358.jpg

Amazon is now offering new birth mothers who have spent a year with the company up to 20 weeks of maternity leave. The company outlined the new perk in an internal memo, which it shared with NBC News on Monday.

It's the latest salvo in the technology benefits wars, with top companies heaping perks on their workers to prevent poaching and attract top talent. Women have been a focus of these expanded benefits, with companies including Apple and Facebook offering to subsidize egg freezing for their female employees, even as both companies deal with lackluster diversity statistics. 

Amazon's new program introduced on Monday guarantees new mothers four weeks of medical leave before delivery, followed by 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. All new mothers or parents who have worked at the company for at least a year then also qualify for an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shoppers Prefer Paper Coupons: Survey]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 06:32:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_090422053554.jpg

New research shows consumers are clipping coupons out of newspapers and other paper mailings rather than finding them online, according to a CreditCards.com survey.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. credit and debit cardholders say they’re using paper coupons. Even 18- to 24-year-olds use paper coupons more than twice as much as any other method.

"It's just the way it's been done for decades," said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "It can be a hard habit to break over time."

More banks and retailers are diving into integrating smart phones into the shopping experience.

That means that Americans — 85 percent of whom use a coupon at least occasionally — are eventually expected to shift away from paper coupon use.

<![CDATA[Wiener's Circle Dresses for Halloween]]> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 16:35:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/image2116.JPG

Who said restaurants can’t dress up for Halloween? 

Wiener's Circle – the hot dog stand that became known for its sassy staffers – decided to convert its store into McDowell's, just like the fictional restaurant in the 1988 film "Coming to America."

The restaurant went all out; all the signs were changed to McDowell's, and all the workers dressed as fast-food workers from the movie. General Manager Scott Brooker said customers have been fooled, thinking the famous stand is no longer operating (but don’t worry, they are still serving their famous hot dogs).

In the film, Cleo McDowell explains how his restaurant is different from McDonald’s: “They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.”

Winer's Circle was sold last month, but Brooker explained that while they are under new leadership, restaurant management wanted to let everyone know they are still serving hot dogs that have been named as among the best in the country.

“McDowell’s just seemed like the best way to do it,” Brooker said. “We’re across from McDonald's. They got the Big Mac, we got the Big Mick.”

The restaurant, located at 2622 N. Clark St., is known for its authentic Chicago-style char-grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It has also become a YouTube fan favorite and tourist attraction thanks to its late-night shenanigans, which include employees hurling insults at customers and the ever-popular “milkshake.”

The Wiener Circle will serve the "Big Mick" through the weekend.

<![CDATA[Peet's Coffee & Tea Buys Intelligentsia Coffee]]> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 11:54:04 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*121/Intelligentsia+Coffee+Bar.jpg

Peet’s Coffee and Tea on Friday announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee.

It’s a move Intelligentsia founder Doug Zell called “interesting and rewarding.”

The coffee roaster, which started in October of 1995 and made a name for itself as a small, independent coffee company,  currently has locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, but according to Peet's, that won't change with the acquisition. 

Intelligentsia’s co-founders and the company’s co-owner said they will still have a significant stake in the company and Intelligentsia will “continue to operate independently."

“Peet's recognizes that we are special and wants to provide a canvas that will allow more of the world to see the picture we are painting,” Doug Zell, founder of Intelligentsia, wrote in a letter Friday. “Perhaps a good analogy is we've been showing our artwork at a local gallery and now have an opportunity for a spot at the Louvre.”

Peet's said everything from the farmers Intelligentsia uses to the process it uses to acquire its coffee will remain the same, but the company will have "full access to Peet's resources and scale."

The announcement comes just weeks after Peet’s Coffee & Tea acquired ownership of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

“As the super-premium coffee category further explodes and fragments due to more consumers (18-34 year olds) demanding variety and highly specialized coffee experiences, it’s important that we offer differentiated craft coffee brands with unique propositions and appeal,” Dave Burwick, CEO of Peet’s Coffee, said in a statement. “With the recent addition of both Intelligentsia and Stumptown, together with Peet’s, we are building a craft powerhouse of highly complementary brands and businesses that satisfy the desires of the new coffee connoisseur as well as traditional craft coffee consumers."

In 2013, Caribou Coffee closed 18 Chicago locations, converting several stores to Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops.

<![CDATA[Date Set for Opening of New Suburban Portillo's Restaurant]]> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:30:41 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/206*120/portillos3.png

The date for the opening of the Portillo’s restaurant in Gurnee has been set.

Fans can visit the new location in Gurnee Mills Circle at 6102 W. Grand Avenue on November 10th at 10:30 a.m.

