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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, 20 Jan 2018 07:30:16 -0600

Copyright: ©2018 Chicago Tribune
 



Amazon creates new playbook for headquarters searches

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:50:00 PST

Corporate relocation searches can be cloak-and-dagger affairs, complete with secretive office tours, project code names and hotel rooms booked under aliases.

Amazon, one of the world’s most powerful and recognizable companies, is turning that model upside down as it considers Chicago and 19 other...

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Chicago made Amazon’s short list. There’s still plenty of competition.

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:30:00 PST

Amazon’s list of 20 potential sites for HQ2, its second headquarters, didn’t overlook any obvious contenders, including Chicago. A few dark horses made the cut too.

Who’s the real competition for Chicago?

Chicago is one of “the big boys,” along with Boston, New York City, Atlanta and Dallas, whose...

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Zombie retailers close stores nationally, hoping for an online afterlife

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:08:00 PST

“Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact.

But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

—“Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen

In retail, some brands that could no longer cut it with brick-and-mortar stores are getting a second wind in the digital world.

Take the apparel retailer the Limited,...

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Waging a necessary but tough battle to restore internet's 'net neutrality' rule

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:35:00 PST

The internet, as we’ve come to know it, is not going down without a fight.

Hooray!

A dogged and determined effort is shaping up in Congress and the courts to roll back a recent Federal Communications Commission decision that essentially hands the web over to an oligopoly of mighty internet service...

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Chicago's competition: A look at the 20 bids for Amazon's HQ2

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:30:00 PST

Chicago was named one of 20 cities on Amazon's short list for its second headquarters, known as HQ2. Some bidders put their offers, videos and all, online. Others kept their bids close to their vest but some details have leaked out over time.

Atlanta

Officials have called Georgia’s bid for HQ2...

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Amazon HQ2 contenders include Chicago; Rauner, Emanuel react by trading jabs

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 18:34:00 PST

Chicago is among 20 suitors still in contention for Amazon’s second headquarters, as the city vies to win one of the most heavily contested — and most publicly conducted — corporate office deals in decades.

Local boosters had just a few hours to revel in Amazon’s Thursday announcement about its...

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Of course Chicago made Amazon's short list for HQ2. Now we'll see if it's a winner, or just a contender.

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:00:00 PST

No one should be surprised Chicago is on Amazon’s list of 20 potential locations for HQ2, its coveted second headquarters.

It would have been astounding — not to mention embarrassing — if the city didn’t make the cut.

Nonetheless, Amazon’s lineup doesn’t offer much guidance. It’s spread out all...

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Chicago's Amazon HQ2 sites: Which ones are contenders?

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 04:00:00 PDT

The bids are in for Amazon's planned second headquarters. Now, the waiting begins. Here is a look at some sites Chicago has to offer.(image)



Chicago sets sights on Apple and its new campus: 'We’re going to go compete'

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:15:00 PST

Chicago has another technology behemoth to woo: Apple.

The city, which is waiting to find out if it’s a contender for Amazon’s planned second headquarters, learned Wednesday that another tech company that starts with an “A” is looking for a new campus.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said it plans...

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Bonuses are great, but tax law windfall should include workers' retirement perk

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

The new federal tax law is prompting some large corporations to dole out bonuses to employees — usually $1,000 each. But CEOs should consider awarding another perk: A boost in workers’ retirement funds.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of cash bonuses (hello, boss!) but typically they are quickly...

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McDonald's begins selling off Oak Brook property before headquarters move

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:05:00 PST

As McDonald’s prepares to move to its new headquarters in Chicago’s Fulton Market district this spring, the fast-food chain is also cutting ties with its longtime home in Oak Brook.

McDonald’s 74-acre campus — home to the company’s global headquarters, its Hamburger University and a Hyatt hotel...

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Google's art selfies aren't available in Illinois. Here's why.

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 05:00:00 PST

The Google Arts & Culture app’s new feature seems to be everywhere as social media streams are flooded with photos of friends and the great works of art that resemble them — that is, nearly everywhere but Illinois.

The state is one of two in the country where the Google app’s art selfie feature...

