Chicago, Illinois


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Chicago Business Signs

The word ‘Chicago’ comes from the French rendering of the Miami-Illinois Native American word ‘shikaakwa’, meaning ‘wild onion’ or ‘wild garlic’, which were abundant in the area.  The city itself was incorporated in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed.  During the mid-nineteenth century, the city rapidly grew.
Today, Chicago is the third most populous city in America, with 2.7 million residents.  Its metropolitan area, often referred to as ‘Chicagoland’, has a population of 9.5 million people, also making it the third largest metropolitan population in the U.S.

In 2012, Chicago became an ‘alpha’ global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is seventh in the world on the 2014 Global Cities Index.  Its GDP is third largest in the United States, totaling a sum of $571 billion.  Also during 2012, it was estimated that 46.37 million international and domestic people visited the city.

Chicago is home to the second largest central business district in the country, serving as headquarters for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve).  Chicago is also famous for several major financial and futures exchanges including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the ‘Merc’), which along with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) is owned by Chicago’s CME Group.

Chicago is also the base of operations for 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies.  One Dow 30 Company, Boeing, moved to the city in 2001.  Kraft Foods, McDonalds, Sears Holdings Corporation, and the technology spin-offs of Motorola are based in Chicago’s suburbs.

Chicago isn’t only about business, however.  The city is home to a bustling cultural hub, with late night jazz clubs, shopping centers, and museums.  The city’s famous Lincoln Park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  The River North Gallery District features the nation’s largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City.

The Chicago theatre and comedy scene helped to boost sketch comedy/improvisation, none more so than the improvisational comedy enterprise The Second City.  Notable alums include Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Lynch, Chris Farley, Steve Carell, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and many more too numerous to mention.

Chicago has a sport team in every major professional league.  These include MLB’s Chicago Cubs, who play in Wrigley Field on the North Side of the City, and the Chicago White Sox, who play in U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side.  One of the last two remaining charter members of the National Football League, the Chicago Bears, play at Soldier Field.  The Bears have won nine NFL Championships, including a Super Bowl in 1985.  Interesting sidenote: the other remaining charter member of the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals, began life as the Chicago Cardinals.  The NBA’s Chicago Bulls, who play in the United Center, won six championships in eight seasons under superstar Michael Jordan in the 1990s.  The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks are among the Original Six teams to play in the NHL.  They also play in the United Center and have won five Stanley Cups, the most recent of which they earned in 2013.  MLS’ Chicago Fire play at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview and have won a league title and four U.S. Open Cups since their founding in 1997.

If you own or are considering owning a small business in the Chicago area, take a look at these helpful resources:
Apply for a Business License in Chicago

City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Need Chicago business signs for your small business?

Contact one of our authorized members:

3941 Courtland Terrace
Rockford, IL 61109

Iroquois Print
482 East State Route 54
Onarga, IL 60955
5570 N. Lynch
Chicago, IL 60630