List of businesses leaving Democrat-run Chicago, Illinois
The spike in businesses leaving Chicago began in 2020. According to a report from the Illinois Policy Institute, Chicago experienced a 78% increase in commercial vacancies in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Amidst the already debilitating pandemic lockdown, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is also black, embraced the Black Lives Matter cause and welcomed street demonstrators.
Violence, looting, and chaos followed long months of distress. The mayor also pushed to reform and defund the police, according to InjusticeWatch.
On top of the chaos, Chicago ranks second for combined state and local sales tax.
With rising tax rates, big companies no longer feel safe doing business in the windy city. The same scenario is evident in the rising crimes of Democrat-run cities.
Spike in businesses leaving Chicago can be traced back to 2020.
2023, Old Navy
Old Navy’s flagship store on State Street in the Loop, downtown Chicago, decided not to renew its contract after it ended in 2022. It’s been ten years since crime and looting became common in the once magnificent city.
There are no plans to relocate the Old Navy store.
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) reported retail vacancy in Chicago is around 20 percent. “The pandemic is part of it. Crime is part of it,” said its president, reported CBS News.
2023, Walgreens at Wicker Park
Walgreens in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood on Milwaukee Avenue closed after more than a decade. In 2010, Walgreens renovated the former ‘Noel State Bank building’ that opened in 1919.
It is one of its most well-known stores partly because of its ornate interior and repurposed bank features such as the “vitamin vault.”
In 2020, Target, Foot Locker, and about 40 to 60 shops were destroyed or looted. In 2021 and 2022, brazen armed robberies worsened and continued.
In December 2022, just two months before Walgreens closed its doors, CBS News reported 40 violent robberies in Chicago in three weeks, with no arrests in any of them.
2023, Pickwick Theater
Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge is to close in early January 2023. The theatre is an art deco movie palace built in 1928 as a vaudeville stage and movie theatre.
It became a movie theater in 1967 and was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Co-owner Dino Vlahkis told WGN News that slimmer margins and the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to closing the iconic theater.
2023, Banana Republic
Major retailer Banana Republic is leaving Chicago when its lease expires in 2023, according to Fox 32. Although the store may still be visible in suburban outlets, it will no longer be at the Michigan Avenue store.
2022, Citadel Hedge Fund, Caterpillar, and Boeing
Airplane manufacturer Boeing’s Corporate headquarter is leaving downtown Chicago for a suburb in Washington, D.C.
Construction machinery maker Caterpillar is leaving its Deerfield headquarters in Illinois for Irving, Texas. However, most of the company’s manufacturing jobs will remain in Illinois.
In the same year, Illinois’s richest man, Ken Griffin, announced he was moving the home of his $57 billion Citadel hedge fund to Miami.
According to Bloomberg, the departures of a homegrown hedge fund and Boeing, the biggest U.S. exporter, is a symbolic blow for the city. It questions whether Chicago can fix deep-rooted problems to stay competitive in attracting and keeping businesses.
Boeing said in May it was leaving Chicago for Washington, DC, but the reason was not just the high crime rates in the city. The plan has been looming for some time.
2022, Tyson Foods
Tyson staffers will relocate from its Chicago hub and Dakota Dunes to its corporate headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, next year. The company employs about 137,000 people worldwide.
Tyson was in Chicago in 2014 but no longer sees its relevance in staying in Chicago. The company also had a rocky year because of inflation. Tyson is the 6th biggest company to leave Chicago in 2022.
2021, Chicago Bears plans to move to Arlington
The Chicago Bears signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse in September 2021 with plans to build a new stadium. The Bears remain committed to Soldier Field until its lease ends in 2032.
The sports franchise was founded in Decatur and moved to Chicago in 1921; the reasons are unclear. The Chicago Bears dismissed Mayor Lightfoot’s proposals to renovate Soldier Field, owned by the Chicago Park District.
Restaurants in the Chicago area that ceased operations from 2020 to 2023
Band of Bohemia
California CLipper + CC Ferns
Devil Dawgs (Lincoln Park)
Fahlstroms Fresh Fish Market
Fat Willy’s Rib Shack
Furious Spoon (Wicker Park)
Harold’s Chicken Shack #55
III Forks Prime Steakhouse
La Borra Wicker Park
Black Dog Gelato
Robert Et Fils
La Petite Folie
Kaybee’s Indian Flavor
Luna Empanada Shop
Wells on Wells
Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop
La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza
Nibbles and Nos
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Luella’s Gospel Bird
Maude’s Liquor Bar
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate
Morton’s The Steakhouse (State Street)
Pacific Standard Time
Redmond’s Ale House
Taco in a Bag
Vanille Patisserie (Hyde Park)
Wells Street Market
(SOURCES: Timeout; Chicago Eater 2020; Chicago Eater 2023)
The Blue City Murder Problem
Illinois also loses FTX and Highland Ventures employees to other states and smaller companies. The same trend of businesses leaving elsewhere is evident in Democrat-run cities with “progressive policies.”
“The Blue City Murder Problem” was a