Entrepreneurial spirit drives business networking guru
Shalom Klein, who was born in Vernon Hills, assumed he would join his family's accounting firm, Moshe Klein & Associates Ltd. in Chicago and Skokie, at some point.
But he decided to do other things for a while, including taking on the role of CEO at TheJMom.com and project manager at Chabad.org. Then he became vice president at the accounting firm in 2009.
That's when he starting shifting things around. He helped to develop a niche at the firm where he catered to small businesses and realized they had a need to network so they could better serve each other and expand their businesses.
By 2010, he started arranging some meetings among clients, family and friends. After all, a lawyer needs an accountant, and other professionals need other services. About 75 people came to that first meeting, he said.
The next morning, Klein went to the local Starbucks for coffee and noticed a number of those same business people meeting again, continuing the networking that started the night before.
"They all realized that they shared a need to put food on the table," Klein said.
Since then, he has formed the Jewish B2B Networking in Skokie, which draws about 22,000 members from around the North and Northwest suburbs, including Bannockburn, Buffalo Grove and elsewhere, he said.
He arranged more meetings that lead to a trip to Washington, D.C. last year and again about a month ago. About 50 business people braved the last snowstorm to fly to the capital to have meetings at the White House, he said.
The business people wanted to be heard on a number of business-related issues, including crowd funding or micro investing in small companies and reducing the fees to form a limited liability corporation, or LLC, when compared to forming other business corporations, he said.
The organization plans another such issues-related trip on April 30 to Springfield that may include a luncheon at the governor's mansion, Klein said.
"While we want to advocate, we also want to hear what is going on," he said.
Half way there
Kyle DeSantis, president of Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace, said the first phase of its renovation is complete. It included the 27,000-square-foot grand ballroom, main lobby, cocktail lounge, and the French and English rooms. The new spaces feature a European design aesthetic with top-of-the-line furnishings, original artwork and elegant décor. Phase two, to be completed by mid-2014, will include the renovation of the Courtyard Restaurant and the Theatre Bar.
60 years young
South Elgin-based Hoffer Plastics Corp. President William Hoffer said the company has earned the Processor of the Year Award from industry trade magazine, Plastics News. The company also marks its 60th anniversary this year with a specially designed logo.
Filling young tummies
Jennifer Bychowsky of Lake in the Hills has opened Wholesome Tummies, a franchise that provides healthy food options to schools with Trinity Oaks Christian Academy as a client. More schools are expected to be added next year. Chef Cathy Saso works with owner Jennifer and husband Mike Bychowsky on creating healthy meals for kids, one month at a time. And parents can order them online.
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