Grayslake discusses gun shops

Retail gun and ammunition shops will be allowed in certain parts of Grayslake if an amendment to the village’s zoning ordinance passes at the next board meeting.

The village’s committee of the whole agreed on the amendment’s provisions, which would allow retail firearm and/or ammunitions sales in the general business and shopping center business zones as well as light industrial areas.

A special-use permit would be required. The committee also agreed not to allow such sales in the central business area, which includes downtown along Center Street.

No sales could occur within 500 feet of public or private schools, parks, libraries, house of worship and liquor license holders. In addition, retail sales could not be done in a home business.

Zoning officer Kirk Smith that the village receives several requests annually regarding opening a guns and ammunitions shop. His response has been, “The zoning ordinance doesn’t address that issue.”

Smith said having a gun amendment in place makes sense given the “legal cases over the course of several years in

China Home Shopping Giant Alibaba Hails

SHANGHAI — Alibaba, the Chinese home shopping giant that is hatching an IPO of some $150 billion in New York, says it plans to revolutionize the entertainment industry.

The massive company will seek to align the different elements of the digital economy and in the process become one of the top film industry players in China.

“Alibaba is now picking up speed in the digital culture industry,” said Patrick Liu Chunning, head of Alibaba’s Digital Media Group at a seminar in Shanghai on Sunday. “We are absolutely committed to digital media and diversifying the models.”

The company is well placed to do so. Its existing range of activities run from provision of Internet backbone, through e-commerce, to games and mobile music and online booking of movie theater ticket. In the last year Alibaba has also acquired film production company Chinavision, and minority stakes in online video platform Yukou Tudou and internet TV group Wasu Media. These are in addition to existing stakes in Hong Kong’s Media Asia and China’s Huayi Brothers Media.

The company, which is often compared

Tunney seeks restrictions on shop owners’ tobacco sales

Chicago tobacco sellers with past convictions for selling drug paraphernalia could lose their tobacco retailer licenses under a plan being pushed by a Lakeview alderman who hopes to thin out a dense collection of “head shops” he said are drawing the ire of neighboring businesses.

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, said there are about 10 stores selling “tobacco accessories” in the vicinity of Belmont Avenue and Clark Street. Tunney defined those items as including rolling papers, rolling machines and pipes, items that are sometimes used for smoking marijuana in addition to tobacco.

Tunney has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit the city from issuing or renewing a license to sell tobacco to anyone who sells tobacco accessories who has a felony conviction in the past 5 years for selling drug paraphernalia. An earlier version of the ordinance would have barred anyone with a similar conviction dating back 10 years from holding a tobacco sales license.

The City Council License Committee approved Tunney’s plan today. It will head to the full City Council for consideration next week.

Child killed by falling security door at Philadelphia ice treat shop

PHILADELPHIA – A 3-year-old girl was killed on Saturday when a metal security door fell on her at a flavored ice shop in Philadelphia, according to local media reports.

The child was with her mother at a Rita’s Italian Ice location in the Brewerytown neighborhood when the security door detached from the building and trapped her underneath it, TV station WPVI reported, citing information from police.

People at the scene lifted the door off the girl and tried to revive her, and she was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, the station reported.

A Philadelphia police representative could not be reached for comment. Police are investigating the death, WPVI said.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the child’s family. Due to the current investigation we really cannot comment about the unfortunate incident,” a representative for the chain Rita’s Italian Ice said in a statement.

Kids, Shopping

CHICAGO — During this holiday season, the treatment of young children in public places is something that should be the concern of all of us. Children don`t really like to shop, especially children ages one to ten, unless it is at a toy store or specifically for them.

Instead of dragging them to all corners of the earth for shopping, perhaps what we should do is give them our time. By time I mean involving ourselves in children`s lives, children`s concerns, children`s expectations and children`s joys-not having them conform to adult wishes as if they were an object.

We often see children shopping late of night who are terribly fatigued and not interested at all in finding a sweater for Aunt Kay. I cringe every time I see a child getting smacked for “not behaving right“ while shopping.

Children need to learn respect and manners, but to attempt to teach manners while they are involved in adult activities is not the appropriate place. The holidays would be a lot happier for all if we realized the most precious gift is

Bargain-shopping Blackhawks sign Brad Richards

The bold moves by the Blackhawks’ Central Division rivals came early on the opening day of free agency.

