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Business - Chicago Tribune



Business news from the Chicago Tribune. Get money tips, stock market updates and the latest Chicago business news.



Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2017 07:29:36 -0500

Copyright: ©2017 Chicago Tribune
 



Take Your Dog to Work Day is business as usual at canine-friendly offices

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:27:00 PDT

The dog days of summer came early for some Chicago businesses Friday as offices opened their doors to canine companions for Take Your Dog to Work Day, a growing national event.

Dogs rode elevators, slept at desks and snacked frequently, getting a taste of what a typical workday is like for many...

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What shoppers need to know about the Cook County pop tax

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:56:00 PDT

That 2-liter of pop you're picking up for the Fourth of July picnic might pack a little sticker shock this year as Cook County rolls out a new penny-per-ounce tax on a wide variety of sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages.

As one example, a 2-liter bottle, which usually costs about $1, will...

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Just one Sears store left in Chicago, as retailer announces more closings

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:28:00 PDT

Sears Holdings Corp. is closing 20 more stores, including a Sears in Chicago's Galewood neighborhood, in mid-September.

Those closings — including 18 Sears and two Kmart stores — follow 150 stores Hoffman Estates-based Sears shuttered in the first quarter of this year and another 66 expected to...

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No little plans: More than $20 billion of megaprojects in Chicago's pipeline

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:55:10 PDT

Fifteen years after launching its Lakeshore East development on the site of a former nine-hole golf course, Magellan Development Group is in the early stages of building the real estate equivalent of a hole-in-one.

The 94-story Vista Tower condominium and hotel building, which will be the city's...

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Paying off student loans? Avoid these four deadly college debt sins

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:38:00 PDT

If you've just finished college and are spooked by your student loans, you probably don't have to be.

Assuming you haven't already committed a big student loan borrowing mistake, like piling up loans without finishing college or borrowing extensively from private lenders rather than the federal...

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Medicaid expansion could end early in Illinois under Senate Obamacare replacement bill

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:41:00 PDT

Many low-income adults across the nation could lose Medicaid expansion coverage under the Senate's Obamacare replacement bill — but in Illinois those losses could come three years earlier because of a state law.

About 650,000 Illinois residents could lose their Medicaid expansion coverage in 2021,...

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Facebook's new strategy: a mission to do good, ripe for advertisers

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Dressed in his signature solid-color T-shirt and jeans, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came to Chicago on Thursday and outlined the start of a new chapter in the social network's life.

Before describing his plan during a West Loop conference for a few hundred invited Facebook devotees, Zuckerberg...

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40 years after Sears left Homan Square, catalog building gets second life

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:53:00 PDT

A national nonprofit housing developer is aiming to bring new life into a North Lawndale community plagued by poverty and crime by transforming the former Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s catalog printing facility into 181 loft-style affordable apartments.

Mercy Housing Lakefront's $65 million project renovated...

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United Airlines to serve Chicago-style pizza from Uno's on long flights

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:00:00 PDT

United Airlines will be making pizza deliveries above 30,000 feet starting next month — but sorry, New Yorkers, the airline is sticking to its hometown deep-dish.

The pizzas — personal spinach-and-garlic pies from Uno Pizzeria & Grill — are among a handful of additions to the menu of meals and...

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Will 'power hungry' Amazon get too big for its own good?

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:52:00 PDT

Ever since Amazon made its blockbuster bid for Whole Foods last week, there's been speculation over what the e-commerce powerhouse is going to try and buy next.

Chicago-based Grubhub, the online restaurant delivery service? Nordstrom department stores? Maybe it doubles down and buys another grocery...

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Kalanick's ouster as Uber CEO began with a letter hand delivered to his Chicago hotel

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:56:00 PDT

As Travis Kalanick was in Chicago interviewing a candidate to be his deputy at Uber Technologies Inc., two investors were on a plane to deliver the news that they wanted the chief executive officer gone.

Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton, partners at venture capital firm Benchmark, hand-delivered a...

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Supreme Court ruling could make it harder to file class-action lawsuits against companies

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:28:00 PDT

The courtrooms of Madison County — and Cook County, for that matter — may lose their allure as "litigation tourism" destinations after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will make it harder to bring out-of-state mass actions to Illinois and other favorable jurisdictions.

