Emerald City Green Lights

Emerald City Green Lights


Emerald City Cafe, Uptown, Chicago

Within a shimmer of Emerald City (EC) green lights, new connections and new ideas are a go here in Uptown Chicago. As part of the Uptown Community we are here to give you a little extra help.

Within these green walls of the EC I first met Rochelle Weiner, Owner and Creative Director of Andiamo Creative (Andiamo). It happened right here, just a little to the left of where I am presently typing away. “You’re Rochelle?” I ask while walking in the door. “And you must be Nicholas,” she says. We shake hands, sit, and thus a business relationship is established.

As a business owner knowing your fellow local businesses (however unrelated they may seem to your own) can only prove to be a long-term benefit. This little coffee shop is what landed me my first paid job as a freelance content writer. Somewhere in this neighborhood, possibly right here where you sit reading the Andiamo blog, opportunities spring to life. Maybe you can Start Your Own Biz?

Emerald City has been a part of the Uptown/Wrigleyville area for over 16 years, currently has nine employees, and a couple of regular faces that you may see most days out of the week, including mine. This team plays their strengths. One lovely lady created the logo displayed along the glass walls, another created a Facebook page, and Jeff and Bryan started the open mic night which recently evolved into a booked venue.  Around this time I started to think, “I bet this place could do really well with a little extra help.”

Fortunately for anyone reading this wanting their own extra help you are on the right site for launching something new or updating your brand. Andiamo knows it is not easy to do everything under your own steam so they offer a number of services including copywriting, E-newsletters and surveys, illustrations, and custom websites all aimed at upping your dollar. Now, back to my coffee.

For the past three months I’ve committed many hours to this place of pleasant aromas. My focus was never on the dollar but on the people. Almost every person walking through these doors will make a purchase, coffee, a sandwich, etc. Hence, my goal remains getting more people inside. My plan of action followed three avenues simultaneously: online marketing, hosting a venue and creating a website.

To date, the cafe “friend” count has more than doubled online due in part to the new venue for variety entertainment, the Green Screen Variety Hour which I host in pure talk-show fashion Friday nights at 8:00p.m. I do not know of any other comedy show in the city hosted by a coffee shop. This was a happy niche development accident. Rochelle talks about this in an earlier post I really enjoyed, Learning to Love Black Jelly Beans. Finding and thriving in a niche really illuminates a space with a unique color, in this case it’s emerald. Also, through the creation of a simple template website hosted through WordPress I have generated another means of advertising and managed easy updates through the convenience of my smart phone.

At this point you may be thinking, “Great, but not all of us have enough spare time and energy to do all of this work for free.” Bottom line, these three things lead not only to increased business for my Chicago coffee house of choice but also introduced/reintroduced me to some fantastic comedians that I will work with many times over and ultimately resulted in this fortuitous pairing here at Andiamo Creative. Before I knew anything about Andiamo Creative I applied to about a dozen online content gigs submitting one to three writing samples one of which landed me this position. It was none other than my revue for Emerald City Coffee which caught Rochelle Weiner’s eye as it was once her stomping ground. This is just one example of how remaining immersed in your community results in opportunity.

Where do you feel most at home in the Uptown Chicago community? Where do you go most often? Maybe you have lunch at Demera once a week, or always go to Spoil Me Hair Salon for your bi-weekly trim, or maybe you feel most at home volunteering for Alderman James Cappleman. Perhaps you are a coffee house worker like myself who found a nice writing corner in Dollop or the Awake Cafe. No matter the place there is that little something that you could do to help out. If you must, consider an investment of uncalculated potential. You never know when someone will return the favor.

Any company is made up of many little moving parts, the biggest part of which are people. They are your co-workers, your customers, neighbors and potential clientele all of whom are your greatest idea generators! When all the pieces come together at the right time, a company starts to see their own shiny Emerald City green lights. As we all know, green means go, but what you might not know is that Andiamo means let’s go!

Nicholas Dale Taylor
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