#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 78 with Amy and Hannah Amdur of Amdur Productions

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by mother-daughter team Amy and Hannah Amdur of Amdur Productions. For over thirty years, Amdur Productions has organized and directed many of the Midwest’s most esteemed juried art festivals. Andersonville is proud to have Amdur as this year’s festival producer for Andersonville Arts Fest which end-caps Andersonville Arts Week + Fest on September 21 and 22 from 10AM-6PM on Clark from Winona to Argyle.

Amy and Hannah Amdur of Amdur Productions.

Amy and Hannah Amdur of Amdur Productions.

“The opportunity for the public to come in and meet the artists and see artwork, is more important now than ever. Freedom of expression is guaranteed in our constitution, but it isn’t a right we should always assume is there.” – Amy Amdur

Listen to Episode 78 with Amy and Hannah Amdur

Here are some references from Episode 78 that you may want to check out:

  • Amy developed a passion for art starting early, at the age of five. Amy watched painters at a nearby art school when running errands with her mom and started painting that very summer. It was a skill she carried through her entire childhood and into school at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute. Amy’s first fest was downtown Highland Park 36 years ago, with only 40 artists.
  • Amy’s daughter Hannah just graduated last year from the University of Iowa and started working for her mother and Amdur as the Marketing and Events Manager. Her first festival was the Port Clinton Art Festival at 2 weeks old!
  • Hannah is working to streamline Amdur’s social media, but also taking the time to learn from her mother and take in all aspects of festival production. She also mentions Art Zipper, Amdur’s online e-commerce site that also features juried artists often found at their fests.

    Artist Derek Christensen, who will be showing at Andersonville Arts Fest.

    Artist Derek Christensen, who will be showing at Arts Fest.

  • Over time, Amy has seen the presentation of art displays evolve along with the evolution of the art itself. The field of photography has changed the most dramatically over the years due to the introduction of Photoshop and different kinds of printing mediums like aluminum. Hannah recalls the jury process taking place for Amdur when she was young, using a projector and slides in a rented conference room to bring everyone together.
  • Amy mentions two particular artists that will appear during Andersonville Arts Fest: Derek Christensen and Annette Fiscelli who both focus on upcycled art using recycled materials like license plates and old bicycle parts.
Annette Fiscelli, artist, who will be on display during Arts Fest.

Annette Fiscelli, whose upcycled art will be on display during Arts Fest.

  • Amdur currently produces about 30 events a year. They’ve recently expanded into Wisconsin and Indiana markets as well. Check out all of their festivals here.
  • Amy’s biggest advice when shopping for art is to take a photo of the blank space in your home that you’d like to hang art, maybe even take a few measurements. Then, go to a festival and walk around and take note of the pieces you like and the booth numbers. Take in the entire fest, go sit down and listen to music and have something to eat, and then revisit the art pieces you are still thinking about and speak more with the artists. Some buyers purchase thematically (all black and white photos, all glass, etc.) and others select just one larger piece that over time, will grow into a very unique collection.
  • Amy also encourages buyers to consider setting up a commission with an artist you really enjoy to design a one-of-a-kind, custom piece. Hannah even commissioned a piece for Amy’s birthday a while back.
  • Amy also mentions the Arts Fest bucks that are available on Amdur’s website. These gift cards are accepted by the artists at all Amdur fests, and it’s a great way to give a personal experience along with the gift of art. You can even enter to win Arts Bucks right now for Andersonville Arts Fest on Do312!
Mark Hersch, photographer, whose work will also be on display locally at Transistor (5224 N Clark) after Andersonville Arts Fest.

Mark Hersch, photographer, whose work will also be on display locally at Transistor (5224 N Clark) after Andersonville Arts Fest.

  • Amy sees buyers these days in general caring more about the environment and making a real connection with the artist.
  • Amdur also runs and Arts Fest boot camp. Amy started this series as part of her mentorship to other artists. These are free events a few times a year, where artists come together to ask questions about art display, pricing art and how to sell your work when speaking with customers.
  • Hannah speaks of a photographer, Mark Hersch, who started in his photography career a bit later in life. He came to one of Amdur’s bootcamps to learn where to start, and now many festivals and a book later, he dedicated his book to Amy! Mark’s work will also be on display locally at Transistor (5224 N Clark) after Andersonville Arts Fest.
  • Andersonville Arts Fest September 21-22 will feature more than 100 juried artists including a few selected by Andersonville local businesses. In addition to the art, the fest will feature a Youth Art Area, live music, a performance by Gus Giordano Dance School, food, and beer from Urban Renewal Brewery.
  • If able to switch places with an Andersonville business for a day, Amy would choose to switch with FOURSIDED (5060 N Clark) because of the visual nature and curation aspect of the shop. Hannah would choose to switch places with us, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, in order to also interview business owners and learn their stories.
  • Hannah asks her mother what her favorite part of the job is: Amy loves the envisioning aspect of a new fest. Amy sees the fest as a vision of a fully active fest, not just a map in the beginning, and she loves the load-in process when everything comes to fruition.

Thank you to Amy and Hannah for joining us today and thank you for listening to Always Andersonville: The Podcast. For more information about Andersonville Arts Fest and Amdur Productions, please visit  please www.andersonville.org/aaw and www.amdurproductions.com. Show notes on today’s episode can be found at andersonville.org.

Find Amdur Productions on the following platforms:
Online: amdurproductions.com
Facebook: facebook.com/amdurproductions
Instagram: @amdurproductions
Twitter: @amdurfestivals

Find Andersonville Arts Week + Fest:
Online: andersonville.org/aaw
On social: #AvilleArts #AndersonvilleArtsFest

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 77 with Frank Uhler of Honore Storage

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Frank Uhler of Honore Storage. Honore Storage offers secure self-storage in Chicago and is equipped with everything you need to keep your belongings safe. The amenities include newly renovated units, online bill pay, secure facilities, a loading dock, and more. Reserve your storage unit online or over the phone today or visit them at 5147 N Clark.

Frank Uhler, owner of Honore Storage recording Always Andersonville: The Podcast.

Frank Uhler, owner of Honore Storage recording Always Andersonville: The Podcast.