The 8-1 Supreme Court...

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WhoaZone, 'Ninja Warrior' for water lovers, to open on Lake Michigan

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:48:00 PDT

Whiting, home of the Midwest's largest oil refinery, has a new claim to fame: home of the Midwest's largest floating playground.

WhoaZone at Whihala Beach, just over the Illinois-Indiana border and about 20 miles south of downtown Chicago, brings an inflatable obstacle course to Whiting's slice...

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Senate GOP unveils health care overhaul, but 4 Republicans already voice opposition

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:02:00 PDT

Senate Republicans launched their plan for shriveling Barack Obama's health care law Thursday, edging a step closer to their dream of repeal with a bill that would slice and reshape Medicaid for the poor, relax rules on insurers and end tax increases on higher earners that have helped finance expanded...

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Former Chicago architecture student says firm stole One World Trade Center design

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:48:00 PDT

A Georgia architect is suing the designers of the One World Trade Center tower in New York City, alleging the firm copied a building design he made years ago as a graduate student in Chicago.

One World Trade Center, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built on the site of the fallen twin...

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As Uber CEO Travis Kalanick forced out, Chicagoans ponder company's future

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:55:00 PDT

Chicago tech personalities toasted Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick when it expanded here in 2011. Now, Kalanick has stepped down under board and public pressure, which some locals agree was the right move for a company trying to save its image.

Kalanick was in Chicago Tuesday night when he received...

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Keeping CEO job was 1 fight too many for Uber's Kalanick

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:13:00 PDT

Under Travis Kalanick's leadership, Uber's "Animal House"-style business plan was to grow as quickly as possible, steamrolling regulators while flouting the rules of workplace conduct.

Behavior at the male-dominated company didn't seem to matter. Riders embraced the app-based ride-hailing system...

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Car dealership duped elderly woman into buying car she didn't want: lawsuit

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:29:00 PDT

June Shivers took her 2005 Lincoln LS, which was fully paid for, to a Blue Island car dealership in September to get it serviced.

When the 85-year-old Chicagoan left the lot, she was driving a used 2014 Ford Fusion and was on the hook for monthly payments of $398 over six years.

How that trade-in...

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Mount Sinai Hospital to end pediatric trauma, inpatient services

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:12:00 PDT

Mount Sinai Hospital, which serves many low-income patients on the city's West Side, plans to stop offering pediatric trauma and inpatient care in the coming months.

The move comes as a number of Chicago-area health care providers in recent years have cut back on pediatric inpatient services.

Mount...

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Boeing admits its 747 'Queen of the Skies' has no future as passenger plane

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:04:00 PDT

Boeing finally conceded publicly Tuesday that while the all-cargo model of its 747 jumbo jet will continue to sell, the longtime “Queen of the Skies” has no future as a passenger plane.

Differing sharply with the outlook from rival Airbus, Boeing expressed extreme doubt about the entire “very large...

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Blue Cross working to return to Illinois Obamacare exchange next year

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:30:00 PDT

Illinois' largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, is taking steps to return to the Obamacare exchange next year despite uncertainty over the fate of the health care law.

The news comes as some insurers in other parts of the country pull out of the marketplace for 2018.

In...

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Speculation grows that Amazon will face a rival bidder for Whole Foods

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:48:00 PDT

Amazon.com’s plan to buy Whole Foods Market sparked an avalanche of discussion about how the online retail giant could transform the U.S. grocery industry in the years ahead.

But Amazon’s $13.7-billion deal might not be the last word on the merger itself.

Wall Street signaled Monday that it expects...

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Group led by former Chicago alderman bids to buy the Sun-Times

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 04:30:00 PDT

An investor group led by former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor submitted a bid Monday to buy the Chicago Sun-Times.

The group beat a 5 p.m. Monday deadline requiring a letter of intent, supporting financial documentation and an operating plan to run Chicago's...

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Social clubs wooing young members make updates and even - gasp - allow denim

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:58:16 PDT

Those who have made the mistake of wearing jeans to the Union League Club of Chicago know the indignity of being forced to don a pair of ill-fitting, club-issued knit slacks.

