Mayor Rahm Emanuel made it a point to visit CMS Trophies and Plaques (CMS) shop yesterday afternoon. It was his way of showing support for the small business community not only in the Chatham area but across the entire city—especially during the busy holiday season. In fact, the mayor has been on a crusade encouraging Chicagoans to shop local ever since he was elected into office in 2011.
“You can’t be for small business if you don’t shop there,” Emanuel explained during a press conference he held on the upper level of the business after visiting with its owners Martin and Patricia Redd.
The Redds grabbed the opportunity to give the Mayor a tour of their beloved business which they have been operating for over 23 years.
“We are so excited that the Mayor is visiting us today,” Patricia Redd told the Chicago Citizen. “this is a great way to bring awareness to the community that if they need the services we provide as a trophy shop, they don’t need to go outside of the neighborhood to find those services because we are right around the corner. There are other specialty businesses here in Chatham and we hope this event brings awareness to them and all of the small businesses here in Chatham.”
Other community business owners, leaders and dignitaries including Melinda Kelly, Executive Director of the Chatham Business Association (CBA) who co-hosted the event, Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Carlos Nelson, Executive Director of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation attended the event in a strong show of support of the Mayor’s message and small business initiatives.
“SSA #51 (Special Service Area) will launch its annual buy local campaign called BLACK FRIDAY PLUS that rewards customers who spend $100 with any one or combination of SSA #51 small businesses with gift certificates from our national businesses,” Kelly said in a press release. “For every $100 spent at a locally owned store, $45 remains in the local economy, compared with about $13 per $100 spent at a big box.”
Special Service Areas, known as Business Improvement Districts or BIDs in other cities, are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. SSA #51 services the Chatham business community.
The mayor also discussed the importance of maintaining healthy relationships between small businesses and City Hall and briefly outlined a 2013 city budget initiative to create a Small Business Center that will lead to the City providing better, more efficient services to Chicago’s small business owners. The Small Business Center will operate within the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) to act as a full-service, one-stop-shop for small business owners.
“I do not want City Hall to be the problem (to small businesses) I want City Hall to be the partner,” the Emanuel said to attendees during the conference.
The Mayor plans to appoint the City’s first Chief Small Business Officer to lead the Small Business Center and serve as an advocate for Chicago’s small businesses in City Hall.
By Larissa M. Tyler