“We have a great staff that works in the (Honore Storage) office, who really pride themselves on working well with people. We have individuals who come in, just to talk to the staff in the office and pretend they have to access their unit. That’s how friendly our staff is.” -Frank Uhler

Listen to Episode 77 with Frank Uhler

Here are some references from Episode 77 that you may want to check out:

  • Frank originally started out as an accountant, then moved to real estate, which led to apartment rentals with Honore Properties, and thus storage facilities. Frank has since moved on from Honore Properties, but still manages other spaces, like new apartment buildings in addition to Honore Storage. He originally looked at the Honore Storage facility with intent to turn it into an apartment building because of its prime location at Clark and Foster. Realizing there is a large demand for storage space in Andersonville, he opened Honore Storage which serves Andersonville and its dense community that can really benefit from access to more storage.
  • Honore Storage used to be Windy City Storage, and some of the changes he made when modernizing the space include: new, climate-controlled storage units, new lighting, a fresh coat of paint, and making sure it’s wheel-chair accessible with an elevator, and building out a friendly front office space. Honore Storage also has a mail and PO box room, which is a complementary offering and makes package delivery easier and more secure for those who live in apartment buildings. Other extra services in addition to storage are a range of moving supplies like boxes, tape, bubble wrap. Business hours are Monday through Friday 9:30am-6:30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm, and Frank is looking into extending hours in the future. 

    Honore Storage is located in the heart of Andersonville at 5147 N Clark.

    Honore Storage is located in the heart of Andersonville at 5147 N Clark.

  • We can personally attest to how useful Honore Storage is, as the Andersonville Chamber utilizes a 10’ x 20’ storage space. Honore Storage has many sizes available, from as small as 5’x5’x4’, up to 250 square feet (the 10’x20’ – which is 2-3 bedroom house for reference) and every size between. If you aren’t sure what size space you might need, Frank’s website has a tool to help you determine the right size. Also, Honore Storage is very convenient, offering an easy-load-in dock in the back. Best of all, unlike other storage spaces often located off the beaten path, it’s location is easy to access and in the heart of Andersonville. Frank has discovered that the majority of his customers comes from within a 1 mile radius!
  • If you’re curious about what Honore looks like, they were a featured advertorial in the 2018-2019 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide, captured by Anjali Pinto. You’ll be able to see the new storage units and a couple of their great employees. Honore prides itself in their friendly and helpful staff, also featured in the guide.

    The newly renovated Honore Storage and their amazingly friendly staff! Photo by Anjali Pinto for the Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.

    The newly renovated Honore Storage and their amazingly friendly staff! Photo by Anjali Pinto for the Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.

  • Along the lines of “Storage Wars” the tv show, we’re curious to know if Frank has any interesting storage stories. Frank admits that it’s never a good feeling or easy when someone stops paying their storage fee or abandons their stuff. At his location, he has had 1 auction so far. But, no one showed up! So next time, he’ll be sure to let us know and we’ll spread the word through the Andersonville Weekly.
  • Honore Storage is participating in Andersonville Arts Week + Fest, which is next week September 19 through 22. Honore is featuring the artwork of Chris Wiliford, whose medium is collage/upcycled materials. Come check out the art, meet their amazingly friendly staff, and take a tour of Honore while you’re there. Also, believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner. Make sure to stop by Honore for Andersonville’s Halloween trick or treat, which is Saturday, October 26!
  • If Frank could trade businesses with anyone in Andersonville for a day, it would be Hopleaf Bar, which is just across the street from Honore Storage. As he sits in the front office space of Honore, it’s easy to daydream about walking over and trying their great selection of beer. And, Frank notices that Hopleaf is always crowded – someone any business owner can appreciate.  

Thank you to Frank for joining us today and thank you for listening to Always Andersonville: The Podcast. For more information about Honore Storage please visit www.honorestorage.com. Show notes on today’s episode can be found at andersonville.org.

Visit Honore Storage on the following platforms:
Online: www.honorestorage.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Honorestorage
witter: www.twitter.com/HonoreStorage

This episode is brought to you by Chicago sales coach, Paul Baraz of Train Wreck Solutions. His new workshop series, Sales Made Simple, occurs monthly every 4th Thursday from 6-7:30PM at 5153 N Clark, #228. Next workshop is September 26! Sign up on the website or email Paul at paulbaraz@gmail.com.

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 76 with Mike Draper and Claire Anderson of RAYGUN

This week, Sara and Joelle are joined by Mike Draper, Owner, and Claire Anderson, Chicago Manager of RAYGUN, newly opened in Andersonville in June of 2019. A raygun is a science fiction particle beam weapon that fires what is usually, destructive energy. But, RAYGUN Andersonville diffuses destructive energy of societal stereotypes with humor and an abundance of typography. Stop in a check out their wide selection of t-shirts, home goods, paper products and more at 5207 N Clark. Today, Claire is with us in person and Mike is calling in from Des Moines, IA.

Mike Draper, Owner (via video) and Claire Anderson, Chicago Manager, recording Always Andersonville: The Podcast.

Mike Draper, Owner (via video) and Claire Anderson, Chicago Manager,  of RAYGUN recording Always Andersonville: The Podcast.

“Money is not the most important thing, but it sure does come in handy sometimes. And by sometimes I mean, every. single. day.”
-Mike Draper, Owner of RAYGUN

Listen to Episode 76 with Mike Draper and Claire Anderson

Here are some references from Episode 76 that you may want to check out:

  • Claire is from Des Moines, IA, which is how she knows Mike, as RAYGUN originated in Des Moines. RAYGUN was originally called Smash. Before RAYGUN, she worked in independent bookstores (including Women & Children First) for 7 years, and has a degree in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern. 
  • Mike was born and raised in Des Moines, and jokes that geographically he hasn’t come very far – RAYGUN Des Moines is only 6 blocks from the hospital where he was born. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania and St. Andrews (London) where he met his wife. He “convinced” her to come with him back to Des Moines, never imagining 15 years later he would still be in the t-shirt business. Mike shares that he’s always been creative, in bands, writing, making movies, etc, which is largely different from his family who are almost solely mechanical engineers. (Except for his dad – he’s an attorney.) 
  • In 2004, Mike received a rejection letter for an extremely competitive fellowship to continue his education in Europe…so his plans changed. He had put everything in to earning that fellowship, and since that didn’t work out, he came up with a plan B. He jokes that “No one graduates thinking, ‘If I play my cards right, one day I’m going to be selling t-shirts on the street.” He describes himself as a “born entrepreneur, with perhaps a penchant to be “long in confidence, short on planning.” A friend suggested they partner and sell t-shirts on campus…and Mike agreed. Something clicked, and he decided to keep doing it.