Now the 138-year-old private business club is loosening its collar a bit as it and other old-line clubs make efforts to be...

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University of Chicago Medicine will remain in UnitedHealthcare's network

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:35:00 PDT

University of Chicago Medicine and insurer UnitedHealthcare have reached a contract agreement that will keep the academic medical system and its doctors in the insurer's network.

The agreement will spare about 8,000 patients from having to either switch doctors or pay significantly more for care.

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Uber can't ride out any more big mistakes

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:04:00 PDT

As ride-sharing ballooned in popularity throughout the Chicago area and the rest of the world, it wasn't always easy to tell the difference between its two large players, Uber Technologies and Lyft.

Now it's simpler: Uber is the one that keeps getting into trouble. 

UPDATE: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick...(image)



Tribune Media sells most of its CareerBuilder stake to investor group for $157M

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:05:51 PDT

Tribune Media and its media partners are selling their majority interest in the job site CareerBuilder to an investor group headed by Apollo Global Management.

The deal, announced Monday, will pay Chicago-based Tribune Media $157 million while reducing its stake in CareerBuilder from 32 percent...

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Remember when Amazon only sold books?

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 12:40:00 PDT

A look at Amazon's history.(image)



The modern food court: Food halls to grow sharply in Chicago

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:16:00 PDT

Chicago has always been a food town. Now, it's becoming a food hall town.

Food halls — the modern, upscale, urban reincarnation of the humble mall food court — have opened in the Loop and nearby neighborhoods in recent years, and experts say their growth in the Windy City has just begun.

Why are...

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Vista Tower lands record $700 million construction loan from Chinese bank

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:35:00 PDT

Vista Tower will be Chicago's third-tallest building when it's completed in 2020, but the ultraluxury condominium and hotel tower is already No. 1 in another category: the size of its construction loan.

The 94-story tower's developers have borrowed $700 million from a Chinese bank in what is believed...

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Amazon rocks grocery industry with $13.7B bid to buy Whole Foods

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:01:00 PDT

Amazon.com's agreement to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, announced Friday, is a seismic deal that likely signals major changes in the grocery business.

For shoppers, such a deal could ultimately mean lower prices at Whole Foods and more online delivery and pickup options throughout the...

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With Whole Foods buyout, Amazon shakes, rattles and rolls

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:20:00 PDT

Amazon, kingpin of the industry disruptors, is rattling the grocery business like never before with its estimated $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods.

The deal, which woke up Wall Street on what was expected to be a sleepy Friday morning, will not only ripple through the supermarket business...

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American Medical Association urges drug companies to advertise prices

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 15:04:31 PDT

Shopping for prescription medications is unlikely to ever be as easy as selecting a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs at the grocery store.

Drug prices aren't always readily available, making it difficult to compare the costs of medications.

But what if drug companies had to list prices in their...

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Ebony owes freelancers more than $200,000, union claims

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:18:00 PDT

Ebony is being pressed by the National Writers Union to pay more than $200,000 it claims the magazine owes to freelance writers who contributed stories over the past year.

The union is representing 23 writers who are collectively owed about $50,000, but it said there are as many as 50 freelancers...

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Ulta on Chicago's Mag Mile: New look for store No. 999

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 17:13:00 PDT

It’s not a full makeover, but to fit in with a new crowd — Chicago’s Magnificent Mile — Ulta is trying on a bit of a new look.

The new look doesn’t scream facelift or flagship — by design. But the store opening later this month on North Michigan Avenue just north of the Chicago River is a much...

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Budgeting for retirement? Plan on spending an eye-popping amount on health costs

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 13:00:00 PDT

A quick look at your retirement savings and estimated Social Security payments may convince you that you're well-prepared to retire.

But before you do, consider the health care costs that await you in retirement: The average 65-year-old couple retiring in a year can expect to spend $404,253 in...

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Illinois unemployment rate hits 4.6 percent in May, lowest in over 10 years

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 15:36:00 PDT

Illinois' unemployment rate nudged down for the fourth straight month in May to 4.6 percent, the lowest level since February 2007.

