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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: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:56:01 -0600

Copyright: ©2017 Chicago Tribune
 



American-made companies worried about proposed border tax

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:47:00 PST

Some of the loudest opposition to a proposed tax on imports has come from the retail industry, which sent a handful of top CEOs to meet with President Donald Trump last week and has warned that bigger tax bills could mean price hikes for customers.

But the proposed border adjustment tax, part of...

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In Trump era, restaurants risk backlash with political stances

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 07:57:00 PST

More restaurants are serving meals with a side of politics.

In the month since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, local bars, restaurants and cafes have staged politically laced fundraisers and bake sales. Still others have designated their eateries "sanctuaries" that promise a safe and tolerant...

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Once dismissive of Export-Import Bank, Trump could save 'Bank of Boeing,' helping Illinois businesses

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:18:00 PST

The Export-Import Bank of the United States, often derided in some circles as the "Bank of Boeing" and an epicenter of crony capitalism, is regaining favor with one of its harshest critics — President Donald Trump.

On the campaign trail, candidate Trump dissed the Ex-Im Bank as "unnecessary," which...

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Sears cuts 130 corporate jobs, mostly at Hoffman Estates HQ

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:04:11 PST

Sears Holdings laid off about 130 corporate employees Thursday, part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting at least $1 billion in costs this year.

The 130 employees worked in various roles at Sears' corporate offices, mostly in its Hoffman Estates headquarters, Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite...

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Uber harassment case shows a new obstacle for women

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:30:00 PST

There have always been obstacles that prevent women from reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Will they believe me? Will the problem be fixed? Will my reputation be hurt? Will I wind up losing my job?

It would be nice to think we live in more enlightened times, that a person experiencing...

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Plight of company towns: Finding a new identity

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:27:00 PST

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis planned to open this year's State of the City speech by thanking Caterpillar for its longtime commitment to the central Illinois town, declaring "We wouldn't be Peoria without Caterpillar."

It's been that way for decades in Peoria and in other company towns across the United...

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Kraft Heinz stays hungry for big deal meal

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:00:00 PST

It's the epitome of a rich person's problem: You make a $143 billion offer to buy something, only to have the bid summarily rejected and then, adding insult to injury, you're told to shove off.

Essentially, that's what happened recently when Europe's Unilever, a giant maker of food, personal care...

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GE Healthcare moving hundreds of jobs from Barrington to Chicago

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 03:30:00 PST

GE Healthcare says it's moving hundreds of jobs, primarily in technology, from Barrington to Chicago. 

The General Electric subsidiary, which announced last year it was moving its headquarters from the U.K. to Chicago, plans to move its Barrington operations to the downtown office where GE Transportation...

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A LinkedIn for Chicago's youth? Yolobe looks to connect kids with opportunities

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:56:00 PST

Chicago youth venturing into the wilderness of young adulthood soon will have a new tool to connect them to jobs and training opportunities.

Yolobe, which aspires to be a LinkedIn for Chicago high school students, aims to tackle the city's alarming youth jobless rate with a social media app that...

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Why Trump's immigration crackdown could sink U.S. home prices

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:38:00 PST

In San Francisco, an Indian software engineer on a work permit canceled plans to bid on a $900,000 home. In Washington, a Brazilian nonprofit executive passed on a fixer-upper near her office. And, in Mesa, Arizona, a 24-year-old son of undocumented Mexican immigrants won the trust of a bank --...

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The latest amenity for attracting luxury rental tenants: Live-in musicians

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:48:00 PST

Magellan Development Corp. is planning to fill a fairly unorthodox position at its newly opened 36-story River North building: live-in musician.

The new position is the latest salvo to be fired in the battle for renters in downtown Chicago, where a boom in a luxury residential construction has...

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City Council approves big fee reduction for food cart owners

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:30:24 PST

Chicago's food cart owners soon will see drastic cuts in license fees, after a proposal intended to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to start and sustain food cart businesses cleared the City Council on Wednesday.

The ordinance, put forth as part of a business license reform package by Mayor...

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CHA gives Texas developer green light to build homes on Cabrini-Green site

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:36:00 PST

A Texas-based company has been tapped to develop more than 480 units of mixed-income housing on 6.9 acres of the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners greenlighted El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Development Group to lead the project,...