A short time after the Stars acquired Jason Spezza in a blockbuster trade Tuesday, the Blues opened their pocketbook to sign the coveted Paul Stastny to a huge contract and the Avalanchescooped up veteran sniper Jarome Iginla. The Wild followed by bringing Thomas Vanek into the fold and the Jets even got into the act when they added Mathieu Perreault to bolster their center position.

All the while, the Hawks were relatively quiet, only re-signing veteran center Peter Regin to a one-year, $650,000 contract.

Just when it seemed the Hawks would be content entering the 2014-15 season with Andrew Shaw, who is better suited as a winger, or unproven prospect Teuvo Teravainen as their second-line center, general manager Stan Bowman landed a bigger fish with a late-afternoon signing of veteran Brad Richards to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Just like that, the Hawks had a legitimate No. 2 center.

“It’s a big moment for us to be able to add someone of (Richards’) caliber as a hockey player and as an individual,” Bowman said. “He brings so many things to the table for us. There

Holiday sets off explosive business for Indiana fireworks shops

Many Americans take the day off on the Fourth of July, but not Miranda Panos: She’s in the fireworks business.

She plans to work until midnight Friday at Uncle Sam Fireworks in Hammond. There’s usually one last surge around 10 p.m., she said, when people run out of fireworks and come for more.

In the week before the nation’s birthday, Panos worked 8 a.m. to midnight, subsisting on Aurelio’s Pizza ordered via speed dial. As manager, she oversees 15 workers who help customers pick from a selection that ranges from a $6 box of bottle rockets to the $700, 6-foot-tall “Godfather” combo pack. Every other day, a distributor stopped by to replenish supplies.

“People say, ‘You don’t get to do fireworks?’ No, this is my fireworks,” Panos said, gesturing toward the shop full of customers and colorful bundles of explosives.

Uncle Sam is one of about a dozen fireworks shops packed along Indiana’s border like a football team’s offensive line. In the weeks before July 4, they compete for the business of hordes of Chicagoland residents driving across the state

Thanksgiving shopping binge brings Black Friday hangover

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. retailers’ controversial choice to kick off the U.S. holiday shopping season early, on Thanksgiving, may not pay off as much as they had hoped.

Eager to entice cautious consumers, especially with six fewer shopping days this year than in 2012, many retailers launched sales on Thursday’s U.S. holiday, traditionally a day for family, friends and football games. Even Macy’s Inc’s flagship store in New York City opened then for the first time in its 155-year history, at 8 p.m.

Some U.S. shoppers played along, hitting the Internet and stores on Thanksgiving. But by late Friday morning, foot traffic looked a lot more like on a regular Saturday than the typical Black Friday frenzy that kicks off the holiday season.

“It’s a lot less than I thought,” said Alison Goodwin, from Horsham, Pennsylvania, who ventured to an area mall on Friday seeking gifts and maybe something for herself.

“It’s like any weekend in December,” Goodwin said.

While mall traffic appeared slower than last year, overall Black Friday online sales as of noon EST

Highland Park coffee shop offers live outdoor music

The Ravinia Coffee Station has introduced a new Sunday morning perk to the neighborhood: live music.

Weather permitting, it’s a scene out of the classic Creedence Clearwater song. Down on the corner and out on the sidewalk, owner Josh Weisbart and a recurring line-up of musicians play acoustic music to lift the spirits of customers and passersby. “It’s wonderful to find live music just happening,” said Laura Davis Sherman of Highland Park. “It’s a really great pause in the week.”

The Ravinia Coffee Station, 723 St. John’s Ave. in Highland Park, opened last November. Weisbart, who plays guitar and mandolin, bills himself as “a casual musician.” Taking his cue from the summer-long Ravinia Festival, Weisbart said he “always intended for music to be part of the big picture” of the to-go coffee shop located on the corner of St. Johns and Roger Williams avenues. “Music has the ability to bring people together,” he said.

On this Sunday morning, a larger crowd than usual gravitated toward the coffee shop in response to a Facebook post by Marcus Newman, a mandolin player and longtime Weisbart

Save money shopping organic

Eating organic doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s time to change the assumption that including organic foods in the family diet has to cost more than regular food. It just takes focused planning and selective shopping.

Prioritize. Determine what’s most important to you, and let those priorities guide your organic selections. If you want to avoid pesticides, for example, focus on organic produce. If growth hormones in dairy products or antibiotics in meats are of concern, go organic in these areas.

Savor in season. One of the best ways to get peak flavor at the lowest price is to purchase organic fruits and vegetables in season. Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups are great ways to find them. If you want to take the next step, grow produce and herbs at home. Planting a backyard garden, even a small one, is light on the wallet and hefty in flavor, nutrition and satisfaction.

