Living with an almost depressed economy, it’s easy to feel more than almost depressed. Everywhere I look, I see closed down shops, lonely servers at restaurants, and staffing agencies overflowing with desperate job seekers. I’ve been struggling with my own job search; I recently applied for a writing job doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I had an internship in SEO so I figured I had an advantage over other candidates. Well, it turned out there were 530 candidates, and I went home, like many others, jobless. But I’m not singing the no-job-blues, because I went home to Andersonville.
Andersonville is neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois that seems untouched by the state of the economy. In fact, one looking in on Andersonville might even say it’s thriving. At any moment, I can look out at the intersection of Clark Street and Foster Avenue and see crowds crossing the street to get to a furniture shop, buy an iced latte, or eat at a trendy restaurant. I’ve only been here a week, and already I feel invested enough to buy my produce at the local market, make copies at the local computing center, and even avoid chains when renting movies. I won’t even eat fast food–if I need a quick bite, I can always pick up a spinach and feta pie from the Middle Eastern bakery on the corner.
What is it that keeps Andersonville booming? My guess is its relentless Chamber of Commerce. This organization has got a pledge going around to spend twenty dollars a week for twenty weeks (20-20) just in Andersonville. It’s genius. According to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, as of today there are 196 investors which brings in a total investment of $78,400 to the neighborhood. It even works for those of us not on the plan: I see a 20-20 sign, and filled with guilt, I sprint to the cash register with my purchase.
Another smart move from the community of Andersonville is the regular and frequent amount of organized events. If you live in the Chicago area, you can see for yourself this weekend at Andersonville’s 44th annual Midsommarfest–a two-day street festival. With a five dollar donation, you gain entrance to a festival that attracts over 40,000 visitors who are there to see the live music on several different stages, ethnic dance crews, food, and unique vendors. This weekend alone will bring in masses of revenue for Andersonville’s residents and business owners.
To learn more about Andersonville and the Midsommarfest you can visit www.andersonville.org or talk to one its many charming residents as you stroll down Clark Street.
Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, www.andersonville.org