The chain said on its Facebook page that the location was inspired in part by a man who started a campaign to get one in the suburb. Joe Kahn created another Facebook page, “Gurnee Wants a Portillo’s,” because people in the area couldn’t wait for one to open.

“Portillo’s opening in Gurnee has been a hot topic as long as I’ve lived here. Every time a new parcel of land would open up or a new building was started, there were rumors that it was going to be a Portillo’s. But it never was,” Kahn said in an interview with the restaurant. “I got the idea to start the Facebook page as a way to not only be a central source of information, but as a way to get support for what I truly believed was a solid location for a new store.”

A Facebook event page has been made for the opening of the new location. People in the area hope to beat the Portillo’s attendance record of 5,000 set in Rockford, according to the page.

Photo Credit: Instagram/PortillosHotDogs]]>
<![CDATA[UAW & GM Reach Tentative Deal, Avert Strike]]> Sun, 25 Oct 2015 22:32:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_070731045624.jpg

A tentative agreement has been reached between the United Auto Workers union bargaining committee and General Motors, averting a strike, NBC News reported.

The union said all of its GM members were prepared to strike, which means 52,700 employees would have walked off the job.

Talks between GM and the union had been ongoing since July.

The deal was approved 17 minutes before the deadline. Details of the four-year deal were not made public.

<![CDATA[Zara Founder Briefly Ranks as Richest in World]]> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 12:35:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-1474160131.jpg

For four hours, Zara founder Amancio Ortega was the richest man in the world.

The Spanish man and founder of popular clothing brand  "Zara," Amancio Ortega, was briefly valued at $80 billion, making him the richest man on Earth the morning of Oct. 23, according to Forbes' real time tracker.

Before the morning was over, Ortega's value on the tracker dropped to $78.7 billion just below Gates, who has a steady value at $79.3 billion.

The Forbes' real time tracker is one of two that measures the worth of the world's billionaires in a minute-by-minute listing. Bloomberg has its own that did not have Gates trailing Ortega.

"Zara," a popular clothing brand is part of Inditex, a fashion group based in Arteixo, Galicia, the Northwest part of Spain. The fast growing clothing brand was founded in 1975 by Ortega and his wife Rosalia Mera.

Inditex's shares have surged nearly 40 percent this year according to Reuters, which boosted Ortega's wealth over $2 billion dollars this week.

In a biography about Ortega called "The Man from Zara," by Covadona O'Shea, Ortega described his life before becoming a wealthy businessman as a son of a railroad worker. O'Shea wrote how Ortega left school in his early teens to work full-time job in a clothing shop. 

Ortega reportedly lives a private life and does not interview with the press as often as Gates.

Gates gives much of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which supports healthcare innovation and fights hunger and poverty around the globe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Strategic Advice for Early Holiday Shoppers]]> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 03:52:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-474239694.jpg

It's not even Halloween yet, but Americans are already shopping for the holiday season.

The National Retail Federation said about 40 percent of consumers start their seasonal shopping before Halloween.

Many experts say outdoor goods, including camping gear, grills and barbecue accessories, are at rock bottom prices right now.

But Black Friday is still the best time of the year for deep discounts in electronics, a spokesperson for CouponSherpa.com said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uniqlo to Open Flagship Store in Chicago Friday]]> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 16:26:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/uniqlo+manhattan.jpg

The Japanese retail store Uniqlo is set to open its flagship store — and second largest store — in Chicago on Friday.

The opening will include giveaways, prizes, deals and a performance, the company wrote on its website.

UNIQLO will give away tote bags to the first 1,000 people at the store as well as 100% cashmere scarves to the first 200 people in line.

Customers who make a $50+ purchase will receive a free t-shirt.

The 60,000-square-foot store is located at 830 N. Michigan Ave. on the Magnificent Mile. It will be the second largest store after the Fifth Avenue location in New York.

Uniqlo sells casual attire, including sweaters, scarves and jeans, as well as sportswear for men, women and children.

"Chicago is a global city that's home to some of the finest cultural and sports institutions in the world, and we are thrilled to join the city's rich landscape," said Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA.

Uniqlo currently has more than 40 stores in the U.S., but the Chicago location will be its first in the Midwest. Worldwide, there are at least 1,600 Uniqlo stores.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago-Based Radio Flyer Named Best Small Workplace]]> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 19:01:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/radio+flyer+wagons.jpg

A Chicago company has been named the best small company to work for in the U.S. in an annual ranking of small- and medium-sized companies by Fortune magazine.

Radio Flyer, the maker of the famous little red wagon, nabbed the No. 1 spot on the list of the best small workplaces. Today, the company is the leading producer of wagons, tricycles and three-wheel scooters and employs 58 people in the U.S. and 35 outside of the country.

