Chamber launches new Spotlight on Cicero Businesses Program with Profile on Bimbo Bakeries
The Cicero Chamber of Commerce and Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero board of trustees have partnered to launch a new program to help put the spotlight on the successful practices of local businesses that are successfully coping with the coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.
(View the video interview below)
Called “Spotlight on Cicero Businesses,” the program features regular Zoom Video interviews with selected Cicero based companies and discusses the challenges they have faced in the pandemic and how they have addressed those challenges.
Representatives from each company will discuss their Best Practices they employ to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the product, customers and employees.
The first interview was conducted this past week with Moises Chavez, the Plant Manager for Bimbo Bakeries’ Cicero location at 1540 S. 54th Avenue. Bimbo Bakery has 60 locations in the United States, two in the Chicagoland region and 200 around the World.
Bimbo Bakeries employs 400 individuals at the Cicero location and is planning to expand their production there and hire 40 more employees in the next few months. The Cicero location produces more than 2 million units of product each week that include Entenmann’s, Bimbo, and Marinela products . Bimbo Bakeries produces food products under 21 total brands that include Thomas, Sara Lee, Beefsteak and Boboli to name only a few.
“Bimbo is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and I am very proud to be working with them,” Chavez said during the 30 minute interview.
Community media discusses strategies to help businesses
Editors of local community newspapers meet with members of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to strengthen their business and their public identity through advertising and public relations strategies. View a video of the event below.
Leaders of The Town of Cicero’s vibrant Spanish/English language news media participated in a panel seminar during a meeting on Feb. 26, 2020 of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.
Participants on the panel included La Prensa Publisher Martha Gonzales and editor Gabriella Cadrano, El Dia Newspaper Editor Christopher Montes de Oca and co-founder Anna Maria Montes de Oca Rojas, La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo, Lawndale News Managing Editor Ashmar Mandou, and Entretenimiento Magazine Publisher Claudia Montanez.
Each of the editors discussed the many methods that businesses can use to promote their services and attract new customers, or to reinforce public awareness of the business services.
You can view a video of the meeting posted on NewCiceroTV.com by using the widget below or by clicking this link to view the video of the Cicero Chamber conference meeting seminar.
All of the newspapers provide Spanish and English news and feature reporting and provide support for advertising needs to the local businesses.
Ashmar Mandou, managing editor of the Lawndale News newspaper, praised the Cicero Chamber for organizing the meeting, and she described the services that the Lawndale News newspaper provides.
“We are a hybrid-local publication with boots-on-the-ground reporting,” Mandou said. “We report on everything from education, entrepreneurship, cultural events and our aim is to change the narrative of the Hispanic community in Cook County and across the region.”
La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo addressed the audience in Spanish and in English, and discussed how her newspaper works with businesses to provide both traditional news coverage and advertising support along with online social media support.
“Our newspaper is a bi-lingual, weekly newspaper covering Cook County, Kane County and including in the Milwaukee region,” Alonzo said.
“We believe in traditional marketing but we also have our whole edition bi-lingual online.”
Christopher Montes de Oca, marketing manager of El Dia newspaper, noted the family-run, free bi-lingual, weekly newspaper was established in 1995 by his parents and publishes about 10,000 issues each week distributed on Fridays.
“Studies show that 39 percent of people recall the ads they see in local newspapers. If you don’t advertise your business in a newspaper is like placing a business without a sign,” Christopher Montes de Oca said.
“Your advertisements in the newspaper will be posted online and on our website free of charge.”
Monte de Oca pointed out that supporting local newspapers like El Dia helps to keep revenues and the economic benefits remain in the community for the benefit of the community. He noted that chamber members will get a special discount for advertising in their newspaper.
Gabriella Cadrano and Martha Gonzales addressed the Chamber members next and discussed in Spanish and English the benefits that their newspaper, La Prensa, offers. A bi-weekly newspaper, it covers Cicero, Berwyn and Melrose Park.
