Business & Economy
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Aleshia Chiesa   
Monday, 21 April 2014 07:21

-Redevelopment Will Transform SouthPark Shopping Experience -

MOLINE, Illinois, April 17, 2014 – With bulldozers and excavators setting the stage for the renovations planned at SouthPark Mall the week of April 21, a groundbreaking scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, will launch the redevelopment and updating of the popular property.

"For over 40 years, SouthPark Mall has served as the shopping center offering great choices, value and top stores including Dillard's, JCPenney, Younkers and Von Maur," said Aleshia Chiesa, Marketing Manager, SouthPark Mall. "Today, the center is transforming to fit local needs and further enhance the offerings and shopper experience for this community. The end result will be a reinvented shopping experience."

To ready the property for Phase I of the redevelopment, construction teams will remove the former Sears department store as well as the food court. Redevelopment to the mall's exterior will include new entrances, landscaping and directional monument signage to add convenience for shoppers and visibility for retailers. Updates to the interior include upgrading restrooms, enhancing the ambient lighting, beautifying the floors with carpeted areas, painting, and enlarging the common area with amenities such as soft seating and new wifi capabilities. New wayfinding signs are also part of the planned changes.

SouthPark shoppers are invited to be part of the April 24 groundbreaking. “This event focuses on a huge milestone in the redevelopment process,” said Chiesa. “The end result will ultimately provide our community with a more dynamic line up of retailers in an updated setting.”

Phase I will continue until November, with a formal grand opening for the new center just in time for the holiday season. While the center is under redevelopment, interior and exterior shops including Gordman's, Office Max and all four anchors, JCPenney, Dillard's, Younkers, and Von Maur, will be open. All current interior retailers will be open as well. Phase II incorporates an on/off ramp with access to John Deere Expressway and is scheduled to start in 2015.

For up to date information on the redevelopment of SouthPark Mall, visit like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Macerich an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust or REIT, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States.

Macerich currently owns 56 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 52 regional shopping centers. Macerich specializes in successful retail properties in many of the country's most attractive, densely populated markets with significant presence in California, Arizona, Chicago and the Greater New York Metro area. Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company's website at


Governor Quinn to Address Small Business Advocacy Council Annual Meeting PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 18 April 2014 09:28

Will Discuss His Proposals to Drive Small Business Development and Expansion

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today will address the annual meeting of the Small Business Advocacy Council and discuss his strong support for small business in Illinois. Governor Quinn’s initiatives have helped small businesses start and expand in Illinois, and proposals he unveiled in his recent State of the State and Budget Addresses will continue to improve the state’s small business environment. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward by supporting small business in Illinois.

“Three out of four employers in Illinois are small businesses, and helping these companies start and grow is one of my top priorities,” Governor Quinn said. “The number of people employed by Illinois small businesses has grown by more than 92,000 jobs the past three years to more than 4.1 million individuals. That’s good news, but we have more work to do. That is why I am proposing a tax cut for businesses that train workers, and to cut the LLC fee by 90 percent to be the lowest in the nation.”

Under Governor Quinn, small businesses across Illinois have helped drive our economic recovery. Illinois’ tourism industry is breaking records – more than 100 million visitors for the first time ever and $33.5 billion in spending in local economies across the state. Illinois’ film industry has also set new records, generating over $350 million in economic activity. In 2012, a new digital company was launched in Chicago every 24 hours.

Illinois was recently ranked third in the US for new corporate locations and expansions by Site Selection magazine. Since recovery from the recession began in January 2010, Illinois has added 257,000 private sector jobs. Unemployment was at 11.4 percent at the height of the Great Recession and today it is at its lowest point in almost five years.

To support Illinois small businesses, in 2011 Governor Quinn launched Advantage Illinois, which has provided more than $50 million in investment directly to small businesses, leveraging more than $420 million in private investments. The program has helped almost 200 small businesses create or retain more than 3,800 jobs.

As part of his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, Governor Quinn proposed a Workforce Training Tax Cut that would make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensure workers will have the skills to drive a 21st century economy. It includes a tax cut to businesses for job training and would apply to new jobs that are created. This allows individuals to be trained for jobs that the business needs to fill, a situation that benefits employer and employee.

