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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: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 03:47:56 -0500

Copyright: ©2017 Chicago Tribune

Some Illinois families struggle to access 529 college savings in wake of change

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:26:05 PDT

A change in the administrator running Illinois' Bright Start 529 college savings plan left some families unable to access their college savings quickly, but the state says there were no technical glitches.

Typically, participants can go online and have money routed automatically from their 529 college...


Cook County pop tax still on hold, but ruling coming next week

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:36:00 PDT

Cook County's sweetened beverage tax will remain on hold at least another week.

Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak said Friday that he would rule July 28 on the county's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the penny-per-ounce charge, which was set to take effect July 1.

The Illinois...


Two years in, happy hour hasn't delivered on its revenue promises

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:11:00 PDT

Bringing happy hour back to Illinois was billed as a needed boost to the hospitality industry that would result in more revenue for the state and local municipalities.

But two years after the popular drink specials were legalized in Illinois after a 26-year absence, the law has been more effective...


Despite growth of streaming, Redbox CEO sees future in DVD rentals

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:52:10 PDT

Redbox DVD rental kiosks, a seeming throwback to a simpler technological time when videos were something you held in your hand and late fees loomed over your head, are mounting a comeback.

Last year, Redbox removed nearly 1,000 of its kiosks amid slumping sales and increasing digital competition,...


Why black homeownership rates lag even as the housing market recovers

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:42:14 PDT

A decade after the housing crash destroyed the American Dream for millions of homeowners, black homeownership rates have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, hobbling African-Americans' efforts to build their wealth.

Nationally, only 42.2 percent of blacks owned homes in 2016, compared with...


Illinois unemployment rate up slightly despite job growth

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:06:00 PDT

Illinois job growth is on the upswing, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.7 percent in June and the size of the labor force continues to decline.

The state added 8,600 jobs in June, including 900 in manufacturing. Most of the growth was in professional and business services, leisure and...


Sears partners with Amazon to sell Kenmore appliances

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:06:00 PDT

Strugging Sears is looking for help from the company that's responsible for much of the retail industry's woes: Amazon.

The embattled retailer announced Thursday it will begin selling its full line of Kenmore appliances on Amazon, significantly expanding distribution of a brand that, until now,...


Mariano's, Kimpton Hotels sued over alleged collection of biometric data: 'It's something very personal'

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:35:00 PDT

Punch clocks, key codes and ID-badge swipes — they're all so 2010.

A new twist on tracking employee hours or providing access to sensitive work areas relies on biometrics. That's technologyspeak for distinguishing physical characteristics such as fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans and DNA.



Harley-Davidson on a bumpy ride with motorcycle-averse millennials

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Millennials and motorcycles don't mix.

Young adults, who have traditionally been the prime bike buyers, are now forsaking motorcycle ownership. When it comes to hitting the open road, they're more inclined to hail a ride-sharing car service or hop on a Divvy bicycle.

The down-shifting in motorcycle...


At O'Hare, some passengers undergo face scans in test of security program

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:57:00 PDT

Starting this month, passengers on some international flights from O'Hare airport have been getting their pictures taken before boarding as part of a new U.S. security program that utilizes facial-recognition technology.

The program, run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, aims to ensure the...


Uber app now allows wheelchair users to summon rides

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:01:00 PDT

After facing lawsuits across the country over a lack of wheelchair-accessible rides, Uber is announcing Thursday that Chicago passengers with disabilities can now use the ride-sharing company's app to find a lift.

Uber's handicapped-accessible vehicles had previously only been available in Chicago...


If flood insurance program lapses, it’ll be ‘total chaos,’ warns official

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:29:00 PDT

As the floodwaters that inundated northern Illinois last week start to recede, the nation's main flood insurance program is facing potential changes that could hit residents with increased premiums.

The National Flood Insurance Program, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers,...


United says basic economy fares aren't yet delivering expected boost

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:03:00 PDT

United Airlines said it's happy with the initial results of its no-frills basic economy airfares, even if it may take a little longer to reap the expected benefits.

Earlier this year, United Airlines began courting price-conscious passengers with basic economy tickets that offer a slightly cheaper...


