How Sara Lee Relocating to the West Loop Affects Biz There

How Sara Lee's West Loop Relocation Affects Biz There

Sara Lee might not be the sexiest company around right now, but it's still a big deal in many respects. But that its corporate headquarters are moving back to Chicago at 400 S. Jefferson in 2013 is something to be excited about.

"This move will put our new company's headquarters in the heart of one of the world's business capitals and will be one of the key elements of building our more nimble, creative and innovative culture," Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink said in a statement.

Mike Santoro, president of PR and marketing firm Walker Sands Communications in the West Loop agrees, and adds that the location is rather savvy: "They'll be incredibly close to a number of key public transportation hubs -- Union Station, Ogilvie, the Kennedy and CTA routes -- which will help attract some of the top employees in the city."

Champion Media Worldwide's Robert Smith zooms out a bit further, and sees this at the first step towards leveraging other blue-chip companies to move here as well. Even though Champion Media Worldwide is in Loves Park, Ill. -- that's a Northwestern suburb for those not up on their suburban Illinois geography -- he sees great potential in this announcement. He offers this advice: "The City of Chicago or suburb that lands a high-profile client should immediately hire an ambassador of goodwill and give him the job of being proactive and contacting other large companies by phone and mail… there are triggers that let you know when a company is primed to move and you can get there first."

Meanwhile, in the more immediate sense, Sara Lee said on Thursday that the move will create roughly 500 new jobs in the city. But it looks to be a rising tide for everyone else not applying for those positions as well. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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