Always Andersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes for Episode 140 with Heather Saenger of the Uptown Business Center

This week, Laura is joined by former Andersonville Chamber of Commerce employee and now current manager of the Uptown Business Center, Heather Saenger. The Uptown Business Center is one of eight business centers throughout Chicago. It aims to support new and existing business owners with licensing, permitting, and additional, specialized business assistance in collaboration with BACP, local Chambers, and community partners.

Listen to Episode 140 of Always Andersonville!

Top podcast highlights (and their timestamps):

0:59 – Heather tells our listeners a little bit about herself and how she began working with the Uptown Business Center.

3:11 – The Uptown Business Center is 1 of 8 in Chicago. Tune in here to learn about how these Centers came about and what they do overall.


”The city, business affairs, and consumer protection saw a need to serve historically underserved communities, especially the small businesses within those communities, as the pandemic drew on.”

6:14 – Hear about how the Business Center in Uptown works together to get their goals accomplished. Uptown United, Uptown Chamber of Commerce and SSA are all under the same roof!

7:25 – Tune in to hear how to schedule a consultation with the Business Center and what that meeting might look like.

8:29 – Why would businesses reach out to the Uptown Business Center? Hear common questions and answers here! is a great place to apply for business licenses.

11:31 – Heather explains where businesses would have to go prior to the establishment of the UBC, as well as what kind of permitting businesses would come to the UBC for. 


“Everything just still takes a lot of time. From beginning to end, there isn’t usually a clear time frame. Usually things take a little longer than you’d expect or hope, but that’s part of this program too. We hope that the help that we can provide at least expedite things just a little bit.”

16:38 – What other services does the UBC offer? And how do they offer funding for certain businesses? Tune in here! There are webinars coming up soon and will be offered over the course of the next year. Learn more here:

22:50 – The UBC and Uptown Chamber do a wonderful job at referring new businesses to places with available commercial spaces to start up. Hear about the process behind this aspect of the job.

24:41 – Heather talks about the “make-up” of her services, meaning, what types of businesses she’s primarily been working with and what they’ve needed since the start of the UBC.


“Often times, I find if people ask the question, “Do I need a license?” the answer’s always yes.”

28:07 – Tune in to hear questions that you SHOULD be asking or things you should be thinking about if you are seeking help from a place like the UBC.

30:33 – Hear about upcoming events through the UBC and Uptown Chamber!

32:52 – Tune in to hear Rapid Fire Questions!

Connect with Heather at the following:
Phone: (773) 878-1064