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Trump deportation threats to constrict already-tight job market, could cost economy $5 trillion

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:00:00 PST

President Donald Trump's sweeping crackdown on immigrants in the country illegally will strain an already tight U.S. job market, with one study suggesting that removing all of them would cost the economy as much as $5 trillion over 10 years.

That represents the contribution of the millions of unauthorized...

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Illinois hospitals commit to increasing organ transplants

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:46:02 PST

When Jacob Lenzini's dad died suddenly two years ago, it felt, to the teenager, like the end of hope.

The Park Ridge man, Chris Lenzini, had a stroke, and within a few days was declared brain-dead, the result of a previously undiscovered brain tumor.

Jacob never thought anything positive could come...

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Beauty companies ramp up the pace to keep up with faster trends

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:17:00 PST

When reality TV star Kylie Jenner introduced her first cosmetics products to the internet in late 2015, the Kylie Lip Kits — matte liquid lipstick and lip liner combos — sold out in minutes.

Competing brands were paying attention. Companies quickly started promoting their own matte lipsticks as...

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Big changes planned for the sell-by dates on food packaging

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:49:00 PST

The majority of Americans have no clear idea what "sell by" labels are trying to tell them. But after 40 years of letting us guess, the grocery industry has made moves to clear up the confusion.

The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the two largest trade groups for the...

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Why you don't need Warren Buffett to get your finances in order

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:26:00 PST

You don't have to be Warren Buffett to be richer.

Nor do you need to have him hold your hand to get there.

Yet, a recent study shows most Americans are deeply uncertain about handling their money, and they'd like Warren Buffett to help them figure it out.

If you are among them, take a deep breath...

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Pharma firm CEO insists $89,000 drug is affordable, but what's the true cost?

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:56:00 PST

When Marathon Pharmaceuticals' $89,000 price tag for a year's supply of its newly approved muscular dystrophy drug sparked outrage earlier this month, the company's CEO responded with another figure: $20.

That's how much he expected Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients would pay per prescription...

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Amid merger speculation, Oreo-maker Mondelez launches new health-focused brand

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:32:35 PST

Amid merger speculation that boosted the company's stock, Oreo-maker Mondelez International announced the launch of a savory snack brand Tuesday targeted at today's health-conscious consumers.

Shares of Mondelez closed at $44.97 Tuesday, up more than 5.8 percent, bolstered by speculation that the...

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Nearly a year after layoffs, former Oreo plant workers struggle to find their way

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:46:00 PST

Susana Palomo couldn't sleep for a week, torn between a dream and reality.

One of the hundreds of workers laid off last year from the Nabisco plant on Chicago's Southwest Side, where Oreos were made for more than six decades, Palomo had embarked on a bold plan to attend college and perhaps open...

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Kraft Heinz withdraws $143B bid to buy Unilever

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:03:00 PST

Ketchup maker and packaged food giant Kraft Heinz has withdrawn a $143 billion offer to buy Unilever, backing away after the mayonnaise, tea and seasonings maker rejected the bid as too low.

The companies announced the decision Sunday in a joint press release, saying that Kraft Heinz has "amicably"...

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Flagging unions can win big by going small

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:27:00 PST

Organized labor's failure to unionize Boeing's South Carolina manufacturing plant this week can be interpreted as a sign that unions are losing their battle to become a bigger and more relevant player in a rapidly changing economy.

However, the machinist union's ignominious Boeing defeat, where...

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McDonald's hopes to lure customers by giving longtime menu items a face-lift

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:02:00 PST

Old favorites are getting new life under the Golden Arches.

Last month, McDonald's rolled out two new sizes of Big Macs — the Grand Mac and the Mac Jr. — and a few weeks ago, it added to its annual Shamrock Shake offer with four new mint-flavored drinks. Other riffs on menu staples are being offered...

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Marathon Pharma may get boot from industry organization over $89,000 drug

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:11:00 PST

Marathon Pharmaceuticals' $89,000 price tag for a muscular dystrophy drug has drawn the ire of the pharmaceutical industry's main lobbying group, which is reconsidering whether it wants companies like Marathon as members.

The group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, represents...