The state's unemployment rate, which measures those who are not working but are looking for work, was down from 4.7 percent in April and from 5.9 percent a year earlier,...

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Business pushes Rauner to sign bill to protect immigrants

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

For the second time this year, an influential group of Chicago-area business leaders is openly challenging the Trump administration's tough anti-immigration policies.

But this time around, the more than 170 corporate CEOs, midsized-business owners, neighborhood entrepreneurs and investors are pressing...

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Lawsuits claim Wells Fargo modified mortgages without customer permission

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:39:00 PDT

Wells Fargo is facing more accusations that it made unauthorized changes to customers accounts - this time to their mortgages.

The bank forced borrowers in bankruptcy into loan modifications by reducing their monthly mortgage payments, even though homeowners had not requested the adjustments, according...

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At Kitchen Chicago, small food businesses dream big

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:25:00 PDT

Kim Mesa wanted to sell her cheesecakes in the new Englewood Whole Foods Market long before it opened last fall. Driving past the construction site, shuttling her kids to and from school, she saw an opportunity — for herself and for the neighborhood.

"I didn't have any assurances it was going to...

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Habitat for Humanity gets $40M Wintrust mortgage financing commitment

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 14:32:00 PDT

Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity is transitioning out of the mortgage business in a bid to build more homes.

The nonprofit organization announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Wintrust Mortgage to finance $40 million in below-rate mortgages for affordable housing.

The new program, set to...

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Enterprise CarShare halts service in Chicago, citing 'theft, vandalism and fraud'

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:20:00 PDT

Chicago crime has led Enterprise’s car-sharing operation to cancel existing reservations in the area and stop taking new ones, the company says.

Enterprise CarShare has had “a lack of vehicle availability” for the past six weeks, as "a direct effect of significant vandalism, theft and fraud," the...

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Bentley's Pet Stuff founder: Natural food movement isn't just for humans

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:00:00 PDT

Lisa Senafe used to buy the most expensive pet food she could find, assuming higher price meant better quality. She changed her mind after her two cats' bouts with cancer sent her scouring ingredient lists — and gave her the inspiration for a health-conscious pet supply shop.

"We wanted to create...

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Smart chair and desk to track your backside for employers

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:53:00 PDT

The office of the future features unconventional open spaces, ergonomic products, and — coming soon from furniture designer Herman Miller — smart chairs and desks that track your every movement and report back to your boss.

Introduced this week at the NeoCon commercial interiors show at the Merchandise...

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Sears cuts 400 jobs, no longer qualifies for state tax breaks

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:06:23 PDT

Sears Holdings Corp. on Tuesday said it would eliminate 400 full-time jobs, with most of the job cuts coming at its Hoffman Estates headquarters.

The announcement means Sears' head count in Hoffman Estates has been cut by more than a third since 2011, when it employed 6,200 people at its headquarters...

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United to add more flights, lie-flat seats between Chicago and Hawaii

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:42:00 PDT

United Airlines is adding new flights to Hawaii from four cities, including Chicago.

United will have nonstop flights between Chicago and Maui five days a week starting Dec. 20. Chicago-based United currently only flies that route on Saturday, in addition to daily nonstop flights to Honolulu. The...

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This new banking bill would make consumers pay

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

In Washington, a powerful movement is underway to kill the consumer protections and bank industry regulations that arose from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis.

Perhaps you haven't heard much about it yet, considering some of the other political dramas and tweets dominating the news from our...

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Verizon seals $4.5 billion Yahoo purchase as Mayer steps down

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:26:00 PDT

Verizon Communications is finally getting Yahoo's internet services, giving the telecommunications giant access to hundreds of millions of users, while closing a chapter on the iconic web portal as a stand-alone business after coming under sharp criticism in recent years.

The companies officially...

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Tim Cook teases more details on Apple's car project

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:32:00 PDT

It may be the worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley that Apple has been working on something having to do with cars. The issue is, nobody outside of Apple could really say what the project has been about — until now.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has shed more light on his company's automotive efforts,...

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University of Chicago Medicine may soon be out of UnitedHealthcare's network

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:50:00 PDT

About 8,000 UnitedHealthcare customers who get care from University of Chicago Medicine might have to switch doctors this summer — or pay significantly more for services because of a contract disagreement between the insurer and the medical system.

