Community

In The News: Chicago Loop Cleaners Covered by Voyage Chicago as Inspirational Company

An inspiring community organization

Recently we were honored to be sought out by Voyage Chicago to be covered in their news. Emily Taylor, our founder, was interviewed by the staff and her comments about the company were recorded. 

About Voyage

Voyage Chicago seeks to cover the most inspiring stories in Chicago.

Every neighborhood in Chicago has it's own vibe, style, culture and history...."

Their sections range from articles about Food and Entertainment, Local Community, Business, Art, and people that are amazing. 

Their mission indeed focuses on making Chicago seem a little smaller, a little more closer and connected.

Our mission is build a platform that fosters collaboration and support for small businesses, independent artists and entrepreneurs, local institutions and those that make our city interesting. 

Chicago Loop Cleaners came as a recommendation from the community.

Our company has not necessarily taken the road-most-travelled by entrepreneurs. We didn't seek outsider investment, and we also have a social enterprise mindset that seeks to develop people and communities. Our growth has been intentional and one small step at a time. But that has given us time and space to create really good internal processes and procedures, work closely with staff, fix mistakes quickly, and learn how to make a scalable model. 

We believe in the growth of small things and are in this for the long haul! So we're thankful that news outlets like Voyage have found our story as one that resonates with the community-driven, entrepreneurial mindset. 

Here's our article in Voyage: http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-emily-taylor-chicago-loop-cleaners-downtown-river-north-south-loop/

Interested in reading more about our company's vision? Check out Our Vision.

Our favorite (and LEAST favorite) things to do on the 4th of July in Chicago

Chicago knows how to through a 4th of July party

However, as locals living downtown around the Loop, we've come to learn that there are certain places to really enjoy the 4th ... and certain places to steer clear of! We wanted to share a few of our own suggestions based off our experiences. Think we missed any? Please share in the comments!

 

Places to go

1. Signature Lounge at the Hancock Tower

The Signature Lounge is an ideal location to view the city from the 96th floor of the Hancock Building in River North. This is a perfect view to take in, no matter what time of year. But if you can get up there on the 4th in time for fireworks, the views are even more extravagant!  Be prepared for lines, of course, but if you have a table, you have no worries of dealing with crowds and rowdiness. If you absolutely must be downtown, we suggest going here. https://www.signatureroom.com/lounge/

2. 2017 Napperville Ribfest

That's right-- get outta town! Napperville is about a 40 minute drive from the city, and you won't have to deal with the same kind of crowds. Plus, what's more American that feasting on ribs?? Find out more information on their website: 

3. International Festival of Life in Union Park

Here you'll find a family-friendly festival featuring music, food, arts, crafts, educational contests and more. We love the international spread of music they'll be having: Reggae, Caribbean, African, R & B, Blues, Gospel, Latin, Indie, and other global sounds. Celebrating America means embracing all of our global diversity. It's what makes us so beautiful! 

Places NOT to go

1. Navy Pier

While some may claim that you need to experience the 4th of July at Navy Pier at least once in your life, we feel that we owe it to you to save you from the trauma. It is unbelievably packed! And not only that, they close access to the Pier pretty early once it is filled to capacity. While there are many cops everywhere, the masses are overwhelming and sometimes the young crowd can get rowdy. Avoid at all costs!!

2. North Avenue Beach

There are many places in Chicago that are family-friendly. This is not one of them! Yes, the waterfront views of the city are lovely, but you never know when a fight might break out around you, or indecent behavior is conducted right next to you as you try to enjoy your nice outing. This is definitely the hangout spot for teens and college students. So unless you want to party with them and like them, we promise that it will overwhelm you! Stay clear!

3. Grant Park

This was a swing vote for us, because the music there is pretty awesome. But quite frankly, the crowds are a headache. This is a post for locals, so we know how much tourists can be the bane of our existence! On this one day of the year every tourist coming to Chicago wants to be in Grant Park. Sidewalks are packed, lines are long, and seating is limited. We know there are better ways to enjoy Chicago. So we vote this one out!

There are many great things to experience in Chicago on the 4th.

Sometimes, though, it just takes some creativity. Perhaps go just a little further south or north of the city if you want to stay on the Lake. Or get out to the burbs and enjoy a break from the city life. Celebrations are about memories and having fun, not feeling unsafe, confused, or annoyed with the atmosphere around you. 