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Dozens of businesses across Chicago close to support immigrants

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 04:00:00 PST

Immigrants across Chicago heeded a call to skip work and school Thursday to demonstrate the economic power of a community that has been shaken by the Trump administration's hard-line stance on immigration.

Numerous businesses — including restaurants, dental offices, construction sites and grocery...

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After Trump ban, fewer foreigners showing interest in travel to U.S., except for Russians

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:14:00 PST

President Donald Trump's travel ban may be on a court-imposed hold, but the executive order already has affected international travel to and from the U.S. — far more broadly than prescribed.

From business trips to vacation plans, international demand has fallen in the wake of the Jan. 27 order,...

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What's Warren thinking? Airlines are in for bumpy ride, but Buffett bets big

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 05:10:00 PST

Wall Street and Main Street perk up and take notice when superinvestor Warren Buffett buys a bunch of stock in a major company.

This week, the Oracle of Omaha's investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, generated attention by boosting its stake in two major airlines with deep Chicago-area roots,...

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In Chicago area, apartment developers increasingly look to the suburbs

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:37:00 PST

Apartment construction downtown has been red-hot, and now the boom is spreading to some Chicago neighborhoods and out to the suburbs.

"There is a lot of activity in the neighborhoods," Appraisal Research Counselors Vice President Gail Lissner told a ballroom full of local real estate professionals...

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Puzder withdraws as Labor nominee, furthering White House turmoil

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:53:00 PST

Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump's labor secretary nominee, withdrew from consideration Wednesday amid growing resistance from Senate Republicans centered primarily on Puzder's past employment of an undocumented housekeeper.

The collapse of Puzder's nomination threw the White House into further...

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Exelon competitors file lawsuit to stop nuclear subsidies

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:02:00 PST

Energy giant Exelon is confident that an attempt to derail a law that could help subsidize two of its downstate nuclear power plants won't hold up in federal court.

A group of the Chicago-based company's competitors filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Illinois regulators, alleging the new state law...

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Chicago's downtown apartment construction boom may be nearing peak

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 07:21:00 PST

The massive apartment construction boom in downtown Chicago is starting to show signs of saturation, and rents will likely start to decline by fall, Appraisal Research Counselors reported Tuesday.

Rents fell about 14.7 percent during the fourth quarter to $2.89 a square foot for the top-quality,...

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Targeted by Obama, for-profit colleges see opening with Trump

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:56:00 PST

The invitation went out to top universities including Ohio State and Notre Dame: Let's talk about the future of American higher education under President Donald Trump.

It also went to a less-august institution: DeVry Education Group.

That DeVry was invited to a January "listening session" on education...

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Marathon Pharmaceuticals is in the spotlight for drug pricing - again

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 07:00:00 PST

Marathon Pharmaceuticals is only 6 years old, but this week's uproar surrounding its $89,000 muscular dystrophy drug isn't the first time the company — or its CEO — has faced outrage over drug pricing.

Monday, only four days after it received regulatory approval to market a drug to treat Duchenne...

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Hooters opens 'Hoots' concept with counter service, more heavily clothed staff

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:37:00 PST

Hooters has opened a new spinoff restaurant that fans of the chain famous for its scantily clad female waitstaff may not recognize.

The new quick-service restaurant, called Hoots, opened Monday in Cicero with a few major changes: The menu is condensed significantly from a typical Hooters, offering...

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Amazon was coming to Illinois anyway. It's time to cut off the tax credits.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 03:40:00 PST

With plans to employ up to 7,000 people at nine Chicago-area and downstate facilities, Amazon.com is well on its way to becoming a solid corporate citizen in Illinois.

You can't beat jobs and business expansion.

Still, you know what would make global e-commerce giant Amazon an even better neighbor?...

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Cigna rejects Anthem's $48 billion takeover bid; sues for $1.85 billion termination fee

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:47:00 PST

Cigna says it is rejecting Anthem's proposed $48 billion acquisition bid and suing the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer.

The announcement comes hours after another major insurer, Aetna, said it was abandoning its planned $34 billion purchase of Medicare Advantage provider Humana.

The Department of...

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Marathon's muscular dystrophy drug delayed after lawmakers question $89,000 price tag

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 06:48:00 PST

A Northbrook pharmaceutical company is "pausing" its commercial launch of a newly approved drug for muscular dystrophy — a medication with an $89,000 price tag that has shocked patient advocates and members of Congress.