    Mike, 2004, in his early t-shirt selling days at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Mike, 2004, in his early t-shirt selling days at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • After his business partner moved on to a different job, and Mike moved back to Des Moines with his t-shirt business, which he set up in his parent’s basement. Mike jokes that his move home was a “smooth transition,” complete with his childhood bunk bed and Rage Against the Machine poster on the wall. He opened the original store (called Smash – more on that later) fall of 2005. Mike had only been screen printing for 6 months before opening his own shop. His first day using a cash register was the day he opened the store, and had never worked in retail. He did have a history degree. (hahaha) Mike explains, “You could say that investors were not necessarily lined up to support a t-shirt guy with no experience whose goal was to spread ultra-positive slogans around Des Moines… Most were like, ‘Well, good luck!’ ”
  • T-shirt printing clicked because it was something creative he could do to make a living. He learned how to run a business (bookkeeping, accounting, permits, stores) because it was a means to an end. Of the experience, Mike says that “It was like trying to learn a language by moving to that country.”
  • Back to Claire. More than a decade later after working with Mike in the Smash space, Claire decided to email Mike about creative opportunities. It was the perfect segue from one Andersonville job to the next. Claire helped scout locations and neighborhoods for RAYGUN Chicago. She showed Mike the Andersonville neighborhood first, and his mind was made up. RAYGUN would open in Andersonville.
RAYGUN Andersonville at 5207 N Clark.

RAYGUN Andersonville at 5207 N Clark.

  • RAYGUN was formerly Giordano’s, Ann Sather, and Villa Sweden. Prior to RAYGUN moving in, the Chamber hosted a couple of pop-ups in the space, which helped present it as retail-friendly. It is a great space to be in, with a great garage door open to the street.
  • RAYGUN was formerly “Smash” – but changed the name due to trademark issues. The word RAYGUN isn’t associated with any special memory, but Mike likes it because it’s futuristic but from the past, menacing, but doesn’t exist. Edgy, yet comical.
  • Their tagline, “The Greatest Store in the Universe,” plays with that same irony, and a lot of RAYGUN jokes are based around the fact that they are from Des Moines. It’s funny to have a neighborhood in Des Moines with the store that declared itself “The Greatest Store in the Universe” – people walk in and go, “That’s funny!” and RAYGUN responds, “We’re totally serious.” And, just in case there is life on Mars, RAYGUN wanted to be sure to be one step ahead of the game, including “universe,” not just “world.”
  • The cat. It’s name is Gary. Pew pew pew! Years ago people asked for cat stuff so Jen (RAYGUN designer), created Gary. Gary subsequently became code-name for their wood shop, and the spaceman “Nitro” is also code for their storage facility which holds ‘time travel supplies.’ It’s important to note that t-shirts are an important time travel supply, but not required for time travel. But, you can’t show up in the past or future not wearing a shirt! You’re going to need clothing.gary
  • Most of RAYGUN’s products and clothing are made or sourced in America, and the ones that aren’t come from facilities that meet certain working conditions criteria, where garment workers make above-average income. Products are largely sourced from the States, and printed in Des Moines. Either RAYGUN or their contractors visit facilities to make sure they meet their ethical standards. They are careful of who they work with and how they operate. It’s important to him that his business holds itself accountable, and doesn’t leave all the research and work about their products left to the consumer. 
  • On their website, RAYGUN is open about their challenges and what they’ve learned from them. Their outward appearance is happy-go-lucky, but on the other hand, they deal with general business issues just like anyone else – HR, cash flow issues, inventory. Often Mike finds that people don’t want to show their weaknesses, but Mike approaches challenges with humor and self-deprecation, which helps make RAYGUN more accessible. Claire comments that Mike’s slogan is, “Do the best with the tools you have. Show up. Don’t be a jerk.” 
  • Being a part of Andersonville lends itself to pop-up events at RAYGUN. Like a recent “Self Defense Workshop,” hosted earlier in August, which is hopefully the first of many. RAYGUN hopes to share it’s space with the community.IMG_5772
  • Often asked is: How does RAYGUN come up with its slogans and designs? Which make it and which don’t? Most of the ideas come from internal collaboration, occasionally social media threads, and  sometimes from the general public. A lot of information is collected, and since visual design is simple and straightforward, their designer’s main job is to decide on content and topics. Some recent examples are Humboldt Park’s “Chance the Snapper,” and “Tupac for Governor.” 
  • If Mike and Claire could trade businesses with anyone in Andersonville it would be:
    Claire – “Official Pie tester at First Slice.”
    Mike – “La Colombe. I’ve always liked the idea of running a coffee shop – it seems romantic. Even though you have to work your ass off.”

Thank you to Claire and Mike for joining us and thank you for listening to Always Andersonville: The Podcast. For more information about RAYGUN please visit raygunsite.com. Show notes on today’s episode can be found at andersonville.org.

Visit RAYGUN on the following platforms:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raygunshirts/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raygunshirts/
Online: www.raygunsite.com/collections/chicago
Twitter: https://twitter.com/raygunshirts

This episode is brought to you by Chicago sales coach, Paul Baraz of Train Wreck Solutions. His new workshop series, Sales Made Simple, occurs monthly every 4th Thursday from 6-7:30PM at 5153 N Clark, #228. Next workshop is September 26!

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 75 with Jason Bender of Cheetah Gym

Today we are joined by Jason Bender of Cheetah Gym. Jason is a Master Trainer who believes every workout should have a plan in mind, not just a bunch of exercises. As a black belt, he incorporates martial arts training into his classes so students feel an improvement in flexibility, stress relief and confidence. You can workout with Jason at 5248 N Clark.

Jason with his students.

Jason Bender (far right) with his students at Cheetah Gym.

“We do not grow from being comfortable. During a workout, the only way to find out what you’re made of as a human being is to push yourself.”
– Jason Bender

Listen to Episode 75 with Jason Bender

Here are some references from Episode 75 that you may want to check out:

  • This episode of #AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast comes to you live, from Cheetah Gym’s spin room with Joelle and Laura recording on large exercise balls! Jason Bender is originally from a small town in Ohio, and came to Chicago after college. He has always been involved in marital arts, and ultimately moved to Chicago with the goal to pursue it professionally. In the last few years, he has brought all his business and clients to Cheetah.
Laura and Joelle recording at Cheetah Gym

Laura and Joelle recording at Cheetah Gym on exercise balls!