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Actress Tiffany Haddish stars in new Groupon Super Bowl ad, signaling its return to daily deal roots

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 05:25:00 PST

Seven years after its disastrous Super Bowl commercial debut, Groupon is returning to the big game with a new spokeswoman — actress Tiffany Haddish — and a renewed focus on its daily deals roots.

The Chicago-based company, once the face of the city’s tech startup scene, has recruited rising star...

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Number of Americans without health insurance grows in Trump's first year, new figures show

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 05:41:00 PST

The number of Americans without health coverage, which declined for years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, shot up in President Trump’s first year in office, according to data from a new national survey.

At the end of 2017, 12.2% of U.S. adults lacked health insurance, up from 10.9% at...

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McDonald's to recycle packaging in all locations globally by 2025

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 01:00:00 PST

McDonald’s will recycle packaging in all of its almost 37,000 restaurants globally by 2025, the company announced Tuesday.

McDonald’s also announced that all of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs by 2025.

These are big steps for the...

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Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:39:00 PST

The Dow Jones industrial average blew past 26,000 Tuesday for the first time ever, coming only a week after hitting 25,000 and showing further evidence that the long-running bull market is alive and well.

"There are several reasons for markets to melt up at this point," said Alexandra Coupe, associate...

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Your morning fix is fueling Chicago's coffee boom

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 04:00:00 PST

You can’t pry the lattes out of Chicagoans’ winter-worn fingers, and those coffee sales are driving growth in an otherwise stagnant restaurant industry.

Growth in customer visits at coffee chains like Starbucks and Peet’s — as well as coffee-inspired visits to quick-service restaurants like McDonald’s...

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Corporations are getting a huge tax break. Now they can afford to pay workers more. Right?

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 14:50:00 PST

Boss, about that raise and all those new co-workers …

At the center of the new tax bill is a deep and permanent reduction in the corporate tax rate that will provide business titans with billions in extra cash to expand operations, create new jobs and pay higher wages — at least, those are the...

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Second lawsuit against poultry giants alleges chicken price-fixing conspiracy

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:35:00 PST

A second lawsuit has been filed against some of the nation’s largest poultry producers, alleging they have conspired to fix the price of broiler chickens for nearly a decade.

The complaint filed by Winn-Dixie Stores and its sister grocery, Bi-Lo Holdings, against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Park...

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Rich Santo of Culture Studio, where it's OK to yell at your brothers

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 04:00:00 PST

Rich Santo of custom t-shirt designer Culture Studio says his favorite item is a best-selling Led Zeppelin concert shirt — and explains why yelling at his brothers-slash-business partners is just fine.

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/backstory/95633352-132,standalone.html




Dow's historic rise is made in Chicago, led by Boeing and Caterpillar

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:25:00 PST

The Dow Jones industrial average grew to record levels last year, and significant portions of those gains were made in Chicago.

Shares in Chicago-based Boeing have more than doubled in the last year, closing at $336.21 on Friday, as more people around the world take to the skies. That put the plane-maker...

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Saving lives, saving money: Hospitals set up homeless patients with permanent housing

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 08:10:00 PST

When Latesha Holman was homeless, she was a regular in Chicago’s emergency rooms. Sometimes she’d go four times in a single week, battling asthma and a raft of other health problems, though often she just sought refuge from the cold.

Not anymore. Holman, 45, has spent this nasty winter tucked in...

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How long can Chicago's last Sears store beat the odds?

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

It’s the last Sears store operating in Chicago. But considering the woeful financial health of its owner, you have to wonder: How long can it stick around?

It’s a question that hovers like a fog over the Northwest Side’s Portage Park neighborhood, where Sears has been a retail standard-bearer at...

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Amazon HQ2 intrigue continues with reported Boston lease talks

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:45:00 PST

Amazon is reportedly in talks to lease as much as 1 million square feet of office space in Boston, touching off a new round of speculation about where the e-commerce giant’s planned second headquarters will wind up.

Seattle-based Amazon is negotiating a potential lease for an entire 500,000-square-foot...

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6 Chicago-area Sam's Club stores to close

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:20:00 PST

Sam’s Club is closing a third of its Illinois stores — including six in the Chicago area — as part of a plan to shutter 63 stores nationwide.

Warehouse clubs in Batavia, Romeoville, Naperville, Streamwood, Matteson, Wheeling and Moline will close Jan. 26, said Anne Hatfield, spokeswoman for Sam’s...