Marathon Pharmaceuticals' deflazacort, used to treat patients with a fatal...

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Zillow Group owes $8.2 million to Rosemont photo company, jury finds

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:56:00 PST

Zillow Group, parent company of the well-known house-hunting site, was ordered to pay more than $8.2 million in damages to real estate photography company VHT after using thousands of its photos without proper permission.

Zillow said it plans to seek to overturn the verdict, which affects photographs...

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Insurers raise rates after crashes - even if driver not to blame, study finds

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:38:11 PST

Drivers who get rear-ended in Chicago and other major cities are also likely to get hit with rate increases from their insurance companies — even when they are not at fault.

A study released Monday by the Consumer Federation of America found premiums can rise by hundreds of dollars per year for...

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The bartender knows why Tuesdays are busy, but he won't spill Tinder secrets

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 07:59:00 PST

On Tuesday, prix-fixe Valentine's Day menus and decadent desserts will dominate as restaurants cater to couples. But on any other Tuesday, it's all about first dates.

The rise in dating apps has created a population full of serial first-daters that flock to Chicago bars and restaurants in droves,...

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Millennials: Here's how to jump-start your saving habits

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:00:00 PST

If you're in your 20s or 30s there's a strong chance that you are getting puny paychecks that never seem to stretch far enough, and you may look at everything your baby boomer parents have and wonder if you'll ever catch up.

But that doesn't mean you're going to feel poor forever.

As a generation,...

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Sears: You can still buy Trump goods on our sites, sold by other companies

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:38:00 PST

Sears Holdings pushed back Monday against reports it had joined retailers dumping merchandise carrying the Trump name.

Last week, Sears removed 31 Trump Home items from the Sears and Kmart online stores. But customers still can find Trump Home and Ivanka Trump merchandise on the stores' websites,...

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Gurnee's KeyLime Cove indoor water park planned to close, reopen as Great Wolf Lodge

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:15:00 PST

Days could be numbered for Midwesterners to get a taste of the tropics year-round at the KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort in Gurnee.

Great Wolf Lodge, which operates indoor water park complexes in Wisconsin Dells and more than a dozen other markets, plans to buy the 414-room KeyLime Cove resort,...

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Sears, Kmart join other retailers in dropping Trump-branded items

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:31:00 PST

The list of companies dropping products that carry the Trump name grew this weekend, with two major U.S. retailers announcing that they're no longer selling Trump Home items online.

Reuters reported Saturday that Sears Holdings and subsidiary Kmart will discontinue online sales of 31 items from...

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Travel ban uncertainty worries hospitals, med students as Match Day nears

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 18:24:00 PST

Ahmed Alsayed typed emails to more than a dozen hospitals after President Donald Trump announced his travel ban.

Alsayed urged them to still consider him for their residency programs despite the fact that he's from Sudan, one of seven Muslim-majority countries mentioned in Trump's executive order...

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Sears could close more stores, cut jobs in effort to cut $1 billion in 2017

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:11:00 PST

Sears Holdings Corp. on Friday said it would slash costs by at least $1 billion this year in a restructuring that could mean more job cuts and store closings.

The Hoffman Estates-based retailer also said it was writing down the value of the Sears name by $350 million to $400 million.

Sears previously...

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Mexican mayors visiting Chicago send defiant message to Trump

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:52:00 PST

Mayors from three of Mexico's largest cities were in Chicago on Friday, seeking to reinforce their relationships with the city and reassure members of the local Mexican community who are worried by the policies of President Donald Trump.

The delegation, which included Miguel Angel Mancera of Mexico...

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Local businesses wait while Trump's travel ban is in limbo

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 05:34:00 PST

The corporate rage against President Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban is being led by the nation's technology companies, but nearly every business in the Chicago area and elsewhere has a stake in this melee.

Right now, a legal dispute is underway that's challenging the president's broadly...

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FDA approves Northbrook company's $89,000 muscular dystrophy drug

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 15:31:00 PST

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a Northbrook pharmaceutical company's drug to treat a deadly form of childhood-onset muscular dystrophy — only the second FDA-approved drug for the disease and the first for everyone with the disorder.

