Where mother once sewed, daughter now cooks tapas

By Alysha Khan

When Nia Asimis lost her job in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, she didn’t bother looking for another one. Instead, she saw opportunity in her mother’s former tailor shop space.

Asimis, 42, opened a restaurant, drawing from her Greek heritage. She called it Nia Mediterranean Tapas. Seven years later, she averages between 2,000 and 3,000 customers a month, $50 per check, and last year, earned $300,00.

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VIDEO: Chicago online florist finds efficiencies, and customers

By Jin Wu

According to IBIS World, by January 2015, there are more than 35,000 offline florists and more than 3,000 online flower shops in U.S. In spite of this strong competition, with only a few thousand dollars invested to start the business, Chicago-based Flowers for Dreams LLC was profitable even in its first year.

The 2-year-old Chicago’s online flower store Flowers for Dreams made more than one million dollars in revenue since it was founded. In 2014, it gained more than $100,000 in profit and a quarter of it, $33,608, was donated to 12 charities. It doubled the number in 2013. Its past Valentine’s Day sales was six times of last year’s Valentine’s Day sales, according to Steven Dyme, co-founder of the business. Continue reading VIDEO: Chicago online florist finds efficiencies, and customers

Live lit alive and well around Chicago

By Elizabeth Elving

Chicago’s literary scene is brought to life in venues all over the city, every night of the week. Below is a map of some of the city’s most popular weekly and monthly live lit events. Included are open mic nights In One Ear, North Side Story Club and Urban Sandbox, reading series Tuesday Funk and live magazine Paper Machete.

Photo at top: The Tuesday Funk performance space at Hopleaf Tavern consists of a mic and a music stand. (Elizabeth Elving/Medill)