  • Jason teaches functional fitness classes, “the dental care of fitness,” Muay Thai kickboxing, (no sparring, but utilizes kick pads), overall athletic classes, and Brazilian jiu jitsu/grappling/self-defense. He offers classes at many times, for adults and children. He will often pair kids of different sizes together to learn how to work together and look out for one another. It helps them to develop skills with conflict, verbal and physical.
Jason and his young students.

Jason and his young students.

  • Jason holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the rank of Blue in Muay Thai under the World Muay Thai Organization. The differences between the two are that Ju Jitsu originated from Japan and was brought to Brazil, which is where Jason’s instructor, Carlson Gracie Sr., originated from. In Jiu-Jitsu there are only 5 belts, white, blue, purple, brown, black. In this process, you have to mature to a certain point, in age and skill, before you can proceed forward.
  • Jason started competing in martial arts in 1999 and was a Chicago Golden Gloves semifinalist in 2007. He still competes today, but as information about CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) emerges, he really tries to protect his brain and spars very lightly and carefully. This reflects another beauty of jiu-jitsu; the contact is different and safer. Martial arts is less contact, and therefore lets you leave you opponent as friends, not foes.
  • As a Master Trainer, Jason offers classes that focus on full body workouts, circuit training as well as martial arts. His philosophy is that workouts are supposed to be uncomfortable. Part of the reason why Jason first got involved in martial arts was to prove himself, and he wanted to feel powerful. The only way to get there is to push yourself, and he finds that most people haven’t experienced their full potential – and he wants to help them find that.
Cheetah Gym's workout space.

Cheetah Gym’s workout space.

  • It’s a somewhat a new concept, but Jason explores how much we should push our bodies and how often. It’s important to evaluate how a person is feeling every day, and adjust the intensity of a workout. Pay attention to your body. Jason’s tips for a good workout are: Be consistent. Workout every day at the exact same time. Pay attention to your hunger. If you can, work out in the morning that way nothing gets in the way.
  • Jason is pre/post natal fitness certified, and approaches prenatal workout with 2 questions in mind: Have you done it before you were pregnant, and are you going to fall down? If your exercise routine isn’t different than before, you can still do it! Otherwise, wait until after. 
  • When starting out on a fitness journey or struggling to find the right workout, Jason’s encourages people to get out of the “program” mindset. Fitness is life-long journey. People put a lot of stock in having fun – which is important – but not every workout is fun. Move every day, don’t make excuses. Jason doesn’t like “working out,” but he enjoys jiu jitsu. Find the thing that makes you move in a full range of motion and do that. He fosters a student/learning environment, and gets excited when someone is brand new. If you think you’re at your rock bottom, come on in, and he and his crew will take care of you in more ways than one.

Jason and Student 2

    • Having recently undergone knee surgery, Jason’s experience has been a little bit of a blessing, because he tends to push his physical boundaries. It’s been nice to step back and refresh, and focus on growing his jiu jitsu program. He’s had more people involved, and is finding more ways to get beginners involved and teach better.
    • Some of the individuals in Jason’s life that have helped and encouraged him along his journey are Mr. Rogers – which personified how to treat people and how to be nice. Also, his teachers – Doug Tono, Carlson Gracie Jr, and all of his trainers and students. He sees his students try and try again, and it inspires him to keep going.

Jason and Student

  • When asked which Andersonville business he would like to trade places with and why, Jason would take an empty building and use it as his own facility! It’s a big dream to have his own space and facility. He doesn’t want to do anything outside of the fitness industry and can’t dream of doing anything else.

Visit Jason Bender and Cheetah Gym on the following platforms:
Online: cheetahgym.com | bendermartialarts.com
Facebook: facebook.com/CheetahGymChicago
Instagram: @cheetahgymchicago


This episode is brought to you by Chicago sales coach, Paul Baraz of Train Wreck Solutions. His new workshop series, Sales Made Simple, occurs monthly every 4th Thursday from 6-7:30PM at 5153 N Clark, #228. 


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 74 with Paul Ruffino of Rattleback Records

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Paul Ruffino of Rattleback Records, a business that showcases a combination of a lifelong love of music and vintage treasures. Rattleback offers a wide selection of vintage vinyl, CDs, cassettes, movies and more and is open 7 days a week at 5505 N Clark.


Paul (left) pictured here with his husband Mike and Rattleback staff for the 2019-20 Neighborhood Guide. Photo by Anjali Pinto.

“Anyone who can take an instrument and make music is amazing to me.”
-Paul Ruffino

Listen to Episode 74 with Paul Ruffino!

Here are some references from Episode 74 that you may want to check out:

  • Paul Ruffino, the owner of Rattleback Records, is from Chicago and grew up on the far Northwest Side in Edison Park. He attended Taft High School and then Northeastern Illinois University where he earned a degree in Education. After college, he lived in the beautiful northern California Bay Area for 5 years where he taught. He loved it there, but Chicago is home and decided to move back.
  • For 20 years Paul taught English, and often incorporated music in the classroom. He recalled earlier days of working retail at Musicland and 2nd Hand Tunes, where he loved to talk to people about music, turn them on to new types of music, and discover new music himself. He decided to pursue music full-time and opened Rattleback Records here in Andersonville in November 2018.
  • Vinyl records nearly disappeared in the early 2000’s but recently have made a resurgence. Paul attributes this comeback to a generation of young people who have grown up in the digital age, but crave tangible items. The way vinyl transmits sound over speakers is fascinating to people, and the sound (in his opinion) is superior to the compressed sound in CDs and streaming services. He points out that all of the music recording formats that have come and gone over the years, vinyl is the one that has lasted.

Photo by Anjali Pinto.

  • First Records:
    • Paul: (Disclaimer: Given to him by his mother) Captain and Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together.” 
    • Laura: Maneater” by Hall and Oates. 
    • Sara would rather not say what her first record was, but recalls Toto’s “Africa,” in her parent’s Oldsmobile, a song enjoying a resurgence since it’s recent cover by Weezer.
  • It used to take a lot of work to be able to listen to the music you wanted, which makes the physical interaction with vinyl special. From an educational standpoint, Paul loves the written word aspect; the liner notes, information, lyrics (essentially poems) printed on the back cover or insert. He loves that kids sit down with this format and actually read and learn.
  • The name “Rattleback” wasn’t something he always had thought of, but wanted to incorporate “things that spin.” He and his husband found info about spinning tops, and discovered an ancient top that spins, rattles, then changes its direction. Hence, their name, “Rattleback Records.” Paul likes that the top that lends its name to the store feels rebellious, it doesn’t do what you expect, and has stood the test of time. Paul also likes the alliteration. In the store, Paul has a bin of plastic rattlebacks.
  • When addressing the topic of online music and its negative and positive effects, Paul shares that the potential positive impact is that people are exposed to new kinds of music and might seek it out in his shop. The negative effect is that people rely solely on their device to download or stream music instantly, instead of physically walking into a shop and deciding how to listen to music.