Marathon Pharmaceutical's deflazacort,...

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Nordstrom, Under Armour and Netflix: Do #boycotts work?

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 15:22:00 PST

Attention boycotters: Your #boycott brand-of-the-day efforts may not even matter.

Especially these days, since the boycotts, experts say, are constantly changing and unlikely to impact a company's bottom line unless its name remains in the headlines.

One day it's #boycottNordstrom, the next, #boycottStarbucks...

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Glenview-based Mead Johnson, maker of baby formula, sold to British firm for $16.6 billion

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:53:00 PST

The British parent company of the top-selling condom globally is poised to acquire the company known for the world's leading infant formula brand.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, Glenview-based Mead Johnson Nutrition, producer of Enfamil infant formula, announced it reached an agreement to...

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Trump tells United CEO, other airline execs he wants to rebuild U.S. airports

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 17:50:48 PST

In a meeting with airline and airport executives from Chicago and around the country Thursday, President Donald Trump made one thing very clear: He wants to rebuild America's airports.

It was Trump's refrain in the White House Meeting, said Kevin Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International...

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Cheaper costs for food cart vendors? City looks at cutting fees

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 04:55:00 PST

A town famous for its hot dogs (hold the ketchup) may see an uptick in vendors to sell them this summer.

A pair of city committees on Wednesday approved drastic cuts in the costs associated with starting a food cart, which advocates say can run thousands of dollars. The ordinance, put forth as...

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Want a raise? Get Trump to insult your company

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 16:04:00 PST

Traditionally, workers hoping for a pay raise, better job security or improved benefits would work hard, innovate, embrace new ideas and push to make their company more profitable.

But now there's an easier way to reach those goals: Just get the president of the United States to attack your company.

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In Trump era, a call for corporate board diversity

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 03:21:00 PST

A new report is out and it chronicles one of corporate America's oldest epic fails: An inability to fill major corporate boards with more women and minorities — the very groups that are increasingly becoming consumer, commercial and social powerhouses.

As the Tribune reported this week, the nation's...

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Illinois plan for retirement accounts at small employers is in jeopardy

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 11:09:00 PST

Illinois' new Secure Choice program, which is supposed to let 1.3 million workers save for retirement easily through their jobs at small companies, is being threatened by an attempt by Congress to roll back business regulation, according to Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs.

Secure Choice, which...

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New hope for South Works, but will plan live up to site's potential?

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 07:10:00 PST

Is the biggest chunk of vacant land on Chicago's lakefront, once home to U.S. Steel Corp.'s legendary South Works mill, finally going to get developed and become a vibrant link in the city's renowned chain of shoreline parks?

As Frank Livak, a 64-year-old former machinist at the mill, fished Tuesday...

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Wheeling-based Evanger's recalls dog food over fears it may contain euthanasia drug

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 08:05:00 PST

 A Wheeling-based pet food-maker is voluntarily recalling some of its dog food over concerns that it might contain a sedative used to euthanize animals. Several dogs in Washington state became sick on New Year's Eve after eating the food, and one died, Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Co. said.

The pug,...

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Nordstrom's Ivanka Trump dump draws a tweet as other retailers rethink brand

Wed, 8 Feb 2017 14:54:00 PST

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to lambaste Nordstrom over its decision last week to dump first daughter Ivanka Trump's line of clothing and accessories because it wasn't selling well.

But other retailers seem to be stepping away from the brand too.

Neiman Marcus appeared...

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United passengers again delayed due to computer problems

Wed, 8 Feb 2017 14:41:00 PST

United Airlines experienced delays for hundreds of flights at airports across the country Wednesday because of a systemwide computer problem affecting flight plans, the latest in a series of technical glitches for major airlines.

The problem, which arose early Wednesday morning, slowed down the...

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Where’s that sweater you want to buy? High-tech tags help retailers track it down

Wed, 8 Feb 2017 04:07:00 PST

Hold the tags dangling from a T-shirt at a retailer like Target or Levi's up to the light, and odds are you'll see one with paper-thin electronics embedded inside.

Most shoppers likely never notice them. But those tiny radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags are what help some retailers accurately...

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Naperville to Caterpillar: 'We're open for business'

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 20:53:00 PST

With tiny yellow Caterpillar excavators, dump trucks and front end loaders sitting on city council desks dais Tuesday night, the City of Naperville sent a message to Caterpillar: We want you.