The Governor has also proposed reducing the fee to establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) by more than 90 percent, from $500 to $39 – the lowest in the nation. Formation as an LLC encourages entrepreneurs to invest their time and money into viable business enterprises. Reducing the filing fee to $39 will make it easier for small business to start and grow in Illinois.

The Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) was established in 2010 and represents nearly 900 businesses in the Chicagoland area. The SBAC is a non-partisan, member driven organization that promotes the success of small business.

For more information on why Illinois is the right place for business, visit


On Tax Filing Deadline, Fair Tax Supporters to Hold “Could Have Had a Tax Cut” Educational Events at Local Post Offices throughout Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Neal Waltmire   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:47

Will demonstrate to neighbors tax relief provided under Fair Tax using Fair Tax Calculator at and urge them to contact state legislators before May 1st deadline


Chicago, IL – At noon today, April 15th, just hours before the deadline for residents in Illinois to file their state tax returns, taxpayers will gather at local post offices in communities throughout Illinois to spread the word about the urgent need to enact the Fair Tax in Illinois.  Using the Fair Tax calculator at, they will show their neighbors that they could have paid far less in taxes under a Fair Tax, and urge legislators in Springfield to put the Fair Tax on the ballot so voters can decide in November.

Right now, the Fair Tax - with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes – is not allowed due to an antiquated provision of the Illinois Constitution from 1970. The Fair Tax – implemented with a rate structure proposed by the Fair Tax Act’s chief sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon – would cut taxes for 94% of Illinois residents, including everyone making up to $205,000.  If state legislators pass the Fair Tax Act by May 1st, voters will be allowed to modernize the constitution in November with a Fair Tax.  The Fair Tax is supported by 77% of Illinois voters.

Armed with smartphones and iPads, volunteers standing in front of local post offices will be demonstrating the tax cuts offered under a Fair Tax.  They will be using the Fair Tax Calculator at, which allows users to type in their household income and the number of persons in their household to calculate their tax cut (or tax increase if they make over $205,000).  They will also urge citizens to contact their legislators to pass the Fair Tax Act ahead of the May 1st deadline, which people can also do via the Fair Tax Cut website.

For months, the large and growing statewide coalition known as A Better Illinois has been advocating for a Fair Tax.  It has drawn support from every single legislative district – Republican and Democrat – including nearly 250,000 petition signatures, nearly 500 community and civic organizations, including both business and labor alike.

***Media interested in covering the event can RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ***


What: Local citizens demonstrating how large a tax cut people would get under a under a Fair Tax via and urging citizens to contact legislators to pass the Fair Tax Act


Time & Date: Noon.  Tuesday, April 15th


Who: Local taxpayers



Downtown Chicago - Post Office at Federal Plaza (at Dearborn and Adams) 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60604

Joliet - Post Office at 51 E. Cinton St, Joliet, IL 60432

Quad Cities - Post office at 2633 11th St, Rock Island, IL

Decatur - Post Office at 214 N Franklin St, Decatur, IL 62523

Metro East - Post Office at 120 W Washington, Belleville, IL 62220-9998


Visuals: creative signs, people using on iPads & smartphones



Fair Tax Rate Structure Bill Moves Forward as Harmon Files SB350, Cutting Taxes For 94% of Illinoisans up to $205,000 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Neal Waltmire   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:25

Legislation also balances individual and corporate ratio at 1:1, applying the same progressive formula for both individual and corporate taxpayers

Springfield, IL – Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has moved forward new legislation tying a specific rate structure to his Fair Tax Act proposal, including a fixed rate structure that would provide a tax relief for 94% of Illinoisans, including everyone making up to $205,000. Filing of SB350 marks another key step forward for a Fair Tax, which would replace Illinois’ antiquated, regressive flat tax with fairer rates, while maintaining adequate revenue to protect vital investments in education, health and human services, and public safety.

Harmon’s bill also equalizes the individual and corporate tax ratio at 1:1, applying the same graduated formula to both corporations and individuals—a tax cut for all businesses currently paying the 7% flat rate. Under the proposed rate structure, with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes, the median individual Illinois taxpayer earning $55,137 annually would receive a tax cut of $303.

Harmon said he was incredibly encouraged by the surge of support for putting a Fair Tax on the November ballot for citizens to decide following his introduction of a rate structure, and the addition of Rep. Christian Mitchell as chief sponsor on the House side.