Shop smart. Organics occupy more supermarket shelf space than ever, and that means traditional methods of shaving the grocery bill apply. Many large chains have added their own brand of organics

Would you like a shower with that oven?

There are appliance stores. And then there is Pirch, where

at its new showroom in Oakbrook Center you can sidle up to a cafe for a free cappuccino, enjoy the smells and samples that chefs cook up in working kitchens, or reserve a time to take a shower — yes, take a shower — in the Sanctuary, a eucalyptus-scented room with steam showers and a granite bathtub that is filled by a spigot that pours dramatically from the ceiling.

Offering such heightened store experiences is becoming increasingly paramount for retailers seeking to give shoppers a reason to get off the couch, off the Internet and into their stores for something beyond the lowest price, industry analysts say.

“These are the kinds of places that are developing more as a counterpoint to a digital experience and saying, ‘Come in and touch and feel; it’s worth the trip,'” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of New York-based WSL Strategic Retail.

More than stores that simply let you interact with the product, Liebmann said, “these beautiful inspirational settings … create almost a mouth-watering quality.”

While some retailers, like Apple or Anthropologie, have

Abandon online shopping cart, reap discount?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Every few seconds, thousands of online shoppers do something they would probably never do in real life – they walk away from their shopping carts. Maybe the boss ambles by, or the price of shipping sends them packing to a bricks-and-mortar alternative.

Retailers are trying to combat such massive lost opportunity with emails – offering targeted marketing messages reminding customers that they left merchandise unpurchased. Some send one email, some send multiple. Some wait a few days, some send a note immediately. Some offer discount codes to lure shoppers back to their carts. And therein lies an opportunity for wafflers.

“Consumers are definitely wising up to the fact that retailers are doing this,” says Carrie Gouldin, Web community manager at Thinkgeek.com.

She set up a system at her company, which sells geek chic merchandise such as the iCade (an iPad arcade cabinet), to send out one email reminder to customers who have opted in to email communications. The current offer is $10 off $50.

In the online retail space, abandonment rates of shopping carts hover around 65 percent, according to an analysis

Suit yourself: Shop at work

There are men who love to shop. I just don’t know any.

The fellas I’m related to, the guys I work with and the ones I see when I’m out shopping would rather have a tooth yanked (without Novocain) than pick out a suit, choose a shirt, or, for that matter, shop for sweat socks. A good example of this mind set is Peter Bentler, a 27-year-old financial adviser at Smith Barney, who told me that shopping “is really torture.” “Going into stores, looking at multiple things? … I hate it.”

It’s this kind of negative attitude that Daniel Wiebracht thrives on. Wiebracht is a “professionalclothier” who counts Bentler among his devoted clients.

Wiebracht’s job is to keep you out of stores. He is the store. Wiebracht comes to your office, assesses your needs, shows you the stuff, takes your measurements, orders the clothes — down to the socks and boxer shorts if that’s what you want — and then delivers it all, waits for you to try it on and will take it back for further alterations if you don’t like the

Alibaba buys stake in online shopping firm ShopRunner

NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce company
Alibaba Group, which is preparing for an initial public offering
in Hong Kong, has bought a minority stake in online shopping
company ShopRunner, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

The acquisition is part of a string of investments by
Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce group, as it prepares
for its IPO, the FT said, citing people familiar with the
transaction.

Alibaba is paying $75 million for the stake in ShopRunner,
run by former Yahoo Chief Executive Scott Thompson, the
FT reported. The investment will add to a long relationship
between Alibaba and Yahoo, the FT said. Yahoo owns almost a
quarter of Alibaba, the newspaper said.

Spokesmen for Alibaba and ShopRunner could not be reached
for comment.

Alibaba has said that no final decisions have been made
about where it will list its shares, but bankers expect the IPO
to take place in Hong Kong, the FT said.

EBay’s Braintree launches developer kit to boost mobile shopping

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Braintree, the payments gateway owned by eBay Inc, is trying to remove a hurdle for e-commerce companies by making it easier for customers to pay for products on their smart phones.

The company launched a set of tools for software developers on Wednesday that allows businesses to deduct payments directly from a customer’s PayPal account.

The developer kit is the first big push from Braintree since it was bought by eBay for $800 million last year to help PayPal, eBay’s payments division, expand its presence on mobile devices.

Eliminating the need for mobile shoppers to type in their credit card details on their phones should help boost sales, Braintree Chief Executive Bill Ready said in an interview.