Photo by Anjali Pinto.

  • Paul shares that his store brings people together – people from all walks of life. Customers who experience vinyl for the first time share that they love it. People share that it brings their family together; listen to music and discuss it, which is so cool. Rattleback Records has regulars, but every day, people walk in who are new to the store.
  • In addition to retail, Rattleback also hosts book signings and live music, recently hosting a performance by Todd Rundgren. The next performance slated will be with a local ukulele group called “The Tiny Bubbles.” Other well-attended in-store performances have been by up-and-coming artists, Suzy Rocket, and Chloe MK (the winner of The Voice in 2017). 
  • Paul’s all-time favorite artist is Joni Mitchell, and “Blue” his favorite album. His desert island artists currently are Van Morrison, the new Bruce Springsteen record, Indie music, and the Grateful Dead – Paul is a (former) Dead Head. He is also into Black Sabbath and AC/DC. Since opening the shop, he’s gotten into jazz, and grown to appreciate names like John Coltrane and Miles Davis in a deeper way. 
  • Paul doesn’t play an instrument himself, and is awe of anyone who can. He remarks a lot of indie bands are bringing in instruments, and recently featured a jazz group with a hammered dulcimer.


    Photo by Anjali Pinto.

  • In addition to used vinyl, Paul sells CDs, cassettes, vintage barware, posters, and prints. Vinyl is selling well, and Rattleback will probably be expanding their record collection, with a need for more LP bins to be made. Paul dreams of owning his own record label to promote local artists, specifically the LGBTQ+ community and allies, to illuminate the music here in Chicago, outside the usual stereotypes. There’s more than Madonna and Britney! Like hard-core heavy metal and country musicians, for example.
  • Paul’s tastes are eclectic, and tries to push himself outside his comfort zone and explore new music. This “explore” mentality is apparent in his decision to open a brick and mortar business, taking an old-school shop that people know, but updating it and offering something people are seeking. After many years in education, it was scary because he wasn’t sure if he’d be successful opening a record shop, but the feedback has been great. Paul points out that every day he has a blast.
  • Paul also buys media. The selling process at Rattleback is based on condition, and buys all media (CDs, records, tapes). Records are the focus. People drop things off, and they also do house calls – sometimes people unload thousands of records, which is a lot of work, but mostly fun. Paul’s favorite part of house calls like this is meeting the people; he meets really cool people who become customers and friends. 
  • Paul married his husband Mike at Artifact Events, an amazing day filled with an outpouring of love, and before gay marriage was legal in Illinois. At their wedding, Paul and Mike had a live band and their friend Jeff Mikhail (a professional filmmaker with a documentary out soon called “You Don’t Know Me”) surprised them with a video compilation. The video captured the joy of the day, and the music featured Aretha Franklin’s “Baby I Love You,” Paul and Mike’s processional song. 
  • Which Andersonville business would Mike trade with for a day? Martha Mae: Art Supplies and Beautiful Things (5407 N Clark) . It’s such a serene, peaceful, well-curated shop. Every time he walks in he feels peace and warmth, and Jean’s (owner) artwork is amazing. What music would he play in Martha Mae? Something soothing, like Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” 
  • Paul states for the record that he does using streaming services, but was recently struck by the statement that “Hard drives crash but vinyl lasts forever.”

Visit Rattleback Records on the following platforms:
Online: rattlebackrecords.com
Facebook: facebook.com/rattlebackrecords
Instagram: @rattlebackrecords
Twitter: @RattlebackRec

This episode is brought to you by Chicago sales coach, Paul Baraz of Train Wreck Solutions. His new workshop series, Sales Made Simple, occurs monthly every 4th Thursday from 6-7:30PM at 5153 N Clark, #228. Don’t miss this week’s workshop on August 22!


This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Drew Ladochi, owner of Pearle Vision in Andersonville, where your eye health and wellness is their primary focus. Drew has been in the optical world for nearly 10 years and is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life. You can visit Drew at Pearle Vision for eye exams, prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, contacts and more at 4814 N. Clark. 

Drew pictured here with his staff and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce team at the ribbon cutting of Pearle Vision in the spring of 2019.

Drew pictured here with his staff and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce team at the ribbon cutting of Pearle Vision in the spring of 2019.

“It’s all about the people. From the people you put on your team, to the people who come into your store and how you treat them.” -Drew Ladochi

Listen to Episode 73 with Drew Ladochi!

Here are some references from Episode 73 that you may want to check out:

  • Drew is originally from Michigan, just outside of Detroit. Specifically, he’s from Algonac, MI from where you can see Canada!
  • Drew has had a tenured career in retail. Prior to Pearle, Drew worked at Express, where he managed large teams of staff, trainings, and the busy holiday seasons. Now, he welcomes the change of managing a small team of 3, which allows him to know his staff and provide the best experience for customers.
  • After 10 years in retail, an opportunity to open his very own eye care franchise with his cousin-in-law came along. Drew has lived in Andersonville since 2012, and opening Pearle this past year meant being in a neighborhood he loved, improving the quality of life for others, with the added bonus of a short commute and no traffic! Drew and his business partner specifically selected Pearle because of their values. The founder, Dr. Stanley Pearle, believed in neighborhood eye centers that offered great care, selection, and customer relationships. In a tough competitive market filled with online options and other retail, Pearle sets itself apart by offering great care, technology, and follow up. 

A look at the retail space at Pearle Vision Andersonville

  • At a typical visit, a customer can expect to be greeted, and walked through their eye care needs. Everything is provided to them electronically for their convenience. They are guided through the store, where there is a lab on-site which can provide eyeglasses in just 1 hour, provided the lenses are in stock.
  • Drew hasn’t always worn glasses, but currently wears blue light filter glasses which reduce eye strain by removing the brightest light from the color spectrum: blue. Since so many of us spend so much time in front of screens, they help to make everyday life more comfortable.
  • Pearle’s location is close to other Andersonville businesses; Ora, StudioUs, Guesthouse Hotel, and Ridman’s, to name a few. Drew loves chatting with his neighbors and promoting them to visitors, friends, and family. They offer an alternative to downtown options and everyone loves them!
Drew pictured here with former One Sight Volunteers in Vietnam.