UnitedHealthcare — the state's second-largest...

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Nearly 90,000 Cook County teens, young adults not in school or working, report says

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:22:00 PDT

Lilia Gomez, 19, knows what it's like to be out of school and out of work.

Amid a storm of events in her life — the incarceration of her mother, a baby at 16 and time spent living in a shelter — Gomez dropped out of high school. She took the time off to care for her son, but she also knew she needed...

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Experts: Uber must make changes at top to fix culture woes

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:26:00 PDT

Uber must get rid of leaders who tolerate bad behavior and hire people who don't — including up to the chief executive — experts say, as the ride-sharing company gets ready to announce significant changes to its culture and management.

Uber's board has adopted the recommendations of former Attorney...

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Meet the first tenant for Willis Tower expansion

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:14:00 PDT

Soon after starting work on a $500 million addition to the base of Chicago's tallest building, Willis Tower's owner has leased out a big chunk of the new space.

New York-based Convene, which provides corporate meeting and event space, said it has leased about 55,000 square feet of what will be...

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McDonald's to hire more U.S. workers this summer, some via Snapchat

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:04:00 PDT

McDonald's said it will hire more U.S. workers this summer to staff french fry stations and cash registers, and it will bring in a new way to apply in an effort to draw in more young applicants.

The world's largest burger chain said the company and its franchisees will hire about 250,000 people...

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Companies end sponsorship over Trump killing scene in play

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 06:56:00 PDT

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have announced that they are pulling their sponsorship of a Manhattan-based theater company's portrayal of Julius Caesar as a Donald Trump look-alike in a business suit who gets knifed to death on stage.

Atlanta-based Delta released a statement on Sunday saying...

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Fighting for their lives, malls reinvent themselves for the experiential set

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 12:33:00 PDT

The American shopping mall isn't dead. But a slice of the industry is on life support, suffering from changing times. Now, mall owners and developers are working on a remedy.

Here's the problem: Many consumers are choosing to spend their money on experiences — not stuff — and when they do shop,...

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Cook County reversal: Soda tax won't apply to food stamp purchases after all

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 19:28:00 PDT

Cook County's sweetened beverage tax will not apply to purchases made with food stamp benefits, county officials said this week, marking the second reversal on the matter since the tax was approved in November.

That means more than 872,000 people in Cook County won't have to pay the penny-per-ounce...

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A plan to protect Chicago's global trade

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 08:37:00 PDT

Over the past 20 years, Chicago has made its way onto the international stage, especially as more local businesses expand globally and many overseas firms open outposts here.

For a city where many residents typically prefer a slice of tasty deep dish pizza over fine French cuisine, it's been an...

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Illinois' bonds, near junk status, are 'no place for an individual investor'

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 12:41:00 PDT

The downgrade of Illinois' bond rating to one step above junk status earlier this month makes one thing very clear: The state's municipal bonds are no place for faint-of-heart investors.

S&P Global Ratings and Moody's, citing the state's budget impasse and its $14.5 billion in unpaid bills, gave...

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Amazon on its way to 9 fulfillment centers, 8,000 employees in Illinois

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 18:47:00 PDT

Received a large package from Amazon recently? A television or a toaster oven, perhaps? There's a chance it stopped in Romeoville on its way to your front door.

More than 1,000 full-time employees at the 750,000-square-foot distribution center, known as a fulfillment center, handle tens of thousands...

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When picking a mover, it's buyer beware of rip-off artists

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 05:59:00 PDT

Hundreds of Chicago-area households this summer will leave their old homesteads for new digs. But before going anywhere, they'll probably make one of their hardest and scariest decisions: hiring a mover.

There are at least 500 local moving companies of all sizes and types advertising on the web....

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Canadian bank CIBC gets OKs for acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 14:15:27 PDT

Canadian bank CIBC has received the regulatory approvals needed to complete its acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp.

The acquisition is expected to close June 23, according to a news release. Once the deal is done, PrivateBancorp stockholders will receive $27.20 in cash and 0.4176 of a CIBC...

