Helping Businesses in the Coronavirus Environment

Helping Businesses in the Coronavirus Environment

Join the New Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday May 19, 2020 at 3 PM for a special Online, live Video Seminar with speakers who will help businesses navigate through the impact of the coronavirus.

Click this link to watch the seminar/workshop.

The Webinar ID is: 863 1033 0025
(We are using Zoom and you may want to download the FREE Zoom App to enhance your viewing experience. The audience will be able to submit questions on the site’s chat board that panelists will answer.)

Keynote Speaker: Ashley Swint

Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education
Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education

Ashley Swint holds a BA in Fashion Marketing & Management and an MBA in Marketing. I am an Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education for 10 years. Along with my classroom experience I have spent 15 years working in marketing both in Healthcare and Apparel sectors. Along with teaching, I run a marketing consulting firm for small businesses.

My goals as a professional and an educator are to enrich the lives of students entering the workforce, so that they may be prepared for the industry both in method and hands on experience.

 

Speaker: Vanessa Parrish

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College
Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

As a graduate of Health Systems Management from Loyola University, I have worked in healthcare the majority of my career, with the additional experience in business management.

Currently, working as a Director of Corporate Education at Morton College, I have found my interest in enhancing businesses capabilities, utilizing my previous management experience.

The goal for myself is to be able to give businesses that are interested in finding ways to enhance their operations, the means to do so in order to see communities and individuals flourish.

Speaker: Ismael Vargas

Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses
Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses

 

Ismael Vargas is the Business License Department Director for the Town of Cicero. Vargas has been a community activist for years and is also the chairman of the Cicero Clergy Committee and a member of the Cicero Chamber of COmmerce.

Emcee: Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania, Award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and spokesman for the Town of Cicero
Ray Hanania, Award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and spokesman for the Town of Cicero

Ray Hanania is the spokesman for the Town of Cicero and coordinator for the New Cicero Chamber of Commerce. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and veteran strategic communications consultant.

For information on the Live Webinar, Email Ray Hanania at RHanania@ThetownofCicero.com

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Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

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.

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Monte de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Monte de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.
From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

 

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.”

Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

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.

Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

“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.”

Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

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.”

Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

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.

Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

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.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Click here to view the video of the Community Media event or use the widget below:


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State officials outline services to Cicero Businesses

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

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.

Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED." Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero
Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED.” Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

 

“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.

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.
State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

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.

 

SPANISH

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.

Click this link to view a video of the event or use the widget below

VIDEO OF THE JAN. 29, 2020 MEETING

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero
during a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held on Jan. 29, 2020.

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Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish

Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish
Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming.

 

ENGLISH VERSION

State Programs to Assist businesses

Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

The Town of Cicero, and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez will join the Cicero Chamber of Commerce in hosting a meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Avenue, beginning at 5 pm to discuss programs that the State of Illinois offers to the business community.

Our Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. He will discuss programs and services from the State of Illinois that are available to local businesses.

Lopez will also be joined by Joe McKeown from team RED, and Pedro Pineda from the CMS (Central Management Office) will also be accompanying addressing the meeting. Pineda speaks about the BEP (Business Enterprise Program) and the certification process and how it could be a benefit to small business owners.

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

“I’ve been with the state for 12 years. I started with Department of Human Services as a caseworker for 5 years then got promoted to CMS Department of Examining and Counseling where I worked for 4 and a half years and then moved to CMS Business Enterprise Program since 2018 where I’ve worked as the Outreach Coordinator. I graduated from Loyola University with a BA and attended Lewis University where I obtained my MBA. Long time South Side resident,” Pineda said.

Business License Director and Cicero Chaplain Ismael Vargas will also be present to answer questions about Cicero business requirements and needs at both meetings.

We will have guest speakers from the state of Illinois and the Illinois Legislature who will discuss how businesses can tap resources at the state level to achieve their business goals.

Watch for more details on this program which is free to our business members. Make sure to fill out the online membership form (free) so that you will be kept up to date about all of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce’s events.

Members must send an email and RSVP in order to attend the meetings. There is limited seating but we will try to accommodate all of the Chamber members. Please let us know if you will be attending by sending an email noting the meeting date and topic.

For more information visit the Chamber’s website at www.CiceroChamberOfCommerce.com

SPANISH VERSION

Cícero anuncia programas de ayuda financiera para negocios

Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois, será el orador invitado en una presentación especial

El municipio de Cícero y la Representante estatal Lisa Hernández (D-24) se unieron a la ‘Cámara de Comercio de Cícero’ para realizar una reunión en que serán presentados y discutidos los diversos programas de ayuda financiera estatal que Illinois ofrece a los comerciantes y dueños de negocios. El seminario será el Miércoles 29 de enero de 2020, a las 5 de la tarde, en la Casa Comunal de Cícero (Cícero Community Center), 2250 S. 49th Avenue.