Drew pictured here with fellow One Sight Volunteers in Vietnam.

  • In addition to providing eye care in Andersonville, Drew is an avid volunteer with One Sight, a vision care and eyewear charity. It is through this charity that Drew solidified his passion for providing eye care, especially to those who need it most. His charity work has brought him to Atlanta, Vietnam, and most recently Mexico, just a few short weeks ago. In Mexico, One Sight served 4,600 people, of which Drew saw 1,600. Specifically, he also had the opportunity to help teach others how to make glasses quickly and correctly. Describing his experience in Mexico, Drew says that it was exhausting (requiring lots of carbs!), and really put things into perspective. The people he served shared that they travel by foot and car, anywhere from 3-6 hours, and that their primary reason for eye care was so they could see well enough to read, and in turn work.
Drew pictured here setting up to ref a dodgeball game

Drew pictured here setting up to ref a dodgeball game

  • Outside of Pearle Vision Drew also cultivates a serious hobby of coaching and playing in LGTB+ sports leagues, often through Chicago Metro Sports Association. He’s been on almost every kind of team imaginable (bocce, bowling, softball, volleyball, dodgeball, kickball, etc.) and even though he didn’t play sports much as a kid, as an adult he has discovered fun in putting a team together. His #1 one rule? No yelling. That, and don’t be mean and have fun! His favorite sport is dodgeball…because it’s funny! Grown people hitting each other with foam balls is just funny, and a far improvement from the old-school days of dreaded rubber kick balls! His teams have also distinguished themselves by wearing blue wigs, and being family-friendly with bubbles and sidewalk chalk. They don’t take themselves too seriously…but don’t let that fool you!
  • When reflecting on characteristics and qualities essential to success, Drew returns to his mother’s advice. “It’s all about the people, from the people on your team to the people who come in your store and how you treat them,” he says. “Be genuine, and how you treat others is how you will be treated.” 
  • If he could swap with another Andersonville business for a day, it would be Strange Cargo. Drew regularly uses them for his sports team jerseys, love the quality of their work, and feels connected to them because of his retail background. And, the offer glitter print! It rocks his world.

Visit Pearle Vision on the following platforms:
Online: www.pearlevision.com/pv-us/stores/il/chicago/9333
Facebook: facebook.com/PearleVisionClarkAndLawrence/

This week’s episode is sponsored by locally-owned Pearle Vision on Clark & Lawrence at 4818 N Clark. Go visit Drew and his team!

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from Episode 72 with Kaleb Sullivan of Dearborn Denimn

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Kaleb Sullivan of Dearborn Denim. Dearborn Denim offers the most curiously comfortable jeans imaginable at the best price possible. Everything is cut, sewn, and crafted at their factory in Chicago with the best American made materials and can be custom hemmed to fit at their Andersonville location at 5202 N Clark.

Plus, Dearborn Denim is hosting Urban Renewal Brewery for Taste of Andersonville tomorrow on August 7! 


Kaleb Sullivan in Transistor before recording this week’s episode.

“There are not a lot of neighborhoods that support small businesses, especially on the locally-made front, like Andersonville.”
– Kaleb Sullivan

Listen to Episode 72 with Kaleb Sullivan!

Here are some references from Episode 72 that you may want to check out:

  • Kaleb was born and raised in Chicago in the Bucktown neighborhood. He even lived nearby Andersonville at Lawrence & Ashland immediately after moving out on his own. He’s never lived outside of Chicago!
  • Dearborn Denim was formed in 2016. Founder Rob McMillan who set out to make the perfect pair of jeans for his wife after she felt dejected trying to find jeans that were “affordable, ethical, and sustainabley sourced.” He started with only two different cuts, and the company has since expanded greatly. Check out their different styles here.
  • Kaleb met Rob for the first time at a street fest in 2016. They were vending next to each other at the fest – Kaleb was selling jewelry at the time – and Kaleb couldn’t believe that Rob was selling Made in Chicago jeans for only $49, at the time, and they struck up a conversation about Rob’s company. They kept in touch and Rob reached out to Kaleb to offer him a job when he was ready to open the first brick and mortar. 
  • Rob figured out how to make jeans after talking with a lot of local designers and local stores and was fueled by his drive to succeed and learn. The biggest feedback was customers wanted something comfortable, which lead them to their signature stretch denim. 
  • Dearborn Denim’s sewing team at the factory started with just three people, and now they currently employ 25-30 in the factory. The stores employ another 10 employees. Rob’s goal is to eventually give jobs to at least 100 Chicagoans. You can even tour their factory! Schedule here. 

Inside Dearborn Denim.

  • While Dearborn Denim’s first storefront is in Hyde Park, the company was inspired to open in Andersonville because of the strong local ethos here. Hyde Park is also very far south and east, and they wanted something also on the North Side of the city. View locations.  Andersonville’s location opened in May 2018.
  • Sara recalls fondly when AKIRA (5228 N Clark) was first looking at Andersonville and the utter surprise and delight their team felt at stepping into Andersonville for the first time, having originated out of Hyde Park as well.  
  • Dearborn Denim, located at 5202 N Clark, is a lovely space that even the Chamber has used in the past as headquarters for Arts Week in 2017. Kaleb mentions that the arrow on the street sign really won them over on location. 

Dearborn Denim staff during Andersonville Sidewalk Sale 2019.

  • When a customer comes in to purchase jeans, the Dearborn Denim staff is there to custom hem each and every pair length-wise on the spot. Most jeans take only about 10 minutes to hem. 
  • Kaleb touches on “the retail apocalypse” – He doesn’t think retail is going anywhere, not while people still feel the need to go in and touch, feel and try on the product. Especially with jeans, customers are so intrinsically invested on finding the perfect fit. Once a customer is established in the Dearborn Denim system, however, they can continue to shop their choices online since fit has already been established. Kaleb feels Dearborn is fighting the “apocalypse” by inviting other local, creative entrepreneurs and designers in for pop-ups, events and collaborations at their storefront.

Stillhouse Whiskey partnered with Dearborn Denim during Arts Week 2018 for their artist party.

