Archive for October, 2009

Chicago’s holiday survival guide

October 20, 2009

daley plaza holiday

Even though our recent blogs on the improving economy were rightly optimistic, that doesn’t necessarily mean that small businesses are seeing more money in their bank accounts (yet).  After a year of frugality and belt tightening, you are probably ready to loosen up and kiss 2009 good-bye!  Show your staff and loyal clients extra appreciation during this festive season.  Our vibrant city offers plenty of options to make merry without draining the bank.  Dining and entertainment are probably areas where they have trimmed their personal budgets, so give them the chance to get out and have some fun. 

The hospitality industry is finding creative ways to compete for your business this year.  Deals abound, especially if you plan strategically.  Take your team to dinner and give them a gift that is free for you by dining at any Lettuce Entertain You restaurant.  They are awarding a $25 holiday Bonus certificate for every $100 in Gift Cards purchased between November 1 and December 30, 2009.   Smaller venues are offering deals too.   La Madia Pizzeria at 59 W. Grand is offering $25 gift certificates for every $100 spent on holiday parties booked by Nov. 15.   If you have a favorite restaurant in mind, give them a call and see what deals they are offering for the holidays. 

Local entertainment can also be fun and affordable.  A great way to kick off the season with a small group is to attend a free caroling concert under the Bean in Millennium Park.   If you are planning to provide a night out for a larger group, take a private trolley holiday lights tour for only $23 per person.   Or for a treat they can use with family or friends throughout the year, give gift certificates for the Imax at Navy Pier.  Any gesture will certainly be appreciated.

Finding a way for your business to help someone in need would make poignant addition to your year end celebrations.  The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a worthy cause to consider during the holidays.  The food distribution center is always looking for donations or volunteers.  For a finishing touch, mail out greeting cards to vendors, delivery people and any one else whose work influences your business.  Include a brief note of thanks for their important contribution.  You can support a good cause by purchasing your cards from Chicago Lights Tutoring, whose cards are designed by participants in their tutoring program, which serves children from low-income families across Chicago.