All posts by michaeldavis2017

Evanston High School Student fosters entrepreneurial spirit with ChoreBug

By Mike Davis

Avante Price smiles when classmates call him “ChoreBug.” Being a 16-year-old with his very own business, Price understands the importance of self-promotion.

The Evanston High School junior and founder of ChoreBug, a service that takes odd jobs off the to-do list, grew from a small landscaping business. Now, Price has 25 contracted workers and is operating almost daily in Evanston.

ChoreBug offers services from yard work, cleaning, moving, and even babysitting, all for $25 and under. In the future, Price hopes to expand outside Evanston.


Photo at top: ChoreBug helps trim the to-do list.(Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Rogers Park mac and cheese spot regrouped and reopened

By Mike Davis

Sometimes success forces businesses to take a step back. That’s what happened to the Midnight Mac and Cheeserie in Rogers Park.

After a crazy opening weekend in which owner and chef Antony van Zyl ran out of mac and cheese three days straight, he decided it was time to expand. Since then, he’s doubled the dining area, the kitchen space, and even hired more people.

Van Zyl didn’t anticipate the crowded start from day one.

“You have to build your business, you have to fight to get it going,” van Zyl said. “And that’s the way things normally work…it didn’t quite work that way.”

The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie operates daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Photo at top: The Midnight Mac and Cheeserie re-opens in Rogers Park after a busy first weekend. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Buckingham Fountain: Own a Piece of History

By Mike Davis

Buckingham Fountain is turned on for the season and Chicagoans are celebrating the monument’s 90th anniversary. But that’s not the only excitement surrounding the fountain.

Stuart Grannen, an antiques dealer and owner of Architectural Artifacts Inc. in Ravenswood, is selling the thousand-pound piece of Georgia Green Marble for $22,000.

Grannen said he acquired the historic piece years ago from a descendant of Edward H. Bennett, the architect of Buckingham Fountain. He originally wanted the piece for a museum he was building but the venture fell through.

Now, he’d like to see the piece of history find a good home, preferably in Chicago.

Photo at top: The historic piece of Buckingham Fountain, newly for sale. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)

From South Side to Sinatra: Mike Smith still embodies Chicago jazz

By Mike Davis

Mike Smith still remembers the first time Frank Sinatra yelled at him.

“He’d turn around and give you this look that went right through you…” Smith said. “One time Sinatra yelled at me that it was too loud. So, I brought everybody down and we played softer. The next night he came up to me and wanted it louder.”

This came with the job description of saxophonist and music contractor. As a saxophonist, Smith’s job was to play loud or soft, but always well. As a music contractor, his job was to hire the musicians he and Sinatra shared the stage with. His first exposure to the contracting process was in high school, when he put together the school’s first jazz band.
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Video: Does National Sticky Bun Day actually stick?

By Mike Davis

By now there seems to be a “National Day” for everything. And no matter how meaningful or stupid, people love an excuse to celebrate and spend money. The Hoosier Mama Pie Company has mastered the art of the pie with mouth-watering flavors such as: Earl Grey custard, maple pecan, coconut cream, and the classic apple. But on February 21 for National Sticky Bun Day, an overlooked treat got a little recognition.

Photo at top: Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Evanston, IL is known for their pies, but they also bake sticky buns. (Video still by Mike Davis/MEDILL)

Former child prodigy travels beyond the blues in third album

By Mike Davis

The teenage years tend to be a time of identity crisis. Whether striving to be a member of the crowd, or a separation of it, finding oneself is the root of the journey.

Perhaps that’s what makes Quinn Sullivan, 17 years old, so refreshing. He seems to have found it a long, long time ago — yet he’s so, so young.

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