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Billionaire exec Ken Griffin pays $58.75 million in Chicago area's priciest home sale ever

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 03:03:00 PST

Billionaire Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, has added to his already sizable real estate portfolio in Chicago, paying $58.75 million in November for the top four floors in the recently completed Near North condominium building at 9 W. Walton St., known as No. 9 Walton.

Public records show that...

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Wisconsin launches ad blitz to lure Chicago's 'disillusioned' millennials

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 03:25:00 PST

Wisconsin has launched a $1 million marketing blitz to convince Chicago millennials to trade their hot dogs for brats and move north of the border.

The campaign’s message — in social media, online advertising, and ads on “L” trains and in Chicago-area health clubs, restaurants and bars — is that...

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Sears looks to strengthen finances, or 'consider all other options'

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 10:55:00 PST

After another holiday season of steep sales declines, Sears Holdings Corp. said it is trying to refinance more than $1 billion in debt and seeking other deals to strengthen its balance sheet.

But if those steps fail, the company’s board “will consider all other options to maximize the value of...

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In Chicago's real estate market, ultrawide buildings are in vogue. Here's why.

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 13:35:00 PST

Although they were built for now-outdated uses such as mail-order catalogs, Chicago’s widest buildings have established 21st-century relevance by landing some of the city’s largest office leases in recent years.

In nearly simultaneous deals, Chicago’s sprawling structures ended 2017 on a high note,...

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American Airlines picks Lands' End to replace controversial uniforms

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 10:15:00 PST

American Airlines is turning to Lands’ End to replace uniforms that employees blamed for health problems and which left the airline and the previous supplier facing a lawsuit.

Those uniforms, introduced in 2016 and made by Twin Hill, led to thousands of complaints from flight attendants and crew...

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Suburban restaurant in DoorDash lawsuit: Stop delivering our food

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 04:00:00 PST

A suburban Chicago restaurant filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Monday against DoorDash, alleging the California-based online delivery service used its logo and sold its food without permission.

Burger Antics, a 5-year-old Brookfield restaurant featuring locally sourced meat and exotic toppings,...

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Brad Keywell's Uptake lays off 51 employees

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 12:40:00 PST

Uptake Technologies laid off 51 employees Tuesday at its Chicago headquarters, co-founder and CEO Brad Keywell said in a statement.

These are the first layoffs at the 3-year-old company, which focuses on analyzing data from machinery. The announcement comes after two companies recently ended their...

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City Colleges headquarters to be sold, converted to apartments

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

City Colleges of Chicago has a $34.5 million deal to sell its downtown headquarters to a developer that wants to convert the 14-story building into apartments.

Zidan Management Group’s offer was the highest among 14 received for the 185,000-square-foot building at 226 W. Jackson Boulevard, across...

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Airlines teaching staff to de-escalate passenger conflicts, but it's really customer service

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

Passenger meltdowns are nothing new to the airlines.

But the sometimes ugly situations between ticket-holders and airline workers — incidents that frequently go viral — are prompting air carriers to teach employees how to handle problems before they get out of hand.

American Airlines is requiring...

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Chicago cracks down on Southeast Side manganese pollution

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 04:45:00 PST

Facing a federal complaint and legal pressure from the city, a bulk storage operator on the Southeast Side will stop storing toxic manganese outside and suspend barge transfers during high winds to reduce harmful dust blowing into surrounding neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh-based S.H. Bell Co. agreed...

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Morton Salt warehouse redevelopment plans include office, entertainment space along Chicago River

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 10:00:00 PST

When it rains it pours.

Morton Salt’s longtime advertising slogan takes on a new meaning as the company’s longtime Elston Avenue warehouse readies for a redevelopment that will continue the deluge of real estate projects along the Chicago River.

Chicago developer R2 Cos., which bought the site...

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Toy-maker VTech to pay $650,000 to settle FTC charges over children's privacy violations

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 14:00:00 PST

An electronic toy-maker has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that it collected personal information on hundreds of thousands of children without their parents knowing.

VTech Electronics, whose North American operations are based in Arlington Heights, says...