“We provide coverage not only in our newspaper but also online, which appeals to growing audience of consumers who are young,” Candrano explained. “We have more than one million visitors online each month. We offer cost and design in providing our advertising. We bring it to life and we want to help your business grow.”
In other business, Maru Ayala discussed a new service of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses that want to organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or a re-grand opening.
“Every business can organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or even a re-grand opening to promote their business and both the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Cicero want to help,” Ayalay explained to attendees.
Ayala said the chamber charges $175 to help organize two ribbon cuttings/grand opening events each month that receive wide ranging coverage. The events are covered by Cicero Channel 6 TV which is broadcasts 24/7 on Channel 6 Comcast TV, and by the Town of Cicero Newsletter which is distributed to every home. Additionally, local news media, including many of the publications attending the panel discussion, will run press releases to help promote the event. And, businesses will receive an impressive plaque with scissors and data embossed into the plaque memorializing the event that is then presented as a gift to the business to showcase on their wall for their customer.
“It’s a very effective way to announce the grand opening of a new business, or to remind the public that your business is here and about the services that you offer.”
Ayala urged residents to reach out to her through the contact page on the Cicero Chamber of Commerce website.
Ray Hanania, who is serving as the interim organizer for the Chamber, also announced that the chamber will host a Job Fair on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 10 am through 3 pm in which businesses can host a table for free — at no cost — and meet residents and members of the public who are seeking employment.
“This is a good way for businesses to meet individuals who could be future employees or who could fill employment vacancies,” Hanania said.
State officials outline services to Cicero Businesses
Officials from the State of Illinois offered details on the many programs that the state offers to local small businesses at a meeting of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce held in Cicero on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. More than 45 business leaders attended.
ENGLISH (SPANISH version below; Video of meeting below) Also view a video of the event below.
State officials detail programs available for business at Chamber meeting
Officials from the State of Illinois outlined several programs that local businesses may qualify for to help them be more successful during a meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce held on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.
Speakers included Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Joe McKeown from “Team RED,” and Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS).
The event was organized by Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and was co-sponsored by State Rep. Lisa Hernandez.
“One program that is very helpful for small businesses provides capital investment loans that offer lower interest rates than what you might obtain from your local bank,” Lopez told the 45 business owners and representatives who attended the free meeting.
“All you have to do is reach out to us, and bring your company overview, a description of how many jobs you have and a projection of your capital investment data.”
Pineda explained that the State also provides certifications to businesses, large and small, to certify that they are women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and disabled-owned, categories that allow the state to provide additional resources and support.
Businesses owned by women, the disabled, minorities or by veteran may qualify for contract award set-a-sides.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough veteran-owned businesses that are certified with the state. If you are a veteran-owned business, you should reach out to us and get certified to qualify for these contracts,” Pineda said.
Pineda said that “The state has set-asides specifically to help small businesses to succeed and to stay in their community. It’s only for small businesses.”
McKeown added that in most cases, the state can significantly reduce the interest rate that a business would pay for a loan.
“We can also help businesses when they need to meet with a bank to obtain assistance,” McKeown said.
They explained that the state also provides grants, although most are for infra-structure improvements.
The state provides a wide range of programs to help new businesses launch, provide certifications for Food Service Sanitation Managers, register to become a vendor among many other programs. Business owners can visit the state’s website at Illinois.gov/business for more information.
Ismael Vargas, the Town of Cicero Business License Director, also addressed the attendees explaining services and support the Town provides.
“It’s important that you reach out to us if you need assistance or information. We are there to help you,” Vargas said.
The new Cicero Chamber of Commerce was launched in November with support from Town President Larry Dominick and the Town’s business license department.
Meetings are scheduled each month and include on Wednesday, February 26 a program to connect business owners with editors and publishers of the local community news media to better understand how a business can promote its services and products.
On Tuesday, March 31, the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to connect businesses that have job openings and who are hiring with residents who are seeking employment. Businesses will be given tables to meet and speak with community residents who are encouraged to bring their resumes.
