New startup pulls Magic out of hat, analysts fear a disappearing act

By Laura Furr

This past Saturday night around 11 o’clock, 27-year-old Niels van Galen came home from the gym with a craving for Asian cuisine.

Van Galen wanted to make a to-go delivery order to his home in Palo Alto, California, but all delivery services in his area had stopped taking requests at 10 p.m.

On a whim, van Galen tried the new “deliver-me-anything” SMS-based service he had heard about from a friend, appropriately named Magic. Within the hour, he was eating chicken curry for two. Continue reading

Chicago area rents drop but save tenants little

By Stephanie Choporis

Cook County residents can expect little change to median rent prices of all properties due to inflation and potential leveling off despite a recent dip in costs, according to experts.

Among the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., Zillow’s senior economist, Skylar Olsen, said Cook County, also referred to as metro Chicago, fell from 14th highest median rents of all properties in 2012 to 15th highest in 2015. But Olsen said the decrease does little to offset years of inflation. Continue reading

Local fashion designer, new mom expands business to Shanghai

By Mallory Hughes

Native Chicago designer Christina Fan is hoping to change the way women wear furs.

In 2008, Fan designed and launched C/FAN, a women’s wear collection, out of her apartment in Wicker Park. Responding to demand, the line quickly evolved into a contemporary fur accessories brand, featuring hats, scarves, vests and sweatshirts made from rabbit, lamb, fox and raccoon.

“It was born out of necessity due to our weather,” Fan said. “I wanted to offer something that was playful, season-less and easy to wear.” Continue reading

Chicago Fed president: freeze rates until 2016

By Lucy Ren

Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said the Fed should “hold off on raising short–term rates until 2016” in order to achieve the 2 percent inflation objective.
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Tribune Publishing reports sharp drops in profits and sales in Q4

By Yasufumi Saito

In its first report as a separate entity, Tribune Publishing Co. announced Wednesday drops in both fourth-quarter and full year profits and sales, mostly due to an advertising decline and its spinoff costs, and predicted further sales decline this year.

The shares plummeted about 10 percent at one point, before rebounding to close down about 3 percent. Continue reading

Chicago education tech company targets rural Illinois schools

By Taylor Mullaney

When Ryan Hoch started teaching Algebra II in St. Louis five years ago, he found that his students were vastly unprepared for the futures they wanted.

“When they got to my class their junior year, 90 percent of my students told me that they wanted to go to college,” Hoch said. “They had specific universities in mind, like [Missouri], [Saint Louis University], WashU, different schools that were tough to get into. But then their average ACT was a 15, and the average GPA was a 2.5.”

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Diners react to possible Chipotle price hike

By Alysha Khan

During the last quarterly earnings call, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. executives warned that if the price of beef continued to rise, the chain may have to raise its prices. We took to the streets of Chicago to talk to Chipotle customers about the potential hike.

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Oil prices freeze the Illinois fracking boom

By Holly LaFon

Illinois may have missed the fracking boom, as oil prices simmer near $50 a barrel. But a heated drama to reclaim the gold rush is playing out downstate with a cast of environmental activists, big oil, farmers, politicians and Saudi Arabians.

Only one company, Strata-X signed up to apply for a permit to drill in Illinois to date. The boomtown era of just three years ago eroded rapidly over the past six months as oil prices lost half their value. Continue reading

McDonald’s Corp. experiments with touch screen menus

By Andrew Fowler and Alysha Khan

Across the country, McDonald’s Corp. is rolling out Create Your Taste, the chain’s new way to customize your burger with a touch screen. Executives say the new initiative could potentially lift sales and bring in more customers.

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VIDEO: First large-scale green roof in Chicago

By Adriana Cargill

Chicago’s first permitted large-scale commercial green roof farm is set to open in the West Loop this summer. The two Chicago companies behind the project will begin planting in mid to late April.  They hope this will be the start of something big.

According to City of Chicago Data from 2010, there is the equivalent of 95 football fields’ worth of green roofs in Chicago and that number grows every year.

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