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After better than expected holiday season, a 'reckoning time' for retailers

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 13:10:00 PST

Consumers have unwrapped their holiday gifts. Now, it’s retailers’ turn to see what the holiday season brought them.

Companies and their lenders are tallying sales, calculating returns and weighing prospects for the year ahead. It’s “the reckoning time,” said Frank Layo, managing director at consulting...

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Slow growth, low patient count, political uncertainty: The state of medical pot in Illinois

Thu, 4 Jan 2018 04:55:00 PST

Revolution Enterprises’ two Illinois medical marijuana cultivation facilities — each about the size of five Millennium Park ice skating rinks — are allowed under their state licenses to get much, much bigger.

But with sales of medical marijuana in the state topping only about $9.3 million last...

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An Amazon-Target deal would mean a very different shopping experience

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 07:10:00 PST

Sooner rather than later, Amazon is going to buy a big, well-known, traditional retailer. When it does, expect the e-commerce giant to take aim at Target.

This is not an idle stretch of the imagination or investor whimsy.

A respected tech industry analyst, Gene Munster, has boldly predicted Amazon...

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Largest food service company in U.S. suspends use of romaine lettuce amid E. coli scare

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 16:23:00 PST

Compass Group, the nation’s largest food service company, has suspended the use of romaine lettuce in all operations amid the ongoing investigation into an outbreak of E. coli illnesses that’s infected 58 people in the U.S. and Canada.

Compass — which supplies food to corporate cafes, hospitals...

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McDonald's begins tearing down museum that replicated chain founder's first store

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 12:35:00 PST

McDonald’s is in the process of tearing down its No. 1 Store Museum in Des Plaines, a once-popular tourist attraction that was a replica of chain founder Ray Kroc’s first restaurant.

The decision is both practical and symbolic. The museum had not been open to visitors since 2008 because of persistent...

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Hey, Culligan! Water company dropping 'man' in pitch to millennial consumers

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 09:20:00 PST

Something will be missing when 82-year-old suburban Chicago water treatment company Culligan runs its first national TV commercial in decades during Sunday’s Golden Globes telecast on NBC.

Looking to broaden and modernize its appeal to millennial consumers, Culligan is dropping “man” from its 60-year-old...

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After apartments flood downtown Chicago, building boom reaches suburbs

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

Signs of an apartment boom are all over downtown Chicago, where construction cranes and the beginnings of towers dominate the skyline.

It’s less visible and more spread out, but there’s an apartment construction spree happening in Chicago’s suburbs too.

Rental construction reached its highest level...

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New federal pot policy unlikely to affect Illinois medical marijuana; legalization push continues

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 04:05:00 PST

Members of Illinois’ medical marijuana industry say they’re disappointed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to allow more aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws — but business operators maintain existing laws will protect them.

And one of the sponsors of a proposal to legalize recreational...

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Sears closing 103 more stores, including Orland Square

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 04:05:00 PST

Three Sears and three Kmart stores in Illinois will close this spring in Sears Holdings Corp.’s latest round of cuts.

The Sears store anchoring Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, as well as stores in Bourbonnais and Marion, and Kmart stores in West Frankfort, Mount Vernon and Rockford are among...

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As e-book sales fall and audiobooks rise, print still dominates for local booksellers

Sun, 7 Jan 2018 04:00:00 PST

At some of the Chicago area’s independent bookstores, “Kindle” used to be a swear word.

Over the past decade, some predicted rising e-book sales would spell gloom and doom for hardcovers and paperbacks alike — and, by extension, the independent bookstores that sold them. But those morose predictions...

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Justice Department ending Obama policy that let legal pot flourish

Thu, 4 Jan 2018 14:05:00 PST

The Trump administration threw the nation's burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana into uncertainty Thursday, terminating an Obama-era leniency policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down in states that have declared it legal. Prosecutors can now go after the pot trade whenever state...

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O'Hare 7th among major airports for on-time arrivals

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 12:50:00 PST

Among the world’s busiest airports, six gave passengers better odds of arriving or departing on time last year than Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, though O’Hare’s numbers have been improving, according to a report released Wednesday by aviation data firm OAG.

Nearly 79.9 percent of flights...

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Private-sector jobs in Chicago reach 25-year high

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 06:49:00 PST

Chicago’s post-recession rebound is far exceeding that of surrounding suburbs as private-sector jobs in the city last year reached their highest level in at least 25 years.