"We want them to know we're open for business," Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said. "We'd certainly love...

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Immigration lawyers swamped in wake of travel ban

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 15:03:34 PST

While President Donald Trump's suspended travel ban may be up in the air, one thing is certain: His executive order has put the field of immigration law front and center.

"It's extremely busy. I'm fielding a lot more calls than I normally would, not only from new clients, but also from clients...

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Suburbs vs. city: Who will win the wooing contest for Caterpillar's headquarters?

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 04:00:00 PST

It's on: Suburbs versus the city.

That's among the area's oldest economic development matchups and, right now, an interesting contest is shaping up over who is going to win the headquarters of massive manufacturer Caterpillar, which last week said it was leaving longtime home Peoria for the "Chicago...

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Mesirow Financial taps insider Dominick Mondi for president

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 11:49:05 PST

Mesirow Financial has named executive Dominick Mondi as its president, filling a spot vacant since 2011 and tipping its hand as to a possible successor to Chief Executive Richard Price.

Price, 69, has held the CEO job at the Chicago-based investment, risk management and advisory services firm since...

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Trump lashes out at Nordstrom in a tweet for dropping his daughter's apparel line

Wed, 8 Feb 2017 12:24:00 PST

In January, days before President Donald Trump's inauguration, his daughter Ivanka Trump declared that she'd be stepping away from her management role at the clothing and shoe brand that bears her name.

And yet, on Wednesday, the president lashed out on Twitter at department store Nordstrom over...

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Despite backlash, we'll probably see more gender-themed ads like Audi's Super Bowl spot

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 06:54:00 PST

One of the most-discussed ads during the Super Bowl Sunday night was not about football, beer or food. It was an Audi ad about the gender pay gap, featuring a dad watching his little girl competing in a cart race and questioning whether she'd be compensated equally when she grows up. "What do I...

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Vizio TVs were spying on their owners, the government says

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 09:31:00 PST

The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers.

The television maker agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a case with the FTC and the New Jersey attorney general's office after the agencies accused it of secretly collecting — and selling...

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Closing date nears for Huntley Outlet Center

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 13:50:00 PST

At Huntley Outlet Center, it's about time for the last one out to turn off the lights.

Only seven stores at the 279,000-square-foot outlet mall in Huntley, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, remain open. A Banana Republic Factory Store and Darna Furniture have not announced closing dates but...

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Diversity advocate: Boards 'not moving fast enough' to add women, minorities

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 13:39:12 PST

The CEO didn't want to hire a woman, and he let Carla Carstens know it.

In fact, it was the first thing he told her when she came in to interview for a board position at his private company.

"He started the conversation out saying, 'I really wanted somebody just like me, but my board said I needed...

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The best and worst Super Bowl commercials of 2017

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 06:43:00 PST

As 2017’s NFL championship played out on the field, the bigger-money game took place between the plays. Here is a look at the best, the worst and the just OK, our review of the Super Bowl ads that sponsors paid more than $5 million per 30 seconds to air. 

Budweiser, B+

Instead of presenting another...

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Medical marijuana companies in Illinois battle growing pains

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 15:26:39 PST

It should be a routine call, scheduling a visit from the cable guy to set up internet access. But nothing's routine when you're running a medical marijuana company.

"There's this flurry of activity that starts with the account manager with a headset on in a cubicle," said Jeremy Unruh, general counsel...

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Why it's a good idea to file your taxes early

Sun, 5 Feb 2017 06:12:00 PST

Tax season is here, and while you have until April 18 to file your return, you may want to think about doing so sooner rather than later. Here are a few expert tips on why:IDENTITY THEFTFiling early essentially beats criminals to the punch.Identity theft is a growing problem and one often tied...

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Obama saw low-wage workers as struggling moms. Trump may see them as suburban teens

Mon, 6 Feb 2017 05:34:00 PST

Andy Puzder, the fast-food executive who is President Trump’s nominee for Labor secretary, fondly recalls his first job: scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins for a buck an hour as a teenager near Cleveland.

"I learned a lot about inventory and customer service,” the chief executive of CKE Restaurants...