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Ex-FBI cybersecurity agent: Your company is at risk — from your own employees

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 11:20:00 PDT

Robert Shields spent 20 years in the FBI hunting cybercriminals and cyberterrorists. When he started, criminals were snatching data off diskettes. Then crime went virtual. The job was intense. He loved it. He rose through the ranks and retired as special agent in charge.

Then he decided to take...

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As workforce bleeds men, health care jobs could be key to keeping them employed

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 10:00:50 PDT

Chauncey Incarnato cycled through a variety of jobs after graduating from college: construction, personal trainer, hotel bellman, bouncer at bars. But none stuck, and even long workweeks barely covered his bills.

Incarnato was skeptical when his mom, a nurse for more than 30 years, suggested a career...

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Mortgage rates are stuck in a monthlong slide

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 10:19:00 PDT

Mortgage rates fell for the fourth week in a row as long-term bond yields continued their extended slide.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 3.89 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent...

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University of Chicago Medicine's new emergency department to open in January

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 14:01:00 PDT

University of Chicago Medicine announced Wednesday that it plans to open its new emergency department in January and begin offering trauma services — long absent from Chicago's South Side — in May.

The opening and new services follow years of campaigning by activists for urgent, high-level medical...

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All eyes on Washington for Comey testimony - even at work

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

It's not the NCAA men's basketball tournament, but former FBI Director James Comey's highly anticipated testimony before the Senate intelligence committee Thursday morning could prove to be a similar distraction as employees tune in to the hearing and tune out their work.

When it comes to workplace...

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50 Illinois companies land on annual Fortune 500 list

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 12:33:00 PDT

Another year, another list of the country's largest and most successful companies. It's the annual Fortune 500 list, which tracks which ones are raking in increasing amounts of money and tagging those that are slipping in size, as measured by annual revenue. Overall, the roster provides a measure...

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United bumpings fall 79 percent following passenger-dragging incident

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 13:04:00 PDT

United Airlines is barring fewer people from boarding its planes following lingering public uproar over the carrier's handling of a passenger who refused to give up his seat on a flight in April.

The Chicago-based airline's "involuntary denied boardings" — which can occur when not enough passengers...

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Dish Network hit with record $280 million fine for 'Do Not Call' violations

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 14:57:00 PDT

A federal judge in Illinois has hit satellite TV provider Dish Network with $280 million in penalties for violating "Do Not Call" telemarketing rules in an 8-year-old case.

The ruling, issued Monday by the U.S. District Court in Springfield, found Dish liable for millions of telephone sales calls...

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Taproom boom: In a slowing craft beer industry, Chicago brewers build locally

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 09:19:00 PDT

Thirsty commuters stepped off the train in Evanston on a recent Friday evening and made a beeline for Sketchbook Brewing, a cozy 25-seat taproom that opened last year. Some bought beer to lug home; other loyal denizens bellied up to the bar.

Welcome to the taproom boom.

The amount of beer downed...

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Illinois overhauls its 529 college savings plans, reducing fees and adding choices

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 09:28:00 PDT

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Tuesday announced that the state is reducing fees and giving more investment choices to people saving money for college in the state's 529 college savings plans.

The changes will be implemented in July as the state winds down its management contract...

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Target shoots for retail comeback, and Chicago area is on front line

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 11:21:00 PDT

Beleaguered retailer Target Corp. is counting on the Chicago area to help trigger its revival and rescue the company.

Under attack from giants Amazon and Walmart, Target is fighting back by opening a raft of mini-stores in area neighborhoods. Each is no larger than 40,000 square feet, compared...

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Supreme Court rules in favor of Advocate Health Care in pension case

Mon, 5 Jun 2017 11:59:28 PDT

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that Advocate Health Care and two other religiously affiliated hospital systems don't have to follow a federal law designed to protect employee pensions.

The justices ruled unanimously in favor of Advocate, with the exception of new Justice Neil Gorsuch, who did...

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Spirits rise, beer falls flat as NFL ends liquor ad ban

Mon, 5 Jun 2017 14:47:28 PDT

Not that Chicago Bears fans need any more reason to hit the bottle after last season, but they'll have more regularly scheduled encouragement during commercial breaks this year.

