Archive for February, 2009

Tree Studios – a completely unique work environment for the creative entrepreneur

February 20, 2009
Tree Studios Courtyard

Tree Studios Courtyard

In a city known for its architecture, Tree Studios stands out for being both culturally and aesthetically pleasing.  Distinctive features are reminiscent of a time long past – the courtyard, the working fireplaces, the decorative woodwork and glass.  These unique touches remind us of a storied history, when painters and poets lived and worked together here for over a century.  Today, artists and businesses work side by side in the fully restored Studios with modern conveniences and technology.  Availability has recently opened up in this River North landmark to include large and small Studio spaces that would be a perfect fit for an artist or a business with a creative component.

The common hallway

The common hallway

Each private studio is equipped with telephone and high speed internet connections.  Shared common features include a coffee and copy center, well appointed conference room and mail room.   An office manager is on site to handle daily business details of the studios so you can pay attention to your activities.

Office Studio

Office Studio

Artist Studio

Artist Studio

From the landscaping of the tranquil private courtyard – truly a one of a kind treasure in the midst of our bustling city – to the sun-filled hallways where tenants greet each other throughout the day, Tree Studios is an inspiring environment for any creative individual or business. 

Schedule your tour today!

Time for fun

February 13, 2009

snow-sculpture

So many small business owners are feeling overburdened right now that a dose of good fun is recommended!  Participating in some of these upcoming Chicago events may be just what’s needed to refresh our over-worked spirits.  We’ve made it through the winter and the long spring is just beginning, so head out after work or on a weekend day and blow off some steam in our hard working city!

Snow Days Chicago is a free five-day winter festival on Michigan Avenue in Grant Park.  It’s happening now and continuing through Feb. 16.  The festival features a national snow sculpting competition, dog sled demonstrations, a snowboard rail jam and activities for kids.  Despite the recent rash of warm weather, they protected snow blocks ahead of time so the festival can still happen.  Watch as the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, showcasing over 27 beautiful and unique sculptures made entirely out of snow! 

The Chicago Park District’s ice skating rinks are still open through Saturday, Feb. 28, weather permitting.  Visit one in your neighborhood or if you are downtown you can go to the Daley Bicentennial Plaza in Grant Park at 337 E. Randolph St.   Admission is free and skate rentals are $6.  If being outside doesn’t fit your mood, check out The Chicago Auto Show beginning today at McCormick place and continuing through Feb. 22.  Visit the website for details and a link to purchase inexpensive tickets. 

auto-show

Make your plans now for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  The downtown parade is on Saturday, March 14th at 12 noon.  The parade route runs from Balbo to Monroe down Columbus Dr.  After the parade, view the newly-greened river and head to Poag Mahones at 333 S. Wells for an award winning burger.   They’ve got the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band booked for entertainment throughout the afternoon.  Or you can head out to the South Side Irish Parade on Sunday, March 15 at 12 noon.  This parade runs on Western Ave from 103rd to 115th Street.  Officially St. Patrick’s Day is on Tuesday March 17th which conveniently coincides with the opening round game of the 2009 NCAA basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness”.  Poag Mahones is hosting The Shannon Rovers all afternoon on Tuesday, too, so there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy one of this city’s most celebrated holidays and take your mind off of the grind, if even for an hour or two.

green-river

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

February 3, 2009

congress

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan has now passed through the US House of Representatives and will likely be passed by the Senate in the coming days.  Though certain sections of the plan may change, several of the current initiatives boast programs and incentives that can benefit small business owners.  Find out now which programs you will qualify for and what you can do to take advantage of them.

Are you in need of new equipment for your business?  Early last year, the 2008 stimulus bill increased maximum Section 179 expenses to $250,000 but this expired in December 2008. If you made such investments last year, be sure to remember them when you send your year end information to your tax professional.  The good news is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will continue that threshold through the end of 2009 giving you several more months to make purchases that can increase your efficiency and productivity.

The number of loans guaranteed under the Small Business Association’s loan program are down 57%.  The upcoming recovery plan includes $430 million dollars for new direct lending as well as loan guarantees making loans to business owners more attractive to lenders.  In addition to freeing up capital for loans, an elimination of capital gains taxes on investments made in small and start-up businesses will reduce the tax burden. 

Other highlights of the economic recovery program include:

  • $90 billion to modernize roads, bridges, transit systems and waterways;
  • $79 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks in key services;
  • $54 billion for renewable energy/green jobs;
  • $39 billion to help jobless workers obtain or continue health care coverage;
  • $16 billion for science and technology investments, including expanded broadband access.

fdr

How will you make the most of the opportunities this plan will create for small businesses?  Read the text of the current proposals and be prepared for the ways you and your company can participate in the recovery.  Also check out the SBA website where they offer information on the programs that help you position your business to take advantage of contract openings throughout the Federal and State Governments.