So have fun and be safe! Share any of your favorites spots in the comments below.

 

Help us break the cycle of AIDS and poverty in East Africa!

Chicago Loop Cleaners exists to not just clean homes in the most pristine way possible, but we also deeply care about the development of our community and staff. Our vision has always been to offer a professional development program through our company and participate in the economic development of Chicago's neighborhoods.

Right now, though, we have an opportunity to partner with a global effort to end the cycle of AIDS and poverty for orphans and their communities in East Africa via the Cyclebreakers Ride for Hope. Angela Jackson, who is biking on the Ride for Hope, has been partnered with CLC the last 2 years to help us develop and grow as a business. She's our professional small business consultant and has been an invaluable resource to the functioning and growth of CLC! 

In her free time, she volunteers to work with survivors of human trafficking, often many of them being children, or were first trafficked when they were children. Now she's taking her passions overseas and is biking a whopping 600 miles around Lake Victoria over the course of 10 days to raise $12,000 to support children and orphans affected by AIDS! Many of these kids have either been exploited in their past, or are vulnerable to it due to their life situation. 

Everyone deserves safety and care, both here in Chicago and over in East Africa. So we want to join the team of Cyclebreakers! We as a company want to raise $500 to support Angela on her Ride for Hope. She'll be joining a global team of riders to accomplish this feat. But the ride starts in just 2 weeks and she needs her support soon! Would you consider donating to her campaign on GoFundMe? You can read the whole story there -- it's a pretty exciting adventure!

Thanks for helping me help my friend and business ally so that she can support these children. 

Best!

Emily

Owner, Chicago Loop Cleaners

Our Vision for 2017: Developing Our Social Enterprise

Chicago Loop Cleaners is a high-end luxury house keeping service that not only brings peace and rest to homes in downtown Chicago, but we also have a passion for the development of our community and city. We stand in the gap for the marginalized and are doing our part to participate in the economic development of Chicago's neighborhoods. Whether that looks like those who are economically strained, marginalized, the immigrant or refugee, we stand in solidarity and are doing something about it.

Our Goals For 2017

We're shooting for the stars this year. After 3 years of developing a solid internal structure and process, we are excited to make a larger impact for our clients and our community. Contribute directly to our fundraising campaign.

1. HIRE 4 EMPLOYEES

We put each applicant through a rigorous hiring process which includes an online software application and match, a personality test, a phone interview, a working interview, and in-person interview, and a background check and drug test. We bring on only the most serious cleaners who have a vision for their future. We bring the resources and they bring the passion and commitment to both cleaning and development.

The cost of recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and training these new employees for 2017 is approximately $15,000.

2. LAUNCH INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

We are developing a year-long training program that will enable each employee to identify their vision for their own life and to have developed professional and interpersonal skills that will make them highly desirable for future jobs. The first 3 months will teach the team members professionalism and cleaning skills. The next 6 months will focus on personal development. This will include training on self-esteem, life visioning, goal setting, conflict management, nutrition, and financial education. In the final months of the year each team member will be able to identify the direction they want to take their career by using those skills within the company. While still cleaning, they will have opportunity to become more involved with social media marketing, blog writing, sales, management, employee training, accounting, or any other career-building skill.

The total cost for the fully-developed program is $130,000. The most basic functional version of the program can be created for $56,000. 

Help Us Reach Our Funding Goal

In order to hit our goals this year, we need to raise $50,000. With this money we'll be able to hire new employees and put them through a full internship program that not only involves becoming a highly skilled house cleaner, but also puts them on a path of professional and personal development so that they can take the next steps of success in their lives. If our communities are developed, then we all win.

Click here to support us!

 

Emily's Story: how this all began

"I started CCLC in August of 2013 hoping to create a business that business that I could use to “do community development” in the neighborhood of Little Village. I had gotten involved in Little Village as a college student, and after a few years away from Chicago after graduation, it was time to come back and make a life be a part of my community again. I came back to Chicago because I was looking for a way to do community development in Little Village.