Boosted by zoning changes, Anixter Center selling Clybourn buildings

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:17:00 PDT

A nearly century-old nonprofit organization has agreed to sell one Clybourn Avenue building to a developer while putting a larger structure across the street up for sale in deals that could bring in well over $20 million combined.

The properties owned by Anixter Center, which serves people with...


Made-in-USA goods can be pricey and elusive. Just ask Trump

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:30:00 PDT

President Donald Trump's push this week to get Americans to buy goods "made in America" is harder than it might seem.

Even for Trump.

The gold-plated pens the president uses to sign laws are assembled in Rhode Island but lacquered and engraved in China. The Boeing jet he posed with to showcase...


Chicago taxi drivers protest medallion foreclosures as ride-sharing booms

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:22:48 PDT

Dozens of Chicago cabbies took to the streets Tuesday to protest a growing taxi medallion foreclosure crisis, fueled by what they believe to be an unlevel playing field with ride-sharing services.

Pounding the pavement in front of the West Loop offices of Frank Andreou, an attorney representing...


Report: Prosecutors demand records on Chicago bank's loans to Paul Manafort

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:54:00 PDT

Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank wouldn't comment Tuesday on a report that New York prosecutors have subpoenaed records related to $16 million in loans the institution made to former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed person familiar with the...


Labor policy is in the midst of a shift under Trump

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:33:24 PDT

Whether you call it a weakening of worker protections or an easing of over-regulation, labor policy is in the midst of a shift under President Donald Trump's administration.

A Senate committee is set to vote Wednesday on nominees to the National Labor Relations Board who would give the agency a...


Look for Kraft Heinz, Mondelez to take part in next round of takeover battles

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 03:06:00 PDT

The global companies that make our food, snacks, beauty products and other consumer staples are ripe for more corporate takeover tussles. Expect locally based Kraft Heinz and Mondelez International to be part of the fray.

Right now, Wall Street's focus is on shareholder activist Nelson Peltz's...


Heinz trying to woo Chicagoans to do the unthinkable: Put ketchup on their hot dogs

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:00 PDT

Not to alarm you, fellow Chicagoans, but someone is trying to grift our fair city: Heinz, that ubiquitous purveyor of ketchup, is trying to sneak the red stuff on your hot dogs.

In the emotional equivalent of tricking a baby into believing that the spoon is an airplane, Heinz today released a “new”...


Amazon plans 440,000-square-foot warehouse in southwest suburban Crest Hill

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:32:00 PDT

In Will County, Amazon is the gift that keeps on giving, or more appropriately, the employer that keeps on growing.

Crest Hill has announced that Amazon will operate a 438,150-square-foot warehouse in the southwest suburban community of nearly 21,000 people. The announcement means that in just...


Amazon seeks trademark that could upend meal kit delivery business

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:31:00 PDT

Amazon, just weeks after making a $13.7 billion bid to buy Whole Foods Market, is laying the groundwork to start a meal kit delivery service that could shake up the fledgling industry.

The Seattle-based company wants to trademark the slogan "We do the prep. You be the chef" for a business described...


Wrigley sues suburban vape firm that sells ‘Dbl Mint’ and ‘Joosy Fruit’ flavors, alleges trademark infringement

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:25:00 PDT

When it comes to protecting its Juicy Fruit and Doublemint brand names, Wrigley is not just blowing smoke.

The venerable Chicago-based candy giant filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a suburban manufacturer, accusing it of appropriating its iconic gum brands to market flavored liquids...


Health plan hinges on the young, but they're a tough sell

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:37:00 PDT

Julian Senn-Raemont isn't convinced he needs to buy health insurance when he loses coverage under his dad's plan in a couple of years — no matter what happens in the policy debate in Washington, or how cheap the plans are.

The 24-year-old musician hasn't known a world without a health care safety...


Suburbia is left scrambling as firms relocate to big cities

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 19:29:00 PDT

Visitors to the McDonald's wooded corporate campus enter on a driveway named for the late chief executive Ray Kroc, then turn onto Ronald Lane before reaching Hamburger University, where more than 80,000 people have been trained as fast-food managers.

Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy...


Union tells FTC Amazon Whole Foods purchase threatens closures, consumer choice

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:35:00 PDT

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, sees Amazon the way some Rust Belt workers see global trade — as a threat to American jobs.

So on Monday, Perrone wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that letting Amazon buy Whole Foods would...


If Foxconn brings 10,000 jobs to southeastern Wisconsin, Illinois stands to benefit

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:31:00 PDT

Southeastern Wisconsin is in the running to land a behemoth electronics manufacturing facility that could bring 10,000 jobs, a potential game-changer for the region if the deal goes through.

Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, a major electronics manufacturer well known for making Apple's iPhones,...


Mag Mile offices selling for $87 million

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:40:00 PDT

More than five years after buying a Magnificent Mile office building with the bold plan of connecting it to the neighboring Shops at North Bridge, the shopping mall's owner is selling the office property.

Although the plan never came to fruition, the deal still looks like a winner for Macerich...


Howard Buffett's millions help jump-start Decatur's recovery

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:02:00 PDT

When Mandy Christian left Decatur in 2005, she swore she'd never move back to the shrinking city.

The county seat nearly smack dab in the middle of the state didn't have much going for it, Christian thought, and it had a bad reputation when it came to crime.

Yet there was Christian, now 35, sitting...


Tavern outside Wrigley Field will bear the Budweiser name

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:59:00 PDT

Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern is now officially the name of the new tavern outside Wrigley Field after state regulators approved the plan Thursday despite some initial concerns.

Next up for the Park at Wrigley? A Budweiser-sponsored pre-Lollapalooza concert, football viewing parties and a "Friendsgiving"...


Downtown Chicago condo prices hit post-crash high

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 07:10:00 PDT

After plunging during the housing crash, condo prices in downtown high-rises constructed before the crisis have recovered and are slowly reaching new highs.

On average, condos built by 2007 are selling at $433 a square foot compared with $414 in 2008, according to Gail Lissner, vice president of...


Kiss rockers Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley to open rock 'n' roll-themed restaurants in Chicagoland

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Who likes to breathe fire, wear makeup and platform shoes, and open restaurants in the Chicago area?

These guys, of course: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, also known as Demon and Starchild.

Simmons and Stanley, bassist and guitarist, respectively, for 1970s rock band Kiss, plan on bringing their...


Holy hog! Harley dealership planned across from Wrigley Field

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:51:00 PDT

Long accustomed to the roar of the crowd, Wrigley Field neighbors will soon notice a new sound: the rumble of hogs.

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership is coming to a retail and apartment development under construction across the street from the Chicago Cubs' ballpark. The 10,000-square-foot...


Illinois income tax hike: 6 tips to manage or minimize how much you'll pay

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:55:00 PDT

The impact of the 32 percent income tax hike approved by the Illinois legislature earlier this month should start showing up in paychecks soon.

And while most will end up paying more, you may be surprised by how modest the change in your pay is.

"For many people it will not be a big deal," said...


New Sun-Times owners plan for growth, will move newspaper to Near West Side

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:40:00 PDT

The new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday unveiled their investor group, plans for the newspaper and a new home — the Near West Side offices of a separately acquired digital production company, AnswersMedia.

The group, led by former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation...


Diabetics can avoid finger pricks with new app from Abbott, Silicon Valley partner

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

When Jeffrey Brewer's son was 15, the boy nearly lost his life because he took too much insulin.

The diabetic teen took insulin to eat a large bag of chips late at night. But about 20 minutes later, he forgot about that first dose and took another. He spent two days in the hospital, his father...


Sterling Bay eyes $680 million purchase of Prudential Plaza

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:01:57 PDT

Chicago firm Sterling Bay is working on a $680 million deal to buy Prudential Plaza, in what would be the largest deal to date by one of the city's most active real estate developers.

The sale has not been finalized, and potential hurdles remain. But if Sterling Bay completes the deal, it will be...


Sun-Times sold to former alderman and investors

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:21:00 PDT

An investor group led by former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor on Wednesday bought the Chicago Sun-Times, keeping the city's No. 2 paper in business and ending a bid by the Chicago Tribune's owner to acquire its longtime rival.