Chicago employers reported 1.18 million private-sector jobs for the year that ended in March 2017, a 16.6 percent jump since...

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Illinois suspends Outcome Health's agreement for EDGE tax breaks

Tue, 2 Jan 2018 10:45:00 PST

The state has suspended a tax credit agreement with Outcome Health — worth an estimated $6.1 million over a decade — in the wake of allegations that the tech company misled investors and advertisers.

The agreement was part of the EDGE program, short for Economic Development for a Growing Economy,...

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Chicago skyline moving up, and out, in 2018

Tue, 2 Jan 2018 08:00:00 PST

Chicago’s skyline could begin reaching higher and farther out from the city center this year if a slew of ambitious projects get off the ground.

Investors continue drawing up mega-developments, including several that would push into untested neighborhood areas for high-rises. The hearty development...

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First, this town lost its Macy's. Then Sears. Now, all eyes are on J.C. Penney.

Tue, 2 Jan 2018 08:02:00 PST

Barbara Cake had made the sale. A man was hovering near the gold bracelets at the J.C. Penney jewelry counter when she said, "Hi, sir, how are you?" Before long, he was swiping his credit card for both a bracelet and a pair of diamond earrings for his wife. But Barbara wasn't done.

"If she doesn't...

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Inspired by longtime McCormick Place greeter, app aims to give visitors memorable experience

Tue, 2 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

The way Marty Mullarkey sees it, he could do his job sitting behind the information desk at the sprawling McCormick Place or he can work the room.

He prefers the latter.

While the 61-year-old Chicago native fields questions from his kiosk, many days he can be seen and heard — bullhorn to mouth...

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Chicago's top business stories of 2017

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 08:55:00 PST

Kentucky passenger dragged off United flight: Airport security officers dragged a passenger off an overcrowded, Louisville, Ky.-bound United regional jet at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after he refused to give up his seat to a traveling airline employee. Dr. David Dao later settled with...

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Shoppers can expect more change in Chicago's grocery stores in 2018

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 10:40:00 PST

Walking the grocery aisles with Jewel-Osco President Doug Cygan offers a glimpse at how changing consumer tastes have altered grocery stores.

In the center aisles — where sales have stagnated or declined in recent years for many retailers — Jewel-Osco has overhauled its product assortment and bolstered...

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Not much to 'like' if Facebook job ads ignore older workers

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 03:00:00 PST

Older job seekers, who often have a tough time finding employment, now face another painful reality: Social media isn’t their work buddy.

Dozens of companies are recruiting workers with ads on Facebook that use “age-based” microtargeting — a system designed to connect clients to millennial job...

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Watch how these Chicagoans change the business world in 2018

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:40:00 PST

A new dean at one of the country’s top business schools, a wunderkind at Kraft Heinz, and a new chief at the city’s economic development arm. Each will take on new challenges in 2018 that make them among the Chicago businesspeople worth watching.

Stephen Calk, CEO of Federal Savings Bank. The bank...

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On Far South Side, a small bakery tries to keep pace with its own big dreams

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 05:05:00 PST

Laine’s Bake Shop is almost undetectable from the street in the Far South Side neighborhood of Morgan Park. The windows of the brick storefront, a former post office, are covered with dark curtains. The smells of vanilla, ginger and peanut butter don’t quite reach the sidewalk.

Inside the tiny...

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The biggest brand fails of 2017: United, Pepsi, Uber and more

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 08:24:00 PST

These companies probably wish they could have a do-over for 2017.

Some brands commissioned advertisements that sparked fury and ire — while others faced PR nightmares which shook their company’s foundations.

Here are some of the year’s biggest brand fails, offering a guide for other companies on...

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Property taxpayers in Chicago area scramble to pay bills by end of year before rules change

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 04:55:00 PST

Changes included in the Republican tax overhaul Congress approved and President Donald Trump signed into law have pushed thousands of Chicago-area homeowners to rush to pay the first installment of their upcoming property taxes by the end of the year.

In Cook County alone, 47,000 taxpayers have...