The National Football League is ending its ban on liquor advertisements, at least as a test for the upcoming season....

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Illinois gas prices lowest in 12 years for start of summer road trip season

Mon, 5 Jun 2017 09:54:00 PDT

Travelers in Illinois are starting summer road trip season with the lowest gas prices for this time of year in more than a decade.

At $2.40 per gallon, the Illinois average for regular unleaded gas was about 2 cents higher than the national average Monday but about 13 cents lower than a year ago,...

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On resilience, kindness and stupid dreams: Celebrity speakers' messages to the Class of 2017

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 11:51:00 PDT

What do Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and actor Robert DeNiro have in common?

Each of them generated a fair amount of notoriety recently for their commencement speeches to various assemblages of the Class of 2017.

Harvard University dropout Zuckerberg...

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Blue Cross customer treatment examined, 27 years after last report released

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 19:44:44 PDT

Illinois is conducting a broad review of how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois treats consumers — 27 years after regulators last released such a report on the state's dominant health insurer.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois confirmed the review this week, in response to questions from...

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Chicagoan, 98, donates Walgreens shares he bought decades ago - now worth $2 million

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 22:13:00 PDT

Nearly 70 years ago, a young Russ Gremel decided to buy about $1,000 worth of stock in a Chicago-based pharmacy chain.

He figured people would always need medicine and women would always buy makeup. He planned to hold onto that stock for a long time, as an investment.

As Gremel grew older, that...

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Sears retirees fear demise of store they loved

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 05:32:00 PDT

The retirees have gathered monthly in a nondescript meeting room in Rosemont for years, patching in conference calls from around the country and reminiscing about the old days when they proudly worked at Sears, "where America shops."

Those mid- to late-20th century days were a time of stiff white...

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From magazines to menus, Time Out plans to open gourmet food hall in Fulton Market

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 13:40:00 PDT

The media group that publishes Time Out entertainment magazines and websites plans to open a gourmet food hall in Chicago's Fulton Market district, after the concept drew more than 3 million visitors in Portugal last year.

Time Out Market is close to finalizing a lease to move into all of a two-story...

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Passage of minimum wage bill generates worker optimism, employer anxiety

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 13:01:05 PDT

Illinois moved a step closer to raising its minimum wage this week, a development that raised hope among some low-wage workers and concern from businesses worried about ballooning payrolls.

The Illinois Senate approved a bill late Wednesday — just a day after the House passed the same measure —...

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A headline from the future? 'Rauner signs minimum wage bill, economy improves'

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 14:47:00 PDT

The typical business owner or operator can bristle at being told what to do, especially when it's the government doing the telling.

This is particularly true when it comes to the provocative issue of raising the minimum wage. So it's no surprise that many business powers loathe the recently passed...

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Toilets, chocolate and lighting: Cubs' official partners get nontraditional

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 15:14:00 PDT

The Chicago Cubs' official hot dog is nearly ubiquitous at Wrigley Field, and some might argue that fans are a little too familiar with the team's official beer, but what about its official grill, hot chocolate or collagen?

Let's not forget the team's "Official Water Efficiency Partner," which...

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Illinois cut near junk by Moody's and S&P, lowest ever for a U.S. state

Fri, 2 Jun 2017 04:50:00 PDT

Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody's Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for a U.S. state, as the long-running political stalemate over the budget shows no signs of ending.

S&P warned that Illinois will likely losing its investment-grade...

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$141 million project to bring 429 apartments to State Street

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 14:54:00 PDT

A Chicago developer has struck a deal to buy a row of long-empty State Street buildings from the federal government, with plans to convert them to 429 apartments and retail space.

CA Ventures plans a $141 million redevelopment of the buildings in the 200 block of South State Street, near the Dirksen...

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Lou Malnati's son talks expansion, gluten-free pizza and staying relevant

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

How does an iconic Chicago restaurant navigate increasing competition while preserving the secret sauce that made it successful in the first place?

Ask Marc Malnati. The son of pizza chain namesake Lou Malnati has overseen some big changes at the business his father created, like the sale of an...