The sale of the Sun-Times by its...


Ace eyes True Value hardware buyout deal

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:29:29 PDT

Two locally based hardware store giants could soon be talking about building a blockbuster industry deal.

Oak Brook-based Ace Hardware is open to making a bid for its Chicago rival, True Value Co., which reportedly is exploring a sale that could fetch around $800 million.

"It is our understanding...


Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld weighs in on mergers, retirement, the glass ceiling

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:17:00 PDT

Long before she became chief executive of Oreo cookies, Irene Rosenfeld wanted to be commander in chief of the United States.

"I felt very strongly that girls should have the same opportunities as boys," said Rosenfeld, 64, of her childhood dream while growing up on New York's Long Island.



More than half of Cook County jobs could be lost to automation, study finds

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:54:00 PDT

With automation threatening to upend half of American jobs in coming years, a new report examined which counties are most at risk of job loss and found that low-income communities already suffering economically are in for the worst of it.

The white paper released Tuesday by Ball State University...


Ex-Anheuser-Busch CEO had loaded guns, 8 dogs and prescription pills in chopper, police say

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:07:00 PDT

August Adolphus Busch IV, the former CEO of Anheuser-Busch, had in his helicopter four loaded guns, each with a round in the chamber, eight dogs and prescription pills when police prevented him and his wife from taking off from a parking lot, according to police accounts and a search warrant application...


1,100 layoffs anticipated after Cook County soda tax blocked, official says

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 06:29:00 PDT

An official says more than 1,100 layoff notices will go out in the Chicago area because of efforts to block Cook County's sweetened beverage tax from taking effect.County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday the notices will go out starting soon to some county workers. The county was counting...


'Rogue importer' diverted shipment of Mexican cheese to pay off debt, lawsuit says

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 15:02:00 PDT

A Wheaton company says a "rogue importer" moved its cheese, and the company wants it back.

Food Brands alleges in a lawsuit filed last week that $68,000 of "artisan, aged specialty cheese imported from Mexico" was stolen, diverted by the importer in collusion with another company, Quesos Finos...


Soda pop tax hold extended until July 21 hearing

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 15:16:00 PDT

A judge on Tuesday extended the temporary hold on implementing Cook County's penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages until at least July 21.

That's when Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak will hold a postponed hearing in a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association seeking to block...


Bar association sues state over prosecution of lawyers in property tax cases

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 12:44:38 PDT

A state crackdown on two Chicago lawyers for their efforts to reduce clients' property tax bills calls into question how real estate assessments are often challenged.

The state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation filed complaints in April against the lawyers for allegedly violating...


Advocates worry GOP's health bill would cut Medicaid for low-income children: 'It's not good for kids'

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:20:00 PDT

Six-year-old Jamela Anthony — wearing a black shirt proclaiming "I Kicked Cancer's Butt" — ran through a hallway at Lurie Children's Hospital toward a golden bell.

She rang it triumphantly, smiling before her mother scooped the tiny girl into a long, tight hug. Jamela rang it, a tradition at Lurie,...


Lakeshore East towers would bring more than 2,000 residences, 500 hotel rooms

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:36:18 PDT

Even as it builds what will become the city's third-tallest skyscraper, a Chicago real estate developer is pushing ahead on a new wave of towers in its 28-acre Lakeshore East project near the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Magellan Development Group on Monday night unveiled plans to construct...


In Illinois workers' compensation battle, business can't stay on sidelines

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 03:06:00 PDT

An area of possible bipartisan reform in Illinois has gone down in flames — a victim of the budget battle — so the state is stuck with a workers' compensation plan that businesses, especially small companies, love to hate.

As a result, influential industries seeking to overhaul that system are...


The Hatchery plans $30M food incubator for East Garfield Park

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 03:04:00 PDT

The Hatchery, a food incubator on Chicago's Near Northwest Side, is expected to break ground this fall on a $30 million facility in East Garfield Park, possibly spurring an influx of jobs in an impoverished neighborhood if everything goes according to plan.

The project marks an intriguing addition...