I came to Chicago initially for college. After graduated from Moody Bible in 2011, and went back to my hometown in Colorado for a couple of years. I was looking for a way to come back to Chicago though, to be involved in Little Village, where I had gone to church while in school. I had no idea what I was going to do; I just intended to “do community service”. My plan was to get a job to fund a move back to Chicago, but I was given the opportunity to work for a small business owner as his first employee. He offered to train me to start a business that I could use serve my neighborhood by providing jobs. I worked for him for 7 months, and then moved out to Chicago with his blessing.

I’ve now been in business for 3.5 years and have a small team. I always knew I wanted to use the business as a way to teach people professional and personal life-skills, but not until mid-2016 did I was I really able to solidify what that will mean in my company."

 

Final thoughts

In light of recent events, we want to be clear that Chicago Loop Cleaners is committed to supporting, hiring, and developing the lives of immigrants and refugees. We understand the complexities of their lives as well as the process to integrate in American society. This is an opportunity and not a threat from our perspective. As we have the opportunity to assist in developing self-sustainable options for their lives, we will partner as much as possible.

2016 Splash Day Pawty And Raffle Winners

This is definitely my type of party! I understand how important it is for people and even pets to let go and have some fun, and boy was this the best way to do it. All brought to you by the collaborative sponsorship of Baroo and Chicago Loop Cleaners. Below are some of the best shots and highlights.

The outdoor pool area was pretty popular with folks. That's the magic of raffles and snacks, I guess. If you're curious about the raffle winners, you’ll find them and what they won, at the end of this blog post. On a side note, I came over to the deck area for snacks but then realized it's the perfect spot to stay dry from doggy cannon balls. It's a win win!

“Just your friendly neighborhood
Super dog.”

Which is exactly what this little guy did! Well..his owner held him up (human shield style) but judging from his pose afterwards, I’m pretty sure he knows he saved the day.

I’ve gotten so distracted by all the cuteness that day that, I can barely remember names. So you're definitely going to get tired of me saying little guy or cutie.But boy did she love the chase scene! You're looking at the ultimate tag championship holder right now.

“Go for a swim,” they said. “It will be fun!” they said.”
“Smiles are contagious..and you should be happy about that!”
“Yes, swimming was fun but a have a manicure appointment waiting for me.”

I saved the best for last! This fabulous grey hound is getting all dried off and carried away to her forever home. Such a beautiful swimmer and hilarious personality. I love how she makes the best out whatever situation she's in. A very go-with-the-flow dog is the best kind to have in my book.


Raffle Winners


I just want to first thank everyone for coming out and enjoying themselves and letting your furry friends in on the fun. The CLC and Baroo team greatly appreciate the support, pet entertainment, and conversation.


Congrats raffle winners! Your prizes are below:


Free Walk , compliments of Baroo: Debe DuBree

Free House Cleaning , compliments of CLC: Perri Wertheimer

Gift Basket , compliments of CLC and Baroo: Alex Stover

If you see your name listed above, then be ready to receive an email and phone call about setting up an appointment or sending a gift.


Word of advice


Owners, remember to wash your dog after pool play to keep them from having severe skin irritation. Thanks again and enjoy!

By: Arial Davis
Photos by: Emily Taylor

 

Holiday sweet tooth on your mind?

Preparing meals and desserts, and let's face it, just being around so many sweets during the holidays is hard! Having nutritious, energy packed snacks on hand is a great way to keep the sugar cravings at bay. Additionally, if you are craving sugar, it may be your body telling you that it is under stress, needs rest, exercise, or just a simple energy boost. Sometimes a nap or quick walk can help with all of those! At other times it is your body craving good nutrition.

Whether it is the holiday season or not, some great snacks to keep in mind are:

Pistachios

Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin E, minerals, protein, oleic acid, and vitamin B complex groups such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and folates, pistachios are a high energy snack that is great on the go. If you have more time on your hands, pistachio oil can be used for cooking your favorite meals.

Almonds

Take a handful! These delicious nuts may look pretty plain, but they contain protein, vitamins, and minerals which can be a great compliment to a more sugary snack such as fruit or yogurt.

Kale Chips

Kale is a low calorie food that is packed with nutrients. It is a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, iron, protein and is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. If you're craving something a little crispy, instead of reaching for the potato chips, try something new! Adding olive oil and a pinch of salt give this snack option even more flavor.