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Up to 25 percent of U.S. shopping malls may close in the next five years, report says

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 05:36:00 PDT

Between 20% and 25% of the nation’s shopping malls will close in the next five years, according to a new report from Credit Suisse that predicts e-commerce will continue to pull shoppers away from bricks-and-mortar retailers.

For many, the Wall Street firm’s finding may come as no surprise. Long-standing...

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Through nostalgia or necessity, hand-painted signs have persisted in Chicago

Wed, 31 May 2017 12:04:00 PDT

Dan Kamba and Chuck Wilmarth are debating how to spell Oscar Mayer wiener.

The "i" should be before the "e," says Kamba, co-owner of Southwest Signs in the Clearing neighborhood, but Wilmarth, the other co-owner and Kamba's brother-in-law, wants to be sure. Brush in hand and bent over a 4-by-8-foot...

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Deadline for Sun-Times bids extended to Monday

Wed, 31 May 2017 07:41:00 PDT

A proposed deal by Chicago Tribune parent company Tronc to acquire the rival Chicago Sun-Times is on hold for at least a few days to give other viable buyers more time to mount a competitive bid.

In a note sent out to staff Wednesday morning, Sun-Times editor and publisher Jim Kirk said the deadline...

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Amid rumors that Kraft Heinz wants to buy Colgate, has anyone asked why?

Wed, 31 May 2017 14:13:00 PDT

Another round of big deal speculation is underway on Wall Street and locally based Kraft Heinz is, once again, in the thick of such megamerger talk.

This time around, the stock market is chewing over the possibility that packaged food giant Kraft Heinz will acquire toothpaste manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive...

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Rosebud Restaurants to pay $1.9 million to settle race discrimination suit

Wed, 31 May 2017 11:20:00 PDT

Rosebud Restaurants will pay $1.9 million and establish a program to hire African-Americans as part of a settlement of a 4-year-old federal lawsuit that charged the Chicago-based restaurant chain with discriminating against some black job applicants.

The lawsuit, filed by U.S. Equal Employment...

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Potbelly CEO to leave company in August

Wed, 31 May 2017 10:54:00 PDT

Potbelly CEO Aylwin Lewis, who has led the sandwich chain for nine years, is leaving the company in August.

The Chicago company did not give a reason for the departure or name a replacement in a statement late Tuesday. The 63-year-old also held the role of chairman at Potbelly. Shares of the company...

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Why are so many women dropping out of the workforce?

Tue, 30 May 2017 04:24:00 PDT

Mari Villaluna never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. The 36-year-old spent a decade building up a resume as a career counselor and tutor in San Francisco schools after serving in the U.S. Army.

She made about $42,000 at an employment agency, and was regularly sought out by potential employers....

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Obama BBQ? Presidential names don't always provide coattails for businesses

Tue, 30 May 2017 12:57:00 PDT

Elliot Cook expected to have fun when he and co-workers took a colleague who was about to become a first-time dad out for a "last hurrah" in January at a tavern in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood.

But instead of celebrating, Cook said, "people kept on talking about stuff we really didn't...

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British Airways debacle puts spotlight on airlines' old IT systems, cuts

Tue, 30 May 2017 11:16:00 PDT

The catastrophic IT failure at British Airways that ruined travel plans for 75,000 people has raised questions about some older airlines' focus on costs to the detriment of investment in new computer systems.

As British Airways resumed full service Tuesday, shares in its parent company, International...

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Chicago law schools consider accepting GRE as test alternative to LSAT

Tue, 30 May 2017 10:45:24 PDT

In a move that shirks a tradition as old as baby boomers, law schools around the country are starting to consider accepting an admission test other than the LSAT. And Chicago-area schools are watching closely.

The University of Arizona College of Law started it. Early last year, it announced that...

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Many Americans are unaware of the costs of bad credit, survey shows

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Harris Poll and NerdWallet surveyed more than 2,000 Americans about their knowledge of bad credit and credit scores. We found widespread misconceptions about credit scores.(image)



Forget ping pong and free beer: The latest perk for tech workers is doing good

Mon, 29 May 2017 14:10:00 PDT

Lavish perks at tech firms have become the norm. So firms are turning to Loqules, a Playa Vista startup, to offer something else to their young workers: ways to have fun and do community service.(image)