Entrepreneurs Welcome

The entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured in West Chicago.

Our City is the right business fit for…

  • Regional enterprises
  • Small independents
  • Family-owned retailers and/or restaurateurs
  • Specialty niche businesses

The following featured small businesses have found success through the City’s proactive development processes and support, customized incentive programs for start-up and build-out costs, leveraging City-partner organizations, as well as retention programs which have helped them to grow and thrive. Here are their stories:

Kindred Coffee

Kindred Coffee Roasters began in July of 2013 as a small roast to order online retailer of specialty coffee.  Started by Ryan Hammer, his sister Sarah Harms, and her husband Patrick Harms, the three continued to dream of a day when Kindred could grow into something more, a full service coffee shop in their home town of West Chicago.

In 2016 the trio began their search to find a location in the Downtown Historic District for Kindred to call home. By year's end, they had found a property, located at 148 W Washington St.  The building was in rough shape, but they saw potential for it to be transformed into exactly what they were hoping for, a beautiful cafe and community space.

Through partnership with the City of West Chicago, Kindred received support, guidance, and financial assistance throughout the planning and buildout process.  The support of the West Chicago community, the partnership of West Chicago City staff, and a lot of hard work, all lead to Kindred Coffee opening the doors of it's cafe in January 2018 and is now, in Ryan's words "...totally, ecstatically real!"

Photo of Evo Exhibits in West Chicago IL

Evo Exhibits

Evo Exhibits, located at 399 Wegner Drive, was founded in 2009 and has since been on a trajectory of noteworthy growth.

It began with an idea – selling kits from various manufacturers to trade show exhibitors and special event coordinators looking for products and services to help promote and differentiate their business or special events.

The company operated out of co-founder Kent Jean’s basement until 2010 when it moved to a 3,800 square foot office in Itasca. By 2011, the company added graphic design services, as well as introduced rental exhibits, prompting a need to add warehouse space.

True to its name, Evo continued its evolution to accommodate its customers’ growing needs, and by 2013 moved to a 50,000 square foot facility with an on-site fabrication shop and loading docks in West Chicago.

Today, its creative products range from portable displays, to showroom environments, to full custom exhibits and large rental inventory. Evo services its clients worldwide with show labor, shipping, furniture/carpet and A/V rentals replete with program management, exhibit storage and asset management.

In 2013, Evo was welcomed into Inc. Magazine’s prestigious 5,000, an exclusive group of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company has continued to be listed for the next three consecutive years. It shares the distinction with other notable businesses such as Intuit, Zappos, Jamba Juice and more.

Gloria's Jewelry

Gloria’s Jewelers, at 178 W. Washington Street, has been a staple of the West Chicago retail community for 25 years.

The successful family-owned business began with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and love of jewelry. It has secured a tremendous reputation in the community and beyond through combining the two hallmarks of a treasured downtown small business: quality and personal service. It credits word of mouth referrals for continued growth of its customer base.

Gloria’s Jewelry has created a niche in design and repair, with many of its showroom pieces being made in-house. It is one of the few stores of its kind that maintains a watch smith and jeweler on the premises every day for customer convenience. The family is dedicated to the belief that quality jewelry is meant to last not only a lifetime, but for generations.

It won the coveted Brilliance in Business Award, receiving the designation of Outstanding Small Business of the Year in 2016.

Photo of jewelry business in West Chicago IL