Kale Chip Recipe: http://pin.it/C6R_Z81

Dairy (or non-Dairy)

Cheese, yogurt, and milk drinks are easy ways to help with the desire for sugar intake. Whether it is dairy based or a milk alternative, this creamy snack can help add calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients while curbing the cravings.

Which Came First, Chicken or Egg..?

High in protein, low in calories, and easy on the wallet, eggs can be an easy way to get the nutrition you need. Mixed with a piece of whole grain bread, folded in with spinach, or just a pinch of salt and pepper, these can make a tasty snack or meal.

Fruits and Veggies

Apples, oranges, bananas. High in water and fiber, fruits and vegetables are beneficial and essential for obtaining the necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need! Try to go for leafy vegetables as much as possible and don't shy away from bright fruits and veggies. If you are needing more protein, try adding steak, grilled chicken, boiled eggs, or avocado! These foods can help you feel energetic and also keep you feeling full longer.

Tired of eating bananas every morning? Smoothies are a fantastic way to have a nutritious between meal boost.

Most of the time, if done right, you can add spinach or another green, leafy vegetable and never notice! Remember flax, chia, hemp, granola, or yogurt can be tossed in too!

Need ideas? Try some of these:

Banana Berry Smoothie https://www.pinterest.com/pin/520376931926094790/

Green Smoothie Chart http://pin.it/tGwjAoD 

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie http://pin.it/tDQS1zM

Raspberry Lime Smoothie http://pin.it/n-TxB2s

Water

Don't forget to stay hydrated! Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and it is recommended that adults drink over 64oz of water a day. As obvious as this element sounds, sometimes it is the most challenging to get throughout the day. Sometimes we even mistake our need for water with the nagging craving for sweets. It is estimated that about 400 of the calories that adults and children consume a day come from beverages! Water can make a huge impact in dropping that calorie count and give your body the pure hydration it needs.

If water isn't naturally your favorite, try adding a slice or two of cucumber or a wedge of lemon or lime. Melons or berries can also be added for taste. Just remember to wash out your water bottle more frequently!

Don't Forget!

After working hard to keep those cravings at bay, don't forget to enjoy some of those delicious and delightful desserts! Adding some of these tips along with an active lifestyle will go far and your body will thank you for it too!

You're invited to a Jazz Brunch!

You are invited to our mid-winter Jazz Brunch! Chase away the winter blues by coming to Scafuri Bakery for some live jazz music from Shorty and the Sugar Pushers, hot drinks, tasty Italian treats, and brunch food.

And this jazz brunch is extra special! Since it's Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Scafuri is excited to partner with the Young Activist Council from CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation) for this event to bring awareness of human trafficking in Chicago and to support survivors. A portion of profits from the bakery sales will go directly to help survivors of human trafficking to get the help they need. CAASE will also have a drawing that day to give away free gift certificates from local businesses. Donations are accepted.

Scafuri Bakery has been serving the Little Italy neighborhood for over one hundred years. For five generations the Scafuri family has been helping customers reconnect with memories of grandma's kitchen, celebrate life's milestones and enjoy a sweet moment every day. The bakery is famous for Italian cookies, cannoli, and specialty cakes, while the coffee, donuts and cafe menu have the neighbors coming back for more.

So make sure you come out to 1337 W. Taylor Street on Jan 31 from 11am-2pm. Entry is free. Also, the space is small, so if you invite lots of friends, try to come at different times so that we can all fit. We'll see you there!

RSVP on the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/905949879519144/

Christmas at Urban Life Skills!

Giving Back to youth-at-risk

Christmas came a little early in the southwest side neighborhood Little Village. Urban Life Skills, a non-profit youth mentoring program that we participate in and sponsor, had their annual Christmas parties this weekend. Well over 200 families got together for food, presents, and awards for all the youth involved. We packed it out! The parties took place at New Life Community Church in Little Village. 
 

Every family received a large box with useful household items. Every youth that is being mentored got a present of a pillow, blanket, toiletries, and a set of comic book Bibles. The youth in the program got to pick out presents beforehand, and give them to their younger siblings.

Emily's mentee and her younger cousin, getting his present from her. Nothing better than giving back to community!