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Essential questions and answers about prepaying your property taxes

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 05:50:00 PST

People around the country are rushing to prepay their property taxes ahead of Jan. 1, when the tax overhaul enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump takes effect. But who should prepay their taxes and how to do so is confusing for many taxpayers. Here are some basic questions...

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Cook County sues pharmaceutical companies over opioid epidemic

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 11:00:00 PST

Cook County followed the path of five suburban counties Wednesday, filing a lawsuit against some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies that aims to hold them responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit alleges “unlawful marketing” by the manufacturers, which the county...

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#MeToo in 2018: Will the movement create real change in the workplace?

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 07:20:00 PST

If 2017 was the year of a national reckoning on workplace sexual harassment, 2018 may be when reports from victims in cubicles and corner offices start piling up.

Here’s why that’s a good thing: Before companies can begin to rid the workplace of inappropriate behavior, observers say, employers...

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Damen, Armitage and Southport are changing. Can their quirky vibes be maintained?

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 07:25:00 PST

When Tricia Tunstall opened p45 on Damen Avenue two decades ago, the women’s boutique was surrounded by other local businesses.

These days, the Bucktown shopping avenue is coming to terms with two trends that seemed inconceivable in 1997: waves of national chains, and empty storefronts.

“Damen...

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Workers get more done Christmas week than you might think

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 14:40:00 PST

Despite all the vacant desks in the office, for some workers the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the most productive time of the year.

Though one-third of workers take the entire week off, overall productivity slumps only 5 percent, according to an analysis from file-sharing service Egnyte....

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Mansion that was Glencoe's highest-price residential sale in 2016 is demolished

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 15:05:00 PST

An 11,200-square-foot French chateau-style mansion on Lake Michigan in Glencoe was recently demolished after it sold in late 2016 for $8.5 million. The property’s new owners — who remain unidentified — plan to spend another $7.85 million building a new mansion on the 2.74-acre site.

A building...

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Streaming becomes mainstream as cord-cutting accelerates

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 12:20:00 PST

Cord-cutting is not just for millennials anymore.

Fed up with high prices and bloated packages, millions of Americans cut the cord on cable TV in 2017, finding refuge with a growing number of streaming services, which deliver lower prices and a competitive channel lineup over the internet.

“This...

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Amazon, Trump and other disruptors rattled Chicago-area business in 2017

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 03:00:00 PST

Let’s call 2017 the “Year of the Business Disruptor.”

It’s an apt title because so many large companies and industries were shaken, or at least stirred, over the past 12 months by a band of aggressive, powerful and expanding commercial renegades.

You know their names and likely do business with...

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'I planned to retire years ago': A sobering preview of the U.S. without pensions

Sat, 23 Dec 2017 15:11:00 PST

Tom Coomer has retired twice: once when he was 65, and then several years ago. Each time he realized that with just a Social Security check, "You can hardly make it these days."

So here he is at 79, working full time at Walmart. During each eight-hour shift, he stands at the store entrance greeting...

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20 Illinois hospitals earn top marks from government — and 13 get lowest rating

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 12:55:00 PST

Twenty Illinois hospitals have won the federal government’s highest rating when it comes to quality — and 13 have earned its lowest.

The ratings, released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, were delayed by months after the American Hospital Association criticized the system...

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Tax code changes will affect your paycheck, and W-4s will require tweaking

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 03:56:00 PST

The tax reform bill approved by Congress on Wednesday will affect your paycheck next year, but at this point, nobody knows when — or by how much.

Employers and payroll administrators are waiting for guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and hoping the rollout won’t be a protracted accounting...

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Illinois Obamacare enrollment for 2018 comes close to 2017 level

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:15:00 PST

Nearly as many Illinois residents have signed up for health insurance through the Obamacare exchange for 2018 as did for 2017, despite a shorter enrollment period and uncertainty over the health care law’s future.

This year, 339,740 Illinois residents enrolled through the end of open enrollment...

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State to restore disrupted food stamp benefits for thousands this week

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 11:50:00 PST

Just before the Christmas holiday, food stamp benefits will be restored for the tens of thousands of Illinois households that lost them last month because of problems with a state computer system, Illinois Department of Human Services officials said at a Thursday news conference.

State DHS officials...

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Outcome Health calls off headquarters move amid fraud allegations

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:20:00 PST

Outcome Health’s planned move to a huge new Chicago headquarters has been called off, as the once-soaring technology company fights allegations that it misled investors and advertisers.