New low-cost airlines bring more competition to trans-Atlantic flights

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 05:17:00 PDT

Chicago-to-London airfares under $450 are great news if you're a cash-strapped globe-trotter who doesn't mind a no-frills flight. It's not so great if you're United Airlines or American Airlines, both of which are charging more than double that sum for a coach seat on similar nonstop flights early...


Amazon expands Chicago office footprint, makes room for more employees

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:53:00 PDT

Amazon has doubled the size of its Chicago Loop office, allowing it to increase its corporate workforce.

The Loop office opened last year and employs more than 200 workers, and the expanded size would allow it to accommodate another 200, the company said Monday.

The corporate office's growth comes...


For businesses, end of state budget impasse is 'missed opportunity' without relief

Sat, 8 Jul 2017 04:00:00 PDT

Illinois' bruising two-year run without a state budget is over, but business leaders are left feeling they got the short end of the stick: higher taxes with virtually none of the regulatory and political changes they sought.

The $36.1 billion budget plan increases the corporate income tax rate...


Whole Foods' 365 store in Evergreen Park delayed, concept's future unclear

Fri, 7 Jul 2017 13:51:00 PDT

Whole Foods Market's cheaper, smaller-format 365 store concept that was scheduled to open in south suburban Evergreen Park in November likely will be delayed until sometime next year, according to village officials.

The larger question is whether Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods will continue opening...


How to put your financial life back together after defaulting on student loans

Fri, 7 Jul 2017 08:25:00 PDT

If you've defaulted on your student loans and are hiding from calls from debt collectors, your future doesn't have to remain bleak.

True, being in default is not a good situation. Taking action to get student loan relief before slipping far behind on student loan payments would have been a much...


In Chicago, many still struggle to find work despite healthy employment figures. Here's why.

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 11:25:00 PDT

Randall Steger was on track for a comfortable life. He had a degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University, a career in IT consulting for the manufacturing industry, and, by the time his two daughters were born, a nearly six-figure income.

Then, 15 years ago, Steger got laid off, and...


It's 'make it or break it,' as new vendors scramble to get noticed at Taste of Chicago

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 16:40:00 PDT

For Doom Street Eats, success at the Taste of Chicago is tied to whether festivalgoers have a hankering for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich made with mac and cheese.

It was an hour into the five-day event Wednesday and co-owner and head chef Rebecca VanderKloot and her staff were busy constructing...


From trust falls to escape rooms: The evolution of corporate team building

Fri, 7 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Corporate team building, which for years brought co-workers together in disdain for activities such as trust falls and ropes courses, has elevated its game.

Escape rooms, "Survivor"-style competitions and improv training are bringing a new level of excitement — and perhaps effectiveness — to the...


McDonald's foam cups running over with environmental controversy

Fri, 7 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

As someone who imbibes a fair share of cold drinks from McDonald's, I appreciate the utility of the controversial plastic foam cups the fast-food giant is using this summer in the Chicago area.

These vessels keep soda and ice tea pretty cool. What's more, if I leave a supersized drink in the car...


Bill Murray and his brothers to open Caddyshack Restaurant in Rosemont

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 17:14:03 PDT

Bill Murray and his siblings are set to open a restaurant in Rosemont dedicated to "Caddyshack," the classic movie featuring a vengeful greenskeeper and a devious gopher.

So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant, which first announced a tentative plan...


Homebuyers who pay cash win deals as appraisals derail sales in tight Chicago market

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 15:18:01 PDT

After five months of shopping for his first home, Greg Ridenour was tired of having his offers turned down.

One of numerous buyers competing for moderately priced homes in the Chicago area, he was outbid twice, even though he'd offered more than the asking price.

"I was anxious to get it over and...


Regional airlines want to cut co-pilot flight rules. The idea mustn't get off the ground

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Airline travelers are willing to compromise on personal comfort and convenience in return for lower fares and regularly scheduled flights.

But I doubt the flying public would agree to deeply discount their own safety by letting the government hack away at an essential industry standard designed...


Illinois OKs end of landlines, but FCC approval required

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 04:55:00 PDT

An AT&T-backed bill to end traditional landline phone service in Illinois is now the law of the land.

Overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto, the General Assembly approved the telecom modernization bill on Saturday, enabling AT&T to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers statewide,...


German investor paying $110 million for Loop's Hyatt Centric hotel

Thu, 6 Jul 2017 11:33:00 PDT

A German investor has a contract to buy the Hyatt Centric hotel for $110 million in a deal that will translate into one of the highest prices per room ever paid in the Loop.

Deka Immobilien, the real estate arm of DekaBank Group, confirmed the deal for the 257-room hotel at Monroe and Clark streets....


McDonald's brings foam cups back to Chicago despite shareholder pressure

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 13:52:00 PDT

Some local McDonald's restaurants are throwing it back to the old days — not with a new menu item, but with plastic foam cups.

McDonald's says some Chicago-area restaurants are using foam cups instead of more environmentally friendly options this summer for large drinks despite pressure from shareholders...


Mobile mechanics diagnose and fix cars at owners' homes

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 08:00:00 PDT

When Peter Champlin, an auto mechanic for nearly 15 years, popped the hood on a 2003 Jeep Liberty, he fixed a leak with a new clamp on the lower radiator hose and installed a new ignition coil. The bill was $189.33.

Routine stuff for an experienced mechanic like Champlin, who is certified by the...


True Religion latest retailer to seek bankruptcy protection

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 10:38:00 PDT

True Religion Brand Jeans filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, the latest retailer upended as Americans ramp up spending, but largely in places other than clothing stores. The jeans company is seeking Chapter 11 and operations will continue uninterrupted as it restructures.

Clothing stores...


Illinois agency approves big rate hike for cashing checks at currency exchanges

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 14:59:00 PDT

Many of the state's poorest residents could soon pay more to cash a check at a local currency exchange, courtesy of a rate hike recommended by Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration.

The Illinois agency that regulates currency exchanges has approved double-digit percentage increases of the industry's...


Soda tax snafu prompts McDonald's franchisee to offer refund

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 14:42:00 PDT

A McDonald's franchisee is offering refunds after mistakenly charging customers the Cook County soda tax over the weekend, despite a judge's order placing the new penny-per-ounce surcharge on hold.

Nick Karavites, who owns and operates 22 Chicago-area McDonald's restaurants, acknowledged the error...


There's bad news about that all-natural hot dog

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 09:01:00 PDT

Not to rain on your barbecue, but those natural additives popping up in hot dogs may not be any better for you.

Food brands in recent years have made a big push toward natural ingredients amid growing consumer demand for simpler food. But is natural always better?

Take that hot dog you're about...


Volvo plans to electrify all of its cars. Are the days of the combustion engine numbered?

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 16:15:00 PDT

When people think of Volvo, they tend to think of safety. For decades, that’s how the once-Swedish company advertised its cars.

Now under Chinese ownership, Volvo Cars aims to set itself apart as an aggressive early mover in the electrification of the automobile.

On Wednesday, the company said...


Trump touts 'great jobs numbers' that aren't so great

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 12:19:00 PDT

President Trump on Monday touts the "great jobs numbers" since he took office - numbers that his own administration's official statistics show aren't all that great.(image)

Chase Bank website back to normal after experiencing 'slowness' Monday afternoon

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 18:42:00 PDT

Chase Bank's website and app stopped displaying customers' balances for hours Monday afternoon, but were back to normal by Monday evening, according to the company.

People around the country took to Twitter to complain. Customers who tried to see their balances saw "not available" instead, along...


As Uber fights PR woes, Lyft gains in Chicago market

Sun, 2 Jul 2017 15:51:00 PDT

Will Caskey, a ride-sharing driver, said he often hears from passengers who say they dropped Uber because of concerns over the company's culture.

Caskey has dropped Uber, too. A political consultant who drives for extra income, Caskey used to work for both Uber and and its smaller rival Lyft, both...


Trump's Labor Dept wants salary to count on overtime rule

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 10:41:00 PDT

The Labor Department said Friday it wants salary level to count in deciding who is eligible for overtime pay. But it's holding off setting the maximum pay a worker can get and still qualify.