In its company profile in Fortune magazine, Radio Flyer hit the jackpot for offering telecommuting, compressed work weeks, an onsite fitness center, discounted gym memberships, college tuition reimbursement and paid time off for volunteering, among other things.

In 2004, the company was forced to lay off half of its employees and closed its historic Chicago factory to outsource manufacturing to China. In the years since, however, the company has flourished, and it is consistently named among the best places to work.

To compile the lists of the best small and medium workplaces, Fortune surveyed more than 88,000 workers at 540 companies with25 to 999 employees.

The top five small workplaces are: 

1. Radio Flyer — Chicago
2. Square Root — Austin, Texas
3. Granite Properties — Plane, Texas
4. PPR Talent Management Group — Jacksonville Beach, Florida
5. Ruby Receptionists — Portland, Oregon

The top five medium workplaces are:

1. Intuitive Research and Technology — Huntsville, Alabama
2. Atlassian — San Francisco
3. ESL Federal Credit Union — Rochester, New York
4. 4imprint — Oshkosh, Wisconsin
5. Squarespace — New York

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Toby Keith's Closes Early After Staff Steals From Restaurant]]> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 10:44:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-173092769.jpg

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Rosemont, Illinois, had until Oct. 31 before it needed to close its doors for good, according to the village's mayor, but it appears the restaurant shut down early after management accused workers of stealing memorabilia and liquor from the venue.

The restaurant's general manager, Larry Vanni, told the Daily Herald that once reports came out that the venue would soon close he had a meeting with his staff, asking them to remain professional. But, he said, "some of them took it to the extreme" and "a few bad eggs ruined it for everybody."

Up to 50 staff members will lose their jobs with the closing of the once popular restaurant, but Vanni reportedly claimed about six or seven workers stole items from the bar Wednesday night, including autographed Toby Keith memorabilia and raided the bar's alcohol supply.

Vanni told the publication the only reason the venue decided to close was because management "couldn't trust staff to show up and do their jobs professionally."

Rosemont officials announced Thursday that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill would close on Oct. 31. 

Village of Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens noted, however, that the doors were locked at the restaurant Thursday and the restaurant was not open during the afternoon. 

Village officials said Wednesday they plan to replace Toby Keith’s with a project from Joe’s Bar on Weed Street and Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City, the Daily Herald reported.

The joint venture between Joe’s Bar and Bub City, both of which are country-themed bars and restaurants in Chicago, could open in the spring.

The village board on Wednesday approved a lease with Rosemont Ventures LLC, the Bub City and Joe’s Bar project, according to the publication.

An eviction hearing for Toby Keith's was scheduled for Thursday. 

Reports that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill could be forced out of Rosemont first surfaced in August after an eviction suit was filed from the village of Rosemont, saying the restaurant owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and rent.

General manager Larry Vanni responded to the suit and the reports shortly after, saying everything the bar and restaurant owed was paid and the company wanted to stay in Rosemont.

Vanni later told the Daily Herald, a check he received from the company’s corporate offices came from a closed account and Boomtown Entertainment CEO Frank Capri said Wednesday he plans to seek new legal counsel to explore the company’s options in Rosemont.

Boomtown Entertainment did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.  

<![CDATA[Toby Keith's Bar in Rosemont Will Soon Close]]> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 15:18:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP483260167176.jpg

Toby Keith’s will soon leave Rosemont, and another country-inspired venue could take its place.

Rosemont officials announced Thursday that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill will close on Oct. 31. 

Village of Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens said the doors were locked at the restaurant and the restaurant was not open Thursday. 

Village officials said Wednesday they plan to replace Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill with a project from Joe’s Bar on Weed Street and Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City, the Daily Herald reports.

The joint venture between Joe’s Bar and Bub City, both of which are country-themed bars and restaurants in Chicago, could open in the spring.

The village board on Wednesday approved a lease with Rosemont Ventures LLC, the Bub City and Joe’s Bar project, the Daily Herald reported.

An eviction hearing for Toby Keith's was reportedly scheduled for Thursday. 

Reports that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill could be forced out of Rosemont first surfaced in August after an eviction suit was filed from the village of Rosemont, saying the restaurant owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and rent.

General manager Larry Vanni responded to the suit and the reports shortly after, saying everything the bar and restaurant owed was paid and the company wanted to stay in Rosemont.

Vanni later told the Daily Herald, a check he received from the company’s corporate offices came from a closed account and Boomtown Entertainment CEO Frank Capri said Wednesday he plans to seek new legal counsel to explore the company’s options in Rosemont.

Boomtown Entertainment did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>