Local First Chicago

Local businesses. Local food. Local shopping. Local drinking. Local neighborhood communities. In a city the size of Chicago with an enormous array of businesses that encompass its residents and tourists, local businesses survive and thrive through the emphasis on valuing their family- run structures, their unique charm and their neighborhood history. Luckily, these businesses are not alone - Local First Chicago is working to strengthen communities built around independently owned businesses.

Since 2005, Local First Chicago (LFC) has been working to to build thriving, local communities by engaging and educating residents and promoting The Pledge to shift $365 a year from chain stores to locally owned eateries, shops, boutiques and bars.  LFC is a network of locally owned, independent businesses, community organizations and citizens joined together to keep money and character in our neighborhoods and build a thriving local living economy. We'd say it's an absolutely worthwhile cause.

So of all the businesses, bars, and restaurants in Chicago, how do you know who to be supporting to further this local effort? Before your next local outing, be sure to refer to LFC's Business Directory, a list that most likely includes places where you already consider yourself quite the regular.

What you might not know is that a collection of these local businesses have been around for decades - some even over a century! Let's take a look at some of Chicago's Legacy Independent Businesses and how they've maintained their locally owned status.

Wendella Boats and The Chicago Water Taxi was founded in 1935 by Albert Borgstrom, a Swedish immigrant to the U.S. and is now in its 78th season, with third generation Michael Borgstrom serving as President. The company has been and continues to be an integral part of activities along the Chicago River, and the city's evolving lakefront. With their mission of "showcasing Chicago to the world, setting the standard for the industry" unchanged for 78 years, Local First Chicago is proud to consider them a Legacy Independent Business. 

Wendella Sightseeing

The Fudgepot: "Making Chicago sweeter since 1963." This Legacy Independent Business specializes in custom chocolate shapes and famous toffees from its location on Wells St and North Ave for half a decade, and continues to be a Chicagoland favorite. Look for cake? Donuts? Chocolate platters? The Fudgepot is fit for any occassion, and continues to be family-run by crafty candymakers generation after generation.

Louis Glunz Beer was founded in 1888 by Louis Glunz I in Chicago, and is among the oldest beer distributors in the United States- a business quite deserving of being a Legecy Independent Business! Not only is Louis Glunz Beer dedicated to the quality of their product, but is also committed to educating its customers and the public about beer tastes and trends, an education Chicago has been happy to receive for over a hundred years.