That's according to a brief filed by the Trump administration in federal court in New Orleans in a case...


Care about every inch of airline legroom? Do your homework.

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 16:25:11 PDT

When American Airlines announced the layout for its new Boeing 737 Max aircraft earlier this year, it flirted with achieving a decidedly unflattering milestone: becoming the first mainline U.S. airline to sell seats with dimensions bordering on what flyers have come to expect from its budget competitors.


Judge blocks Cook County soda pop tax

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 16:58:00 PDT

A judge on Friday put Cook County's penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages on hold at least until July 12. It was set to go into effect Saturday.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak to grant a temporary restraining order came days after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and...


United frequent flyer miles may not stretch as far, starting this fall

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 14:54:00 PDT

Travelers in United Airlines' loyalty program will find their miles don't stretch quite as far on certain flights as of this fall.

United is following other mainline U.S. carriers in requiring more miles for some in-demand trips, while keeping mile requirements steady — or potentially cutting them...


Employers call new Cook County sick leave law an administrative nightmare

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 16:28:00 PDT

As paid sick leave laws go into effect Saturday in Chicago and Cook County, the souls tasked with implementing them keep repeating one refrain: administrative nightmare.

"The intention was good," said Bruce Leon, president of Tandem HR, a human resources provider in Westchester with a lot of concerned...


Cubs owners borrow more than $65 million on Wrigley rooftops

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 03:01:00 PDT

The family that owns the Chicago Cubs has taken out a loan of more than $65 million on its 11 rooftop buildings, from a lender the team already knows well.

The Ricketts family on May 17 borrowed more than $65 million from Wintrust Bank, according to Cook County property records and commercial real...


Dinner and a movie? Theaters will serve up drinks and dessert, too

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 12:18:00 PDT

Forget the concept of dinner and a movie. Cineplexes these days hope you're planning a evening of cuisine at the movie.

With theater attendance essentially flat as consumers binge-watch programs from their sofas, movie theaters are kicking it up a notch, with new food offerings, plush seating and...


Walgreens CEO isn't worried about Amazon. At least not yet.

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Stefano Pessina, CEO of Deerfield-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, has his share of corporate concerns but his company being attacked by online retailing giant Amazon isn't one of them.

Not yet, at least.

Pessina, on a quarterly call with investors Thursday, dismissed the probability of Amazon quickly...


Chicagoland Chamber CEO Theresa Mintle resigns

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:26:00 PDT

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Theresa Mintle has resigned, the organization said late Thursday.

Mintle had been with the chamber for almost four years. She was its fifth leader and previously served as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's chief of staff.

The chamber said Michael Reever,...


Ultra Foods closing in Calumet Park leaves void: 'What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?'

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

The only traditional grocery store in south suburban Calumet Park is closed, half the shopping center sits vacant and prospects for any quick solutions appear bleak.

A handwritten sign on the door of the recently shuttered Ultra Foods directs would-be shoppers to Strack & Van Til stores in Indiana,...


Walgreens scraps Rite Aid bid, will buy 2,000+ stores instead in $5.2 billion deal

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:20:16 PDT

Walgreens Boots Alliance is scuttling its yearslong effort to buy competitor Rite Aid and will instead buy more than 2,000 of its stores for $5.18 billion.

The less ambitious move follows resistance from federal regulators since the two drugstore chains first proposed a merger in 2015. Thursday...


Returning to Taste, Carbon Live Fire still fighting fallout from food poisoning outbreak

Mon, 3 Jul 2017 13:24:07 PDT

As lunchtime customers streamed into Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill on a recent weekday to order tilapia tacos and steak burritos, there was little sign that a year ago the Bridgeport restaurant was the site of Chicago's biggest food poisoning outbreak in almost a decade.

The fast-casual restaurant...


Why passengers who will cheerfully fly cheap are lifting United's fortunes

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 05:44:00 PDT

As summertime travel perks up, United Airlines' no-frills basic economy fare is taking off and helping to lift the fortunes of the Chicago-based air carrier.

Such encouraging customer response is a change of pace for United, which is still regrouping from April's calamitous passenger-dragging incident...


