Breakfasts keep Shorewood officials in touch with local businesses
By Clare walters For The Herald-News November 5, 2012 11:30AM
Shorewood Mayor Rick Chapman, right, talks with Denise Schundt from the Chamber of Commerce during the breakfast with the mayor event at the Village Hall in Shorewood, IL on Tuesday October 23, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 14, 2012 6:03AM
SHOREWOOD — Village officials have been working quietly over recent years to retain local business with breakfasts.
During the past four years, the village’s economic development department has organized monthly Breakfast with the Mayor sessions designed to provide businesses with an opportunity to discuss relevant issues with village staff and village staff avenue to address business retention.
Village planner Karen James said participants for the invitation-only event are determined by themes, industry or common groups. In October, the breakfast included representatives from the village’s top sales-tax producing businesses.
“We want to know how are sales?” she said. “What are they seeing in the economy? It’s an opportunity for us to pick their brains and them to pick ours.”
Mayor Rick Chapman said the latest breakfast was a “huge success.”
He often provides his take on the breakfast meetings during his public report at the village board meetings.
“I think they got a lot of good information and they gave us some,” he said, noting that representatives from McDonald’s, Portillo’s, Brakur Custom Cabinetry and the local auto dealerships were in attendance.
James said the breakfasts were particularly useful during the recent Route 59 construction project in order to keep businesses informed on the project’s progress.
“(The breakfasts have) given us a chance to get to know many of our businesses, put faces with names and create connections for future communications, as well as keep the owners informed of village projects and plans,” she said. “It’s better to promote and keep the businesses we have then go out and find a new business.”
October’s breakfast was the last for 2012, but they will resume in 2013, James said.
In other business, the village board recently approved a site plan amendment for Tyson Motors, one of the village’s top sales-tax producing businesses.
The amendment permits Tyson, on the southwest frontage road, to enclose an existing new-car delivery canopy for use as offices and allows the creation of a new canopied car delivery area.
The board also approved a temporary-use permit for Tyson permitting the dealer to store surplus vehicles on property located on Earl Road.