For more information on Chamber activities visit the Chamber website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. There, businesses can register online to receive information on all of the Chamber’s free programs and services.
Funcionarios estatales presentan los programas disponibles para los negocios en la reunión de la Cámara de Comercio
Los funcionarios del estado de Illinois describieron varios programas para los que las empresas locales pueden calificar, para ayudarlos a tener más éxito durante una reunión de la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero celebrada el miércoles 29 de enero de 2020.
Los oradores incluyeron a Manuel López, Gerente de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Económicas de Illinois, Joe McKeown del “Equipo RED” y Pedro Pineda de la Oficina Central de Administración de Illinois (CMS).
El evento fue organizado por el presidente de Cicero Larry Dominick y fue copatrocinado por la representante estatal Lisa Hernández.
“Un programa que es muy útil para las pequeñas empresas proporciona préstamos de inversión de capital que ofrecen tasas de interés más bajas que las que podría obtener de su banco local”, dijo López a los 45 propietarios y representantes de negocios que asistieron a la reunión gratuita.
“Todo lo que tiene que hacer es comunicarse con nosotros y brindar una visión general de su empresa, una descripción de cuántos trabajos tiene y una proyección de sus datos de inversión de capital”.
Pineda explicó que el Estado también proporciona certificaciones a empresas, grandes y pequeñas, para certificar que son propiedad de mujeres, minorías, veteranos y discapacitados, categorías que permiten al estado proporcionar recursos y apoyo adicionales.
Las empresas propiedad de mujeres, discapacitados, minorías o veteranos pueden calificar para la adjudicación de contratos.
“Desafortunadamente, no tenemos suficientes negocios de veteranos que estén certificados con el estado. Si usted es un veterano-dueño de negocio, debe comunicarse con nosotros y obtener la certificación para calificar para estos contratos”, dijo Pineda.
Pineda agrego que “el estado ha establecido apartados, específicamente para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a tener éxito y permanecer en su comunidad. Es solo para pequeñas empresas”.
McKeown agregó que en la mayoría de los casos, el estado puede reducir significativamente la tasa de interés que una empresa pagaría por un préstamo.
“También podemos ayudar a las empresas cuando necesiten reunirse con un banco para obtener asistencia”, dijo McKeown.
Explicaron que el estado también otorga subsidios, aunque la mayoría son para mejoras de infraestructura.
El estado ofrece una amplia gama de programas para ayudar al lanzamiento de nuevos negocios, proporcionar certificaciones para los Gerentes de Saneamiento del Servicio de Alimentos, registrarse para convertirse en proveedor entre muchos otros programas. Los dueños de negocios pueden visitar el sitio web del estado en Illinois.gov/business para obtener más información.
Ismael Vargas, el Director de Licencias Comerciales del Town of Cicero, también se dirigió a los asistentes explicando los servicios y el apoyo que brinda el municipio.
“Es importante que se comunique con nosotros si necesita ayuda o información. Estamos allí para ayudarlo”, dijo Vargas.
La nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero se lanzó el pasado mes de noviembre con el apoyo del presidente municipal, Larry Dominick y el Departamento de licencias comerciales de la ciudad de Cicero.
Las reuniones se programan cada mes e incluyen el miércoles 26 de febrero, un programa para conectar a los dueños de negocios con editores y el personal periodístico de los medios de comunicación de la comunidad local para comprender mejor cómo una empresa puede promocionar sus servicios y productos.
El martes 31 de marzo, la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero organizará una Feria de Empleo para enlazar a las empresas que tienen vacantes de empleo y que quieran contratan a residentes que buscan trabajo. Las empresas recibirán mesas para reunirse y hablar con los residentes de la comunidad a quienes se les anima a traer sus currículums.
Para obtener más información sobre las actividades de la Cámara, visite el sitio web de la Cámara en www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. Allí, las empresas pueden registrarse en línea para recibir información sobre todos los programas y servicios gratuitos de la Cámara.