The company’s 394,000-square-foot lease at 515 N. State St. has been terminated, Outcome Health and the office...

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Papa John's founder out as CEO weeks after blaming NFL for slow pizza sales

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:50:00 PST

Papa John's founder John Schnatter will step down as CEO next month, about two months after he publicly criticized the NFL leadership over national anthem protests by football players — comments for which the company later apologized.

Schnatter will be replaced as chief executive by Chief Operating...

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Some O'Hare restaurant workers walk off the job on peak travel day

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:25:00 PST

A small number of workers at O'Hare International Airport’s restaurants, bars and coffee shops walked off the job for several hours Thursday — one of the busiest travel days of the year — to push for higher wages and affordable health care.

Picketing started around noon and ended at about 4:30...

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Illinois hospitals' financial struggles likely to continue into 2018

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 03:00:00 PST

The list reads like a who’s who of hospital systems in the Chicago area: Advocate Health Care, Edward-Elmhurst Health, Centegra Health System.

But it’s a list of hospitals systems that cut jobs this year to deal with financial pressures — not a list any hospital is eager to join.

Hospitals in Illinois...

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How the tax bill impacts homeowners, buyers and sellers

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 11:50:00 PST

Many homeowners, buyers and sellers are left wondering how the tax reform legislation will affect them. The plan, which is expected to lower income tax bills next year for many households, is the most significant overhaul to the tax code since 1986. Several provisions that have a direct impact...

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After fighting global poverty and disease, Community Trust's Helene Gayle shifts focus to Chicago

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:00:00 PST

Dr. Helene Gayle has spent much of her life fighting.

She has fought global poverty and the spread of HIV and AIDS around the world. She has fought for social change and for the empowerment of women and girls. Now she’s turning her attention to Chicago.

Gayle, one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful...

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Old main post office owner lands $500 million construction loan

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:15:00 PST

The owner of the old main post office, one of the Chicago locations proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters, has secured a $500 million construction loan that is one of the largest in the city’s history.

New York-based 601W Cos. on Tuesday announced the loan from JPMorgan Chase, which comes amid...

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Salvation Army ponders cashless kettle as digital donations increase

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 17:15:00 PST

The Salvation Army’s bell ringers will gladly accept your pennies, nickels and dimes, your rumpled dollar bills or, should you be in an especially generous mood, your Benjamins and Krugerrands.

But credit or debit? Neither, at least not in Chicago. But that could change next year as the local Salvation...

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Senate passes GOP tax bill, setting stage for final House vote on Wednesday

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 22:20:00 PST

Jubilant Republicans pushed on early Wednesday to the verge of the most sweeping rewrite of the nation's tax laws in more than three decades, a deeply unpopular bill they insist Americans will learn to love when they see their paychecks in the new year. President Donald Trump cheered the lawmakers...

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What does the tax bill mean for you?

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 14:15:00 PST

Much of the news surrounding Congress’ new tax bill has focused on politics — but what does it mean for you as an Illinois taxpayer?

In condensed form, here are some of the changes and how they’ll affect the consumer’s wallet. Congress is expected to vote on the measure in coming days.

New tax...

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Failed Bridegport bank sold, millions in uninsured deposits at risk

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:15:00 PST

A 104-year-old Bridgeport-based savings association closed by federal regulators Friday reopened its two branches Saturday with a new owner — and $11.6 million in uninsured customer deposits at risk.

Washington Federal Bank for Savings, which had been cited for “unsafe or unsound practices” by...

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Target opening small-format store at Wicker Park apartment development

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:10:00 PST

A big-box chain is coming to Wicker Park: Target is opening a store in the neighborhood in July.

But there’s nothing big about this store — the 12,800-square-foot Target at 1664 W. Division St. will be the chain’s smallest yet in the Chicago area, and one of the smallest nationwide, Target spokeswoman...

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Bitcoin futures debut on CME, taking bigger Wall Street stage

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 11:25:00 PST

A new security based on the price of the digital currency bitcoin was trading slightly higher Monday after its debut on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a week after another such security launched on a rival exchange.

The CME Group, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, opened up futures...

