How Creative Pivoting Saved Raue & ESO

When arts organizations in Elgin and Crystal Lake faced a do-or-die crisis, it took some creative business strategies and a public plea to turn things around. This is how they charged back from the brink with a renewed focus on the future.

Crystal Lake Brewing: Doubled Capacity Means Double Excitement

Beer lovers around northern Illinois can’t seem to get enough of this homegrown brewery’s product. Now, with a newly doubled brewing capacity, this Crystal Lake team is setting its sights on the future.

Success Stories: Kitchen Outfitters

Though she faces tough competition from big-box stores, Mary Behrens has established a competitive edge at her Crystal Lake store by winning over customers with price and selection.

Success Stories: Mellie’s Chocolate & Co.

‘Sweet’ is the operative word at this Crystal Lake chocolatier, where owner Melanie Hiser makes a priority of friendly customer service and high-quality ingredients.

Success Stories: Marvin’s Toy Store

Imagination is precious in the mind of a child, and it’s also the driving force at this locally owned toy store. This mother-daughter duo is helping kids to play and create without the need for screens or electronics.

Success Story: La Bellissima

Quality ladies’ undergarments are just the start at this homegrown Crystal Lake business, where customer service and quality products are the means to providing something that’s just the right fit…
Read More

Laugh it Up at Raue Center’s Comedy Cafe

When it comes to big-name comedians and a yet-to-be-discovered stand-up artists, this Crystal Lake theater knows how to exercise its funny bone.

Milestones: Out of the Box Celebrates Six Hard-Earned Years

Never mind that it opened at the beginning of an economic recession. This whimsical gift store is thriving, thanks to its unique products, ideal location and loyal base of customers.

From Tired Places to Refreshed Spaces

Fresh colors and new accent pieces have transformed these rooms into cozy nooks.

What Works in Downtown Development?

An urban renaissance is underway, as attention turns from sprawling shopping centers to historic commercial districts. Getting there has taken decades of grassroots change.