El orador invitado será Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de la oficina de Desarrollo Económico Regional del ‘Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois’ quien hablará sobre los diversos programas y servicios financieros que Illinois ofrece a todos los negocios locales.

Entre tanto, el Director de Licencias Comerciales y Capellán de Cícero, Ismael Vargas, también estará listo en la reunión, para responder cualquier pregunta o inquietud sobre los requisitos de negocios en el municipio.

Así mismo, habrá panelistas invitados del estado de Illinois y de la Legislatura estatal que explicarán a los comerciantes la mejor manera de solicitar y aprovechar los recursos estatales disponibles que les ayudarán a lograr sus metas financieras comerciales.

Pedimos que estén pendientes de otros detalles sobre este útil programa, ofrecido totalmente GRATIS a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Si desea convertirse en miembro y participar en los seminarios para aprovechar estos programas, asegúrese de llenar los formularios de membresía ofrecidos también GRATUITAMENTE en nuestro portal electrónico, en donde además le mantendremos al tanto de los futuros, informativos e interesantes eventos que estará organizando periódicamente la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Los comerciantes miembros que planean asistir al evento, deben enviar un correo electrónico y responder a una reservación (RSVP). El cupo es limitado pero trataremos de acomodar a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio que deseen participar. Por favor, si planea ser parte del seminario, envíe un correo electrónico dejando su nombre, el nombre de su negocio, además de la fecha y el tema del evento que le interesa.

Para más información visite  nuestro portal de Internet:

www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com.

SPEAKER BIO

Manny Lopez is the Regional Economic Development Manager for Cook County. As the newest member to join Team RED (Regional Economic Development) at DCEO, Manny helps businesses, communities, and workers learn about different State resources that are available to assist them.

Prior to joining team RED, Manny has worked in many different fields that included customer service and sales & operations. These roles have been spread over a career in companies that included Comcast, Colorado Technical University, and Enova Financial.  A proud United States Navy veteran, Manny has served in Hawaii, the Persian Gulf and even lived in South Korea for two years.

Manny earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration on marketing from DeVry University. He is a family man who loves spending time with his children and is dedicated to helping people thrive in their everyday life.

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New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting”

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting” & Video

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce held its “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant and it was a tremendous success.

More than 44 businesses attended the meeting, enjoyed the buffet dinner and participated in a discussion with representatives from the Town of Cicero, the Cicero Police Department and the Director of the Cicero Business License Department, Ismael Vargas.

The program included presentations by several officials that included: Mathew Ramirez, Cicero’s Captain of Police, who discussed new innovative ways to contact the police; Cicero Detective Edgar Alba who spoke about safety issues for businesses, cautioning them to watch out for a new crime that is occurring more and more in suburban communities throughout the Chicagoland area, the theft of ATM Machines; Business License Department Director Ismael Vargas spoke about what his department can do to help Cicero businesses and discussed some of the procedures and typical questions that businesses, new and old, have; Town President Larry Dominick also addressed the Chamber meeting, telling the business leaders that the Town of Cicero is there to help them be successful; and, State Representative Lisa Hernandez discussed programs the state can offer to help new businesses.

Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce "Launch Meeting" on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

“I want to thank all of the businesses that are here. It’s important to me that you showed up and are concerned. Make sure you stay active. Don’t make this a one time thing,” President Dominick said in welcoming the attendees.

“Our town is only as good as the businesses. We always extend a hand to the businesses. We ask that you follow the rules and if you follow the rules we treat you all the same. I believe in treating everyone fairly.”

Dominick also noted how safe Cicero has become in the past 14 years since his election as Town President in 2005, pointing out that the number of street gang killings have dropped significantly from when he took office, graffiti vandalism has decreased significantly, too, and more businesses have relocated to Cicero.

Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.
Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.

 

Officer Ramirez spoke about the new innovations that the Police are using to support businesses. Ramirez, who is the assistant Watch Commander working.

“We have new systems to help you as a business. One of them is online reporting. Essentially the Cicero Police Department has come up with a way to file reports online to make things easier for you,” Ramirez said. “It is there for you, 24/7. It will expedite your reporting as well.”

Ramirez said the Cicero Police also maintain a new tip line called Tip411, another way to communicate with thePolice. “You can remain anonymous. You can send us a text and we will send a police car to check out the area and the problem. Send a text to 847411,” Ramirez said.

Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.
Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.

 

Detective Edgar discussed a new problem involving criminals who are breaking into businesses and stealing the ATM machines which dispense money.

“They are very light and they are often not bolted down,” Alba said.

Alba explained the ATM thefts are being targeted by a ring of individuals who are using stolen vehicles.

“We believe that 30 to 40people are involved in there rings. It’s not just in Cicero, we are partnering with Police agencies in all of the Western suburbs,” Alba said. He said that the criminals will check the ATM during store hours, often pushing or shaking the machines to see if they are loose.