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Food stamp benefits disrupted for thousands as state launches new eligibility system

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 10:15:00 PST

Tens of thousands of Illinois households aren’t receiving federal food stamp benefits leading up to the holidays because of problems with a state computer system.

In 2013, the state’s Department of Human Services began rolling out a new computer system to administer entitlement benefits, such as...

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Many Illinois consumers still have time to buy Obamacare plans under little-discussed exception

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:40:00 PST

Many Illinois consumers have more time to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchange than they thought.

Dec. 15 is the official deadline for Illinois consumers to choose health plans on the Obamacare exchange. But under a little-discussed exception to that rule, consumers whose current exchange...

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Chicago companies fear unknown in net neutrality repeal

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 04:20:00 PST

Federal regulators’ decision to end net neutrality and roll back regulations that some say kept data flowing freely on the internet has left some Chicago business owners concerned for their companies’ futures.

While it’s still unclear exactly what the repeal of the Obama-era rules will mean, proponents...

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How UPS gets 750 million packages from warehouse to doorstep this season: 'Santa still gets the credit'

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:10:00 PST

Technology has made it easier than ever to buy gifts online and track the spoils of your spending spree as they make their way from retailers’ warehouses to your doorstep in time for the holidays.

But for all the talk of packages being delivered by drones, this year’s record-setting online sales...

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Guaranteed Rate sells 'meaningful minority stake' to Boston-based private equity firm

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:10:00 PST

Chicago-based mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate is selling a “meaningful minority stake” to Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners.

It’s the first time Guaranteed Rate has sold a stake to an outside institutional investor since the company’s founding in 2000. Guaranteed Rate founder...

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Chicago's Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's to close for remodeling, ditch rock theme

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 04:25:00 PST

The Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s in River North will close Dec. 30 for major remodeling and abandon its rock theme upon reopening, part of a companywide push to modernize all of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants by the end of 2020.

The McDonald’s at Clark and Ontario streets, a rock-themed tourist attraction,...

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Prescriptions for opioid painkillers may come with another Rx, for naloxone

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:25:00 PST

Patients who receive prescriptions for opioid painkillers at some Chicago-area hospitals might soon walk away with an additional prescription — for a drug meant to help them if they overdose.

In January, west suburban hospital system Edward-Elmhurst Health plans to start recommending its doctors...

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How to decide if bitcoin is safe for you to trade

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:43:00 PST

Is Bitcoin a great investment opportunity or a risky bubble waiting to burst like 1637's Dutch tulip mania?

Bitcoin's run-up has grown famous. Late Thursday morning, the digital currency was trading for more than $19,000 on exchanges in South Korea, before closing around $16,600 on Bitfinex, a...

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Disney buys Fox entertainment assets in $52.4 billion deal that shakes up entertainment, media worlds

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:49:00 PST

Disney is buying the Murdoch family's Fox movie and television studios and some cable and international TV businesses for about $52.4 billion, as the home of Mickey Mouse tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.

Disney's all-stock deal for 21st Century...

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Plan for 80-story tower, two others in Lakeshore East hits roadblock

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:50:00 PST

An ambitious plan for three residential high-rises near Lake Michigan, including one that would soar 80 stories, has been shot down by the city’s downtown alderman.

Chicago-based Magellan Development Group and its development partner, Australia’s Lendlease, now must make significant changes to...

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Fed boosts benchmark rate for third time this year

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:19:00 PST

The Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate for the third time this year and foresees three additional hikes in 2018, a vote of confidence that the U.S. economy remains on solid footing 8½ years after the end of the Great Recession.

The Fed announced Wednesday that it's lifting its short-term...

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FCC repeals net neutrality rules, in a sweeping act of deregulation

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:00:00 PST

Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow Internet providers to speed up service for websites they favor - and block or slow down others - in a decision repealing landmark, Obama-era regulations overseeing broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

The move by the Federal Communications Commission...

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Rescinding net neutrality will change the Internet forever, and consumers will pay

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:18:00 PST

The internet — as we know it — is likely to die Thursday at the hands of the Trump administration. What’s more, we’ll be expected to pay for the burial.

This is what’s called a “lose-lose” situation.

In one of its most anti-consumer and anti-business decisions yet, the Republican-controlled Federal...

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