“The introduction of a rate structure that offers tax relief for 94% of Illinoisans while preventing draconian cuts to vital services that would result from Illinois driving off the impending fiscal cliff has been an absolute game changer,” said Harmon.  “People understand this is fundamentally all about fairness.”

“Just as the statewide grassroots movement of citizens supporting a Fair Tax has been surging for months, my House colleagues are now taking a hard look at the choices in front of them and many see that this is a third way—a way to provide the services people need and to do so in a way that provides tax relief for 94% of Illinois families,” added Mitchell.

Polling shows that 77% of voters support a Fair Tax, with lower rate for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes. Since its introduction in 2013, a large and growing statewide coalition has grown in favor of a Fair Tax, and news analysis over the weekend confirms its place at the top of the legislative agenda as Springfield considers budget options for FY2015.

“The choices available today are bad for Illinois families: to extend a regressive flat tax or to cut 13,400 teachers from the classroom, to take 95,000 kids off of early childhood education, to say ‘no’ to 30,000 college students wishing to get a MAP grant, to close 11 prisons and release 15,000 prisoners, to lay off 3,000 corrections officers, to cut the state police by 30%. The Fair Tax is the third way,” said Sen. Harmon.


Marketing on Facebook PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 14 April 2014 15:05

Forget the ‘Likes’ – How to Market Effectively
Using Today’s Facebook

3 Ways to Benefit from Paid Ads & Boosted Posts

It seems nothing changes faster than the big social media platforms -- Facebook, Twitter, Google+. No sooner do marketers figure out how to best promote a product or business than they change the rules!

That’s been especially true for Facebook, which had to find new ways to make money after going public two years ago. Twitter has also been making changes since its IPO in November, but most of them – including a visual redesign, tagging people and uploading multiple photos – are geared toward user friendliness. Even Google+, owned by Google, which went public way back in 2004, is constantly tweaking.

But the tweaks bringing the most squeals of protest are those being made by Facebook. Basically, it has taken away users’ ability to reach – for free – all or even most of the people they’ve worked so hard to attract to their pages.

So, do brands and businesses just abandon the platform and the audience there?

“No – they just have to change how you use Facebook,” says Jonathan Sellers, a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations, (

“In the past, the goal was to get as many people to ‘like’ your page – or to ‘friend’ you if you were using a personal page for marketing purposes,” he says. “Forget likes. Now, Facebook makes you pay to get people to like your page by charging you to promote your posts, and then it makes you pay again to get your posts in front of them. That seriously devalues the like!”

Only 5 to 10 percent of people following your business or brand pages – sometimes even less! – will see what you have to share if you don’t pay for extra visibility via a “boosted post,” he says.

“So the focus should shift from working to get people following your page to getting your content to your market.”

Facebook’s inexpensive ads and “boosted posts” actually offer some great benefits, he notes. Here are three he says we should be taking advantage of:

•  Flexibility. Facebook allows you to create ads and boost posts for any number of reasons.  For example, you can create content designed to drive people to your website; get them to engage with you; to sign up for an event; or even track visitors.

•  Targeting. Did you know that when you create an ad on Facebook, you can choose the specific types of people you want to see the ad?  Targeting on Facebook goes far beyond the traditional demographics of age, sex and location. You can target people based on their interests. Are you a sports bar owner in Miami who wants to attract Chicago Bears fans to watch the games at your place every week? Facebook makes it super easy for you to reach people who live in your ZIP code, who are over 21 and who love the Bears.

•  Reporting. Facebook offers very detailed reporting so you can rest assured that you will see exactly where your ad dollars are going.  There is a slight learning curve to figure out the best ways to utilize the data, but it’s there for you.

“This experience should be a lesson to all of us that we cannot become too dependent on any single platform,” Sellers says.

“They’re all going to continuously evolve to find the best mix of optimal user experience and profit.”

About Jonathan Sellers

Jonathan Sellers is a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations, a social media marketing and national pay-for-performance PR firm. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Sellers specializes in online content marketing strategies, driving engagement through blogging best practices and use of multiple media formats including video, photos and graphics. He has managed online marketing initiatives for companies in a variety of industries, including health care and advertising.

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