“They then come back after the store closes,” Alba said. “If you have any suspicions about this, please feel free to give us a call.”

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

 

Vargas said his priority is to help the businesses and assist them in meeting the Town’s business requirements.

“I think the main goal as President Dominick has explained is to bring the businesses together so we can work together to make changes that benefits all of us,” Vargas said.

“You are one of the most important pieces in our community to help the youth, to help our schools. You bring jobs. You are a part of the community. This chamber is an opportunity for you as a business owner. My Department wants to be here to care for and work with you. We are there to serve you.”

Vargas also credited President Dominick and the Cicero Police who have helped to make Cicero one of the safest communities in the state. He said that as a result of the increased safety in Cicero, 2,400 new small businesses have opened in the Town of Cicero since 2015.

Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.
Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.

 

Langostinos served a fish buffet to the attendees and the groups spent several hours afterwards networking and meeting each other.

Town Spokesman Ray Hanania ended the meeting explaining that the new Chamber will receive strong support from the Town to organize new programs including organizing job fairs each year and helping to promote and publicize the businesses through the monthly Town Newsletter, a new Chamber eNewsletter, the Chamber website, and through activities such as organizing “Grand Openings” and “Ribbon Cuttings.”

“If you have business, even if you have been here 20 years or more, there is nothing wrong with having a re-Grand Opening, we will cover it, we will take pictures, video and help you publicize your presence in this Town,” Hanania said.

More than 43 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

Hanania introduced Maru Ayala who supervises the Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings.

“We want people to know that you are here and we want to help you grow your business,” Ayala said.

Also attending the evening event were Senior Center Director Diana Dominick, Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and several members of the Cicero Business License Department.

State Rep. Lisa Hernandez told the attendees she is working with the Town to ensure that any state services available to businesses will be made available to Cicero businesses.

Future meetings will address many topics including parking issues, the benefits of TIF districts, speakers who can help the businesses do better customer outreach, and more.

Watch the video of the meeting using the widget below or click this link to see it online.


More photos:

Attendees at Cicero Chamber of Commerce Launch Meeting Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant

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New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts membership meeting

Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas

New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts membership meeting

The New Cicero Chamber of Commerce is hosting a membership drive for owners of business physically located inside the Town of Cicero.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Ave., beginning at 5 PM. Buffett will begin at 5:30 PM. Program of speakers will begin at 6:30 PM.

YOU MAY PARK AT 32nd and Laramie Avenue Parking Lot
as parking around Langostinos Restaurant may be tight.

Business owners interested in attending and learning more about the Cicero Chamber of Commerce are invited to attend. Please RSVP to:  CiceroChamberofCommerce@gmail.com

Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas
Cicero Business License Director Ismael Vargas

A $20 donation is requested to defray the cost of the dinner and refreshments.

Speakers include a representative of the Cicero Police Department who will discuss safety for businesses, and Business License Director Ismael Vargas who will discuss the top 10 issues businesses are most concerned about and lead a discussion on how to address them.

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce will provide support to businesses including assistance in publicity and PR for events and activities, help organize Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings for businesses that are expanding, or launching new services, and provide assistance in understanding rules and regulations in the Town of Cicero for businesses.

This meeting is only open to businesses licensed to operate inside the Town of Cicero only.

As the Chamber evolves, we will provide information on annual membership, monthly activities, and a full range of support services.

 

Ismael Vargas bio:

Ismael Vargas is the Director of the Business License Department at Town of Cicero and serves as the Police/Fire Chaplain. Mr. Vargas was previously the Manager for the Intervention Program/Gang Specialist at Corazon Community Services.

He previously was the Assistant Director, advocate, and trainer at Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE). His responsibilities included developing and presenting workshops and helping parents and Local School Councils understand and carry out their responsibilities for their children’s education. He is a strong role model for parents and youth, as he served at the board chair of William Finkl School Local School Council for six years and member of Chicago Public School (CPS) LSC Advisory Board for two years. Ismael Vargas was also a board member for 4 years of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning.

He represented PURE on the Education Committee of Sen. Miguel del Valle, and the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and was a regular member of evaluation teams for the annual School Leadership Award for Outstanding Principals and board member of the Partnership to Encourage the Next Century’s Urban Leaders (PENCUL). Mr. Vargas currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Vida Abundante Church, Cicero Public Library Board President, Chair of the Graffiti Committee and a Member of the CYTF (Cicero Youth Task Force) Safety Committee in Cicero and also the S.O.S Task Force Board Member for the Town of Cicero.

Specialties: For 20 years now, my principle interest has been to maintain an intense and constant fight for the rights of students and their parents, and to impel a better education. I had fought for immigrant rights and for improvements to our communities and fight against Violence in the community.

Click for Ismael’s LinkedIn Account.