Chicago has seen a lot over the years- natural and other disasters, NBA championships, filming for movies like The Dark Knight Rises and When Harry Met Sally, construction of The Sears Tower…we could go on for awhile.
Throughout these changes, some Chicago businesses have managed to stay in operation. Here’s a look at six businesses that have been operating for over 20 years, and what they’ve done to get through the tough times:
Margie’s Fine Candies
Business Location:1960 N Western (original)
About Business: A traditional ice cream parlor serving handmade candies and ice-cream since 1921, and they’re family owned and operated.
How they have stood the test of time: The Poulos family recognized the desire for quality in sweet treats. They have stood by their mission to use only fresh and Kosher ingredients since day one, though cheaper, easily manufactured ingredients would have saved time and money. They have the old ice-cream parlor atmosphere that makes us a little bit nostalgic. Oh, and The Beatles were former customers! You can visit their website here.
Business Location: 3714 S. Halsted St
About Business: Schaller’s Pump opened in 1881, although back then it had a different owner and name. It was purchased by the Schaller family after Prohibition and has continued to be owned and operated by them.It’s known to be crowded after a White Sox game.
How they have stood the test of time: If a bar can survive the Prohibition (during which it operated as a speakeasy), it’s probably going to be just fine. The two attractions of Schaller’s are politics and baseball, and as long as either institution remains a part of Chicago culture, Schaller’s will probably stick around. Schaller’s is known for its consistency in service and style, and customers love that kind of dependability.
C.D. Peacock Jeweler’s
Business Location: Originally on Lake Street as “House of Peacock,” now 172 Oakbrook Center
About Business: C.D. Peacock Jewelers sells and repairs fine jewelry and watches. They began as a family business and have been growing since the early days. They guarantee customer satisfaction and understand that jewelry can be an important part of a person’s story.
How they have stood the test of time: For starters, they survived the Great Fire of 1871, so we know they’re tenacious. They also boast “a commitment to quality and service,” which seems to be an instrumental part of survival for all the businesses on this list. By promising and delivering a certain level of quality care, C.D. Peacock Jewelers was able to build a business meant to last here in Chicago.
The Biograph Theater
Business Location: 2433 North Lincoln Avenue
About business: The Biograph opened in 1914 as a movie theater. It has since gone through many changes in ownership, the most recent being Victory Gardens. Although it is now called “Victory Gardens Theater” many still recognize it as the Biograph. Currently it is used for live productions rather than movies.
How they have stood the test of time: The Biograph is most famous for being the theater where John Dillinger was shot by the FBI in the 30s. It’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places as well. The Biograph’s durability probably also stems from its versatility over the years under new/different ownership and moving from film to live shows.
Gibson’s Steak House
Business Location: 1028 North Rush Street
About Business: Gibson’s is the “Pinnacle of Gold Coast Dining.” It’s been around for a couple decades, so many of the “original cast” are still there. Emphasis on being “for the locals,” but once you’ve been a couple times, you’re considered local. They currently have three locations: North Rush Street in Chicago, Rosemont, and Oak Brook.
How they have stood the test of time: Gibson’s took a general theme (steakhouses) and built their niche within it. In other words, they made it their business to be very good at what they do. They serve only USDA Grade Prime Angus, and are allegedly the innovative force behind martinis in a dessert glass. Plus, owners Steve Lombardo and Hugo Ralli are business savvy gentlemen who know that success comes from customer satisfaction and quality rather than ego.
Business Location: 4716 N. Lincoln Ave
About Business: This business believes that its customers deserve the best when it comes to health. An apothecary is more than just a pharmacist, and that’s what Merz was built on. For almost 100 years, it was owned and operated by the Merz family, who sold it to Abdul Qaiyum, a pharmacist with a similar attitude regarding healthcare and customer service.
How they have stood the test of time: Merz Apothecary stood the test of time by simply being exactly what it always had been- a business focused on delivering quality goods to its customers. While this mission has remained steadfast, the Apothecary has also been versatile in terms of how they engage with customers, as they’ve made non-prescription items available online for purchase.