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How long has your doctor been on duty? Groups protest idea of 28-hour shifts

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 15:05:00 PST

Several groups are speaking out against a proposal to allow new doctors to work up to 28-hour shifts — an idea that's raised questions about patient safety, physician well-being and what's necessary to train great doctors.

Supporters say boosting the maximum number of work hours allowed doesn't...

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For too many neighborhood businesses, bank loans are hard to get

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 07:08:00 PST

When it comes to obtaining small-business loans, especially among minority-owned firms, too many Chicago-area entrepreneurs are getting a cold shoulder from the banks.

That's one of the troubling discoveries from a new report on lending patterns by the Woodstock Institute, a locally based nonprofit...

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Trump takes first step to scale back financial regulations

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 15:45:00 PST

President Donald Trump launched his long-promised attack Friday on banking rules that were rushed into law after the nation's economic crisis, signing new orders after meeting with business and investment chiefs and pledging further action to free big banks from restrictions. Wall Street cheered...

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WeatherTech founder bets big on Super Bowl ads

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 10:18:00 PST

When Super Bowl LI kicks off Sunday night on Fox, David MacNeil, the founder and CEO of WeatherTech, will once again have some skin in the game.

WeatherTech, a formerly obscure Bolingbrook floor mat manufacturer, is running a spot in its fourth consecutive Super Bowl, entering the rarefied air...

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Chicago's in the Super Bowl: Local firms team up to make big game's footballs

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 12:17:00 PST

When the 51st Super Bowl kicks off Sunday, a Chicago product will be at the center of the action.

Don't get your hopes up, Bears fans — your memories of this season weren't just a bad dream. But while the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are supplying the players, Chicago-based Wilson Sporting...

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Companies standing up to Trump may become common

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 15:28:47 PST

The concept of workplace culture — uniting employees behind a set of shared goals and values — has never been more important.

Companies hire on the basis of cultural fit. They recruit using culture as a lure that can hold greater sway than perks, benefits and even salary.

But commitment to culture...

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Vaccination funding may be cut if Obamacare ends, public health experts warn

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 15:06:00 PST

Many worry that up to 1 million Illinois consumers could lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed.

But Chicago Department of Public Health leaders aren't just worried about that part of the Affordable Care Act being repealed. They're also concerned about the possible loss of funds used...

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At the corner of happy and healthy, Walgreens still sells cigarettes. It's time to kick the habit.

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 06:26:00 PST

After decades of selling cigarettes and other tobacco-based products, the drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance should screw up some corporate courage and finally kick the habit.

Like beating any addiction, it won't be easy for the Deerfield-based chain to go cold turkey. After all, Walgreens...

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Hoping for 'adrenaline boost' in flagging neighborhoods, Cook County selling more than 4,000 vacant lots

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 09:17:00 PST

Aiming to curb Chicago's vacant lot epidemic, the Cook County Land Bank Authority has made more than 4,000 once tax-delinquent vacant lots available for sale.

The 4,437 properties are available in 22 community areas, primarily on Chicago's West and South sides and in 12 west and south suburbs,...

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Uber CEO quits Trump council of business leaders amid boycott calls

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 15:13:00 PST

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has quit President Donald Trump's council of business leaders, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Kalanick wrote to his employees that he'd spoken with Trump on Thursday to "let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic...

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In Peoria, Caterpillar's move feels like 'kick in the gut'

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:17:00 PST

For almost 60 years, Caterpillar executives have dined regularly at Jim's Steakhouse, an elegant, dimly lit restaurant in downtown Peoria. A small toy bulldozer signed by a former executive hangs on the wall.

"We've served every CEO throughout the years. And now they're going to be eating at Gibson's"...

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Hooters' newest experiment: Quick service, more fabric, coed servers

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 14:36:00 PST

Call it Hooters 2.0: A new restaurant concept being rolled out by the chain is tossing out the skimpy uniforms and introducing counter service and coed staff.

Hooters' parent company is set to open the first location of its new quick-service chain, Hoots, this month in Cicero. The smaller-scale...

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Restoration Hardware accuses Crate and Barrel of stealing trade secrets

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:09:47 PST

Restoration Hardware is trying to pull the rug out from under Crate and Barrel, as the two big-name home furnishing stores butt heads in court over trade secrets and in-store cafes.