This is especially critical as consumers spend more time on their smart phones, a trend that is forcing developers to design a “fundamentally different computing experience” for the smaller screen, Ready added.

Braintree processes payments for businesses including car service Uber and online home-rental marketplace Airbnb.

Crumbs cupcake shops may be resurrected

Marcus Lemonis, a local investor and star of CNBC reality show “The Profit,” is near a deal to resurrect Crumbs gourmet cupcake stores, CNBC reported.

The money-losing New York-based company closed all of its stores earlier this week.

Lemonis is working with other investors to form a new entity that would also include candy maker Sweet Pete’s, CNBC said.

CNBC quoted Lemonis as saying that “Crumbs is a good brand that lost its way” and that the “cupcake business is not viable long term unless” it diversifies.

Lemonis is working on a deal for Crumbs along with the Fischer family, who also presides over Dippin’ Dots ice cream.

Lemonis, who has had a home in Lake Forest, also previously expressed an interest in the Portillo’s hot dog chain, which struck a deal to sell a stake in itself to an East Coast private equity firm.

Crumbs CEO Edward Slezak confirmed in a statement that the company is “in talks with various interested parties that are allowing us to pursue all of our options for the business, which includes consideration of restructuring

Highland Pop realizes owner’s sweet dream

Kimberly Silvestri Cohen, 51, owner of Highland Pop, is originally from Elmwood Park but has lived in Highland Park for the past 23 years.Her business at 1822 Second St. in Highland Park makes popcorn, fudge, and chocolate-dipped fruit and pretzels.

What sets you apart from similar businesses? We have great prices, great products and great customer service. Everything we pop, pack, cater, dip and wrap looks and tastes amazing! Our popcorn, fudge, chocolates and Italian ice are nut-free and gluten-free. In addition we’re undergoing our kosher certification with the OU (Orthodox Union).

What made you want to open this type of store? Highland Pop was a dream of mine for many, many years. The time just never seemed right to open a business for every reason you can imagine, the economy, my kids were too young, not enough money saved to open. I was going through a tough time personally four years ago, as my only sister passed away. One day I just said to my husband, “I want to open this business. I want my little old-fashioned popcorn, fudge and candy shop.” He

Turkey-Day Countdown: Shopping

Planned your Thanksgiving menu? Excellent. Now before you race off to the supermarket, go through that menu and see what you need to shop for. Then check your cupboards and refrigerator and freezer. You don’t need to buy a bottle of whole nutmeg if you already have one at home. And while you’re at it, check what needs replenishing: Heavy-duty aluminum foil? Butter?

And when it comes wine choices, welcome the guidance of Tribune wine columnist Bill St. John and his Thanksgiving suggestions for pairing with the feast. Or he writes, also consider sipping America’s first favorite wine, madeira.

Seattle’s first legal pot shop runs out of marijuana

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Seattle’s first and only recreational marijuana store had to close on Friday after running out of stock in just three days since Washington became the second U.S. state to allow pot sales to adults.

Cannabis City opened in Seattle on Tuesday with at least 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) of marijuana for sale, and by close of business Thursday it was all gone. A message on the store’s phone line said it would re-open on July 21.

There were widespread concerns that shortages of pot would afflict retailers this week after the state issued its first 25 licenses to outlets, under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in November 2012.

Some business owners planned to limit the amount of marijuana early customers could buy to try to make stocks last.

Amber McGowan, manager at Cannabis City, told Reuters on Thursday the store would likely not have enough inventory to stay open for all of its regularly scheduled business hours until a delivery that was due next week.

She said the shop was only able to stay

Thrifty shopping

Who isn’t looking for a pick-me-up these days? But how to feed that urge without the splurge?

Want to treat yourself to a lot of shopping fun while spending just a little? Let me help.

I’ve been cruising around, looking at stores both large and small that provide plenty of entertaining browsing and a load of satisfying purchases — for under $20.

This really is one-stop shopping for brightening our frigid sun-free zone. And if you’re looking for a present, owner David Vail makes it easy. In the three-room shop you’ll find small sections devoted to baby, men, plus lots of unique jewelry (vintage and costume), housewares, cards and — even — flowers. Seriously, Hazel has it all. If they served coffee and snacks you’d never have to leave.

Ravenswood locals have been shopping Hazel since it opened 6 1/2 years ago, but I just discovered it. Now, you can’t keep me away.

While I was there a customer walked in the front door and almost shrieked with joy, “This IS the store!”

Within my self-inflicted $20 budget, I found a trunkload