Enterprise CarShare is officially pulling out of most Chicago locations

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:00:00 PDT

Enterprise CarShare is ending its regular service in Chicago — and five other cities. But if you’re a college student or professor, you might still be in luck.

The company that bought Chicago’s first car-sharing operation told members Wednesday it is officially closing its “retail” business in...


Illinois stays mum on health insurance rates, plans for next year's exchange

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:07:00 PDT

Illinois residents will not know until Aug. 1 which health insurers intend to offer plans on the state's Obamacare exchange next year — and at what prices — though that information is already available in more than a dozen other states.

Consumer advocates say it's information that could help Illinois...


Walgreens to roll out urine, blood testing at some stores

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:22:00 PDT

Walgreens soon will begin offering blood and urine testing at some of the chain's stores, including one in Deerfield.

The Deerfield-based pharmacy chain announced Wednesday that it's partnering with North Carolina-based LabCorp to offer specimen collection for lab testing at seven of its stores...


City Colleges system wants to sell downtown HQ, move staff to campuses

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

City Colleges of Chicago wants to sell its headquarters building across the street from Willis Tower and move office workers to campuses in Englewood and Bronzeville.

A sale would allow City Colleges to capitalize on a strong downtown Chicago commercial real estate market, bringing in a one-time...


ABC: Settlement reached in 'pink slime' defamation lawsuit

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:30:00 PDT

ABC and a South Dakota meat producer announced a settlement Wednesday in a $1.9 billion lawsuit against the American network over its reports on a lean, finely textured beef product that critics dubbed "pink slime."

The terms of the settlement including its amount are confidential. Dakota Dunes-based...


Retailers file lawsuit in bid to halt Cook County soda pop tax

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:43:00 PDT

A group of retailers filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Cook County in an effort to halt the sweetened beverage tax that's set to go into effect Saturday, alleging the tax is unconstitutional and too vague to implement.

The lawsuit, filed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association in Cook County...


Comcast launches mobile phone service with kiosks in 6 Chicago-area stores

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:09:56 PDT

Comcast is looking to make waves in the wireless phone market with the launch this week of six Chicago-area Xfinity Mobile retail locations.

The mobile kiosks, embedded within existing Xfinity stores, hawk the latest Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone models, cellphone plans, and a hybrid nationwide...


Michigan Avenue tower seen in 'Adventures in Babysitting' selling for $132 million

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:26:00 PDT

A Los Angeles-based investment manager has a $132 million deal to buy a Michigan Avenue office tower known for its diamond-shaped top and for its small role in the 1987 movie "Adventures in Babysitting."

CBRE Global Investors has agreed to buy the 41-story building at Michigan and Randolph Street,...


Neighborhood manufacturing revival: Chicago can build more than skyscrapers

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Try walking, bicycling, driving or parking around downtown and it's clear we're in the midst of a high-rise construction bonanza.

At the same time, however, the stage is being set for another type of economic boom: A neighborhood manufacturing revival.

It's as vital to the commercial and employment...


New cyberattack wallops Europe; spreads more slowly in U.S.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:38:00 PDT

A new, highly virulent strain of malicious software that is crippling computers globally appears to have been sown in Ukraine, where it badly hobbled much of the government and private sector on the eve of a holiday celebrating a post-Soviet constitution.

The fresh cyber-assault Tuesday leveraged...


What shoppers need to know about the Cook County soda pop tax

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 17:41:00 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...


Alpana Singh finds hiring at-risk youth for restaurants is a complex dish

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:30:00 PDT

Restaurateur Alpana Singh believes she has a solution for some of Chicago's violence problems in her kitchens: Hire folks from Chicago's most economically underserved areas, including ex-offenders and youth who have fewer employment opportunities.

Singh runs The Boarding House, opened in 2012 in...


Meet JoJo, Jewel-Osco's new mascot

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:47:00 PDT

Chicago-area grocery store shoppers may soon encounter a red, furry cyclops in the produce section or near the bakery: Jewel-Osco's first mascot.

Over the last couple of weeks the supermarket chain has started introducing customers to its newest team member, JoJo, who has a name that riffs on the...