And at the center of it is the trendy Three Arts Club Cafe operated by Restoration Hardware inside its RH Chicago...

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The Tie Bar CEO wants menswear brand to 'not be afraid to take risks'

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 08:30:00 PST

Dressing down at the office may be on the rise, but The Tie Bar CEO Allyson Lewis says there are still plenty of men turning to neckties, tie bars and pocket squares to "set themselves apart."

Lewis, who joined the menswear retailer 3½ years ago after stints at Nordstrom and Mark Shale, oversaw...

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Cat's new HQ goal: Change culture

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:33:00 PST

To change a corporate culture, change the location of the corporate headquarters.

In a nutshell, that seems to be the goal of James Umpleby, Caterpillar's recently named CEO, who is leading the heavy construction and equipment maker's headquarters relocation from its longtime home in Peoria to...

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Women are, very slowly, getting more seats in the boardroom

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 07:26:00 PST

The number of women sitting at the table in corporate boardrooms across the country is rising very slowly, but it's rising.

Just over 15 percent of all director seats at publicly traded U.S. companies were held by women as of Dec. 31, according to a study by Equilar, a corporate research firm....

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Caterpillar will move headquarters to Chicago area, citing transportation access

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:13:00 PST

Caterpillar said Tuesday it would scrap plans to build new offices in Peoria and instead relocate its headquarters and 300 employees to the Chicago area, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile companies seeking a bigger talent pool and better transportation options.

The announcement, made...

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Park West's Wrigley mansion listed Tuesday for $7 million

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:18:19 PST

The nine-bedroom, 13,705-square-foot Theurer-Wrigley House across from Lincoln Park came back on the market Tuesday for $7.15 million.

Designed by architect Richard Schmidt and built in 1896 for brewer Joseph Theurer, the massive late Italian Renaissance-style mansion is known today as the Wrigley...

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Chicago's bag tax took effect Wednesday. Here's what you need to know.

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 06:27:00 PST

As of Wednesday, Chicago is nudging shoppers to BYOB — bring your own bag, that is.

A checkout tax of 7 cents per bag will be added at all Chicago retailers, the city's latest attempt to cut down on the use of disposable bags, typically provided for free at checkout, which often end up in landfills.

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With executive order, Trump makes rookie managerial mistake

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 13:34:42 PST

President Donald Trump, who took office claiming to be among the world's most experienced and savvy business executives, made a rookie managerial mistake when he issued an executive order Friday temporarily suspending entry of refugees into the U.S.

While doggedly determined to keep his campaign...

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Chicago's racial wealth gap far worse than U.S. average, report finds

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 05:11:00 PST

About 65 percent of African-American, Latino and Asian households in Chicago have so little savings and other assets that a sudden job loss, medical emergency or other income disruption would throw them into poverty within three months, according to a report on wealth inequities in the city.

The...

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Victor Lownes, helped create Playboy Clubs, dies at 88

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:54:00 PST

Hugh Hefner may have launched Playboy magazine, but Victor Lownes came up with one of the keys to its success.

Lownes, who joined Playboy in 1955 as marketing director when the Chicago-based publication was struggling to make a success out of its racy photographs of beautiful women, helped groom...

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Geraci's lawsuit to keep dogs off condo elevators moving forward

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 07:49:00 PST

The wife of a prominent Chicago bankruptcy attorney is moving forward with a lawsuit against her condo association for forcing her to share the elevator with dogs.

A Chicago federal judge has ruled that Holly Geraci's housing discrimination lawsuit against the Union Square Condominium Association,...

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Garrett Popcorn owner to buy Frango from Macy's, returning brand to local ownership

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:39:00 PST

Garrett Brands, the owner of Garrett Popcorn Shops, will buy the Frango chocolate brand from Macy's for a undisclosed sum, the companies announced Monday.

The purchase would return the Frango brand, once the trademark premium chocolate brand of Marshall Field's, to local ownership.

Chicago-based...

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Walgreens, Rite Aid drop merger price, postpone closing

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:08:57 PST

Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid are revising their proposed merger, slashing more than $2 billion from the purchase price and pushing the closing date back six months while they await regulatory approval.

The tentative deal, which was supposed to close Friday, is now scheduled to close July...

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