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Newcomers

The Schaumburg Business Association (SBA) is constantly attracting new members as word spreads about how dynamic it is: offering networking and professional development opportunities, advocating for members both locally and in Springfield, and helping to promote local businesses.

As four newcomers can attest, the SBA interacts with its members, engages them at events, asks them to serve on committees and gives valued feedback.

Ron Cain, owner of the Kuma’s Corner restaurant in Schaumburg, joined the SBA early during the summer of 2015, shortly before the popular Chicago haunt opened its first suburban location across from Woodfield Mall.

“We have always tried to connect with our local communities. Joining the SBA was part of that effort. But I must say that the SBA is the best chamber I have ever worked with,” he said. “Their level of communication and the consistency of their events are incredible. Before our opening, for instance, they did everything they could to promote us since many people in the suburbs had not heard of Kuma’s Corner and on that Wednesday in July when we opened, there were 150 to 200 people lined up down the sidewalk when we opened our doors.”

Kuma’s Corner was founded in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood in 2005 by Cain’s brother, Michael. The tiny restaurant became so popular that it developed a cult-like following, so they opened a second location in Lincoln Park in 2013, followed by the Schaumburg location last summer.

Cindy Chabowski does outside sales for Morton Suggestion Company, a family business based in Mount Prospect that sells promotional products and apparel.

While Morton Suggestion has long handled huge clients like Lockheed Martin, General Motors and the major national railroads, Chabowski wanted to venture out to recruit additional businesses and saw SBA membership as an important connection.

“We have done trade shows like the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter meeting, the Great American Trucking Show and the Illinois Bankers’ Annual Convention for a long time. Joining the SBA was another part of our sales strategy. Ever since joining, I have been really impressed with their events, opportunities, members and staff,” she said.

“I made a commitment to attend every event held for the first two months of my membership. And I have had such good luck. I have given referrals, received referrals and even acquired orders. My bosses are amazed at the results,” Chabowski added.

Windy City Linen is a Wheeling-based firm that rents specialty linens in a wide variety of colors, patterns and fabrics for special events like corporate gatherings, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, fund-raisers and anniversaries.

Rachel Fersten handles sales development for Windy City and joined the SBA in late 2014 in an effort to establish new relationships with venues, event planners and corporations that hold large events.

“During my first year I attended Business After Hours events, Leadership Luncheons, Savour: A Food & Drink Experience and several Coffee & Contacts sessions,” Fersten said. “As a result, I have broadened my network to totally different businesses and people than I knew before I joined. It has also been a lot of fun,” she added.

Christina Yolich is National Business Development Manager for Windy City Strategies and its sister company, Windy City Web Designs, which have offices in Algonquin and Chicago. Together the firms design web sites for clients and offer full-service, totally in-house-generated advertising services.

“I am a true believer in chambers as incredible ways to network. I am a member of three chambers in the McHenry County area and when I wanted to expand into a new area, I chose Schaumburg because it is the second largest industrial area in Illinois. I joined last June and have found it to be outstanding,” Yolich said.

“I received six appointments from the email that the SBA sent out to introduce me! That paid for my membership – and then some,” she said. “My job is all about building relationships. Joining the SBA opened doors to new companies and new people for me. The opportunities available through the SBA far outweigh any other chamber of which I have been a part.”

At Yolich’s urging, the SBA even started a lunchtime networking group called Schaumburg Business Builders which meets in Granite City’s private dining room and now boasts 22 members.

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