  • Dearborn Denim jeans were once carried by local retailer Milk Handmade (5137 N Clark). Since opening their own stores, they don’t often have products in other shops, but certainly value the relationships they’ve built.
  • Dearborn Denim is looking to open one or two more storefronts by the end of 2019! They are looking at both a South Loop location and Lincoln Park location.
  • The V2 wash is also a new wash that Dearborn Denim has just released. They have also developed new products like t-shirts and the Commuter jean. The Commuter is designed with the cyclist in mind and has a tighter ankle to avoid getting caught in the gears, a darted knee for extra moment, a more padded seat, angled pockets and a higher waste. 
  • Dearborn is also considering more levels of customization, including customer-designed distressing; think ripped knees, blown out pockets, and bleached legs. Kaleb also jokingly talks about “heritage jeans” with a large buckle on the back to let out the waist.
  • Denim on denim or “the Canadian tuxedo,” as Kaleb calls it, is something that Dearborn has considered when it looks to a future of making denim jackets and shirts. Right now, though, they are focused on making sure they can keep up with pants orders. 

“As long as you’re clean, your jeans are clean. If you wash your jeans more than one time every 10 wears, that’s way too much – fun fact.”
– Kaleb Sullivan

  • Kaleb says the life expectancy of jeans really depends on the wearer. The heavy wearer’s pair could last 2-3 years, but if the wearer is swapping out and taking care of their pants, jeans can last up to a decade. Jeans need to be washed cold, inside out and hung to dry. The very dedicated washer could even go as far was washing them by hand, in a tub at low water levels. There are even detergents that specialize in dark wash, like The Laundress, a denim wash made out of Brooklyn. Kaleb says you do NOT need to put your jeans in the freezer to clean them. 
  • If given the opportunity to switch places with another Andersonville business, Kaleb would choose four: Transistor (5224 N Clark), Strange Cargo (5216 N Clark) because Kaleb loves the aesthetic in there, Candyality (5225 N Clark) even though his dentist wouldn’t appreciate it – shout out to 1st Family Dental (5333 N Clark), and Village Discount (4898 N Clark) so he could be a sorter in the back. 

Even elves need jeans! The Elf on the Shelf Tommy Hall visited Dearborn Denim during the Late Night Andersonville 2018. Photo by Thomas Bock.

Visit Dearborn Denim on the following platforms:
Online: dearborndenim.us
Facebook: facebook.com/dearborndenim
Instagram: @dearborndenim

This week’s episode is sponsored by locally-owned Pearle Vision on Clark & Lawrence at 4818 N Clark.

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from Episode 71 with Brandon Cloyd of Barrel of Monkeys

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Brandon Cloyd of Barrel of Monkeys. Barrel of Monkeys is an ensemble of actors and educators who create an alternative learning environment in which students aged 7-13 throughout Chicago share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. Their current production, That’s Weird Grandma: Fanastic Beasts and the Stories About Them can be seen Monday nights at 8PM now through August 12 at The Neo Futurists Theater at 5153 N. Ashland.  


Brandon Cloyd in Studio C.

“In a quick look at Barrel of Monkeys you could think it’s a ‘Kids say the darndest things’ moment. But for us it’s not that at all. It’s that the students are really intentional and really smart.”
– Brandon Cloyd

Listen to Episode 71 with Brandon Cloyd!

Here are some references from Episode 71 that you may want to check out:

  • Brandon is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and got involved in theatre through his dad, who was on the board of directors at a local theater. One of his tasks was to check in on rehearsals, and he took Brandon along with him, which is where he fell in love with the idea of performing. 
  • After doing theatre in middle and high school, and teaching at a theatre summer camp, Brandon went to Northwestern University to study theatre and business administration, always keeping a focus on children’s education.
  • An audition is what brought Brandon to Barrel of Monkeys originally; however he had known about the company for a while; it was one of the first places he auditioned after college in 2007.
  • He’s had many roles within the company, such as: actor, teaching artist, program director, and artistic director.
  • Barrel of Monkeys was started by two women, Erica Halverson and Halena Kays, 22 years ago. They were part of a student theatre group at Northwestern University called Griffin’s Tale, which also performed children’s stories. After college they wanted to continue that work, as well as add an educational aspect to it, leading to the creation of Barrel of Monkeys.
  • Most of the work that Barrel of Monkeys produces isn’t seen by the public. Instead, it’s shown to the student authors, in roughly 20 public schools all around Chicago.

(left to right) Aissa Guerra, Nic Park and Noah Appelbaum perform “Extreme Alien Party!” in Barrel of Monkeys’ new revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them. Photo by Evan Hanover.

  • The public shows are performed weekly at The Neo Futurist Theater (5153 N Ashland) here in Andersonville, although Barrel of Monkeys is looking for an additional theatre space on the south side of Chicago as well so they can be accessible to all of the students they work with.
  • Aside from the in-school programs, Barrel of Monkeys also offers after-school programs. The main difference between the two is that the after-school program is a little more exploratory and the curriculum bends towards what the students are interested in, as they are often students who chose to be there. The in-school program curriculum is pretty structured, as they work with a classroom for about 90 minutes once a  week, for six weeks. Each week, they take a look at a different aspect of the curriculum. 

(left to right) Jennifer Johnson and Tom Malinowski perform “Unicorn aka a Horse” in Barrel of Monkeys’ new revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them. Photo by Evan Hanover.


(left to right) Jennifer Johnson, Emily Marso, Aissa Guerra and Tom Malinowski perform “The Living Toilet” in Barrel of Monkeys’ new revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Fantastic Beasts and the Stories About Them. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Visit Barrel of Monkeys on the following platforms:
Online: barrelofmonkeys.org
Facebook: facebook.com/BarrelofMonkeysChicago
Instagram: @barrel.of.monkeys
Twitter: @bomonkeys

 This week’s episode is sponsored by locally-owned Pearle Vision on Clark & Lawrence at 4818 N Clark.

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show notes from Episode 70 with Richard Price of Alamo Shoes

This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Richard Price of Alamo Shoes. Alamo Shoes has been providing a sole-ful experience to shoe shoppers since 1971. Their wide selection of shoes for the whole family combined with their dedicated sales staff ensure that everyone will leave happy with a great pair of comfortable footwear. Located at 5321 N Clark, be sure to take advantage of their free parking in the lot across the street. 

And don’t miss Alamo’s super bowl of sales this weekend during the annual Andersonville Sidewalk Sale starting on Thursday, July 25. 


(from left) Laura Austin, Sara Dinges, Andy Miles, and Richard Price record this week’s episode in the back stock room of Alamo Shoes.

“I have two homes: I have my house I live in, and I have Alamo Shoes”
– Richard Price


Listen to Episode 70 with Richard Price!

Here are some references from Episode 70 that you may want to check out:

  • Richard practically grew up in a shoe store, and his parents owned multiple shops around Chicago before opening Alamo Shoes in 1971.
  • One of the benefits of being a family owned store is that he gets to see his family nearly 24/7, which is something most people aren’t able to do. It also brings more passion and heart into the business.
  • Richard’s maternal grandfather opened a shoe store when he came to the United States from Poland. His father had already been working at shoe stores before his mother, so shoes seemed to already be part of the family.
IMG_2558 (1)

The exterior of Alamo Shoes with the new sign, swapped in September 2018.

  • When Richard’s parents tried to buy the building that Alamo Shoes is in now, the realtor wouldn’t accept their offer. Instead of looking elsewhere his mom called the owner directly and was able to get the building.
  • Alamo Shoes recently went through a renovation, but it’s not the first big renovation the building has had. In the mid 80s, they doubled the size of their business. The newest renovation, however, was motivated by pride. They wanted it to provide a better shopping experience and to be truly proud of their space.

The interior sales floor of Alamo Shoes.

  • When it comes to keeping up with trends, Richard explains the first thing he notices about someone is their shoes, and that he’s always listening and watching for what people want. He even visits other shoe stores while on vacation to fully understand what people are looking for.

An employee pulls shoe sizes for a customer during our interview.

  • The most popular type of shoe sold at Alamo are comfortable, versatile shoes that you’ll find yourself wearing 97% of the time. To achieve that they have plenty of different brands, sizes, and widths to make sure everyone gets the perfect fit. See their selection here.
  • Richard explains that because online shopping is so prevalent, people can end up buying the wrong size of shoe. If your foot is wider than average, you might go up a half size to compensate, which throws off the rest of the fit.
  • Although it may be old school, going into a store to get your foot measured is the best way to get a pair of shoes that fit properly, which will lead to greater comfort.

Alamo Shoes set up for Summer Sidewalk Sale in 2016.

  • The Andersonville Summer Sidewalk Sale is Alamo Shoes’ biggest event of the year, so they truly focus on value. The men’s shoe sale will have great brands at 3 pairs for $95 this weekend. Women’s racks will be $35 for the first pair, $30 for the second, and $25 for the third. Kids shoes will be $15 for one pair or 2 pairs for $25. 
  • Alamo’s sale hours are Thursday (7/25) and Friday (7/26) 9AM-8PM, Saturday (7/27) 9AM-6PM, and Sunday (7/28) 10AM-6PM.
  • If Richard could chose one Andersonville business to trade places with it would have been Augie’s, a former Andersonville restaurant with cheap, delicious food that closed back in 2007.

Shoe back stock in Alamo’s back room.

Visit Alamo Shoes on the following platforms:

Online: alamoshoes.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AlamoShoes

This week’s episode is sponsored by locally-owned Pearle Vision on Clark & Lawrence at 4818 N Clark.

#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 69 with Lisa Blume of The Blume Group

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Realtor Lisa Blume of The Blume Group. With over 20 years of sales, marketing and advertising experience, Lisa brings her in-depth knowledge to Chicago residential real estate buyers & sellers and specializes in Andersonville, Edgewater and Uptown with a great understanding of neighborhood markets, home staging and marketing, Lisa is with you every step of the way. 


Lisa Blume recording with us in Studio C.

“You’re in charge of your own destiny. If you like that, this career could be for you.”
– Lisa Blume

Listen to Episode 69 with Lisa Blume!

 Here are some references from Episode 69 that you may want to check out:

  • Lisa is originally from Louisville Kentucky, but has been living in Chicago for 18 years. Although originally moving for a man, she instantly fell in love with Chicago and never left.
  • Before The Blume Group, Lisa worked in advertising and media for home magazines. This gave her the opportunity to be around great designers and stagers, and to pick up those skills organically, as well as develop a keen eye for photography.
  • From that experience she also learned a lot about sales, and how to do marketing online. That has made the transition to The Blume Group easier as she can help her clients with those things. 
  • As well as selling a client’s house, Lisa also makes sure to personally stage it, along with giving the clients a list of things to do or get rid of to help the house sell faster. The weirdest thing she had to tell a client to do was to get rid of a beer kegerator! 
  • Lisa moved from Lakeview to Andersonville around seven years ago to have more space for her and her daughter. The tree lined blocks and having the restaurants on Clark within walking distance made them fall in love with the neighborhood.
  • To new homeowners moving to Chicago, Lisa would describe Andersonville simply as a neighborhood, an unexpected one among many in Chicago, as well as a great community.
1655 W Edgewater

One of Lisa’s current listings at 1655 W Edgewater.

  • Some of Lisa’s tips for selling a home would be to stage it and make the pictures look amazing. She also likes to create a sense of urgency with limited open houses and scheduling appointments back to back. Find more tips for selling here.
  • One of the benefits of home ownership is that it can be cheaper than renting. Mortgage rates are quite low right now and they’re not expected to go up over the course of the year.
  • When looking for houses in specific school districts, Lisa recommends her clients to visit greatschools.org, as a good school can be subjective. If the client is a couple, she makes sure they’re on the same page. Then she’ll figure out what’s important to them and make sure they land in the right place.

Lisa photographed by Anjali Pinto for the 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.

  • Lisa’s story was featured in this year’s 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide, which she wanted to do to help support the neighborhood and get more involved with the Chamber. Her experience with Anjali Pinto was amazing and she hopes to become the Andersonville go-to realtor by supporting the community.
  • One piece of advice for someone looking to enter the Realtor field is that it’s hard work and you need to be available 24/7. The work is flexible, but not easy.
  • Lisa’s favorite architectural style is an American Four Square. Although, she’s also interested in two-flat and three-flats.
  • Lisa has three Andersonville businesses she’d like to switch with. The first being A Taste of Heaven (5401 N Clark), so she could ensure they make the cherry quiche weekly. The second business is George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N Clark), to save money on all the ice cream her and her daughter get there. Last but not least is Gethsemane Garden Center (5739 N Clark) because of the memories and the joy it brings her.

Visit The Blume Group and Lisa Blume on the following networks:
Online: lisablume.net
Facebook: facebook.com/LisaBlumeChicagoRealEstate
Instagram: @lisablumebroker
Twitter: @blume_lisa

This week’s episode is sponsored by locally-owned Pearle Vision on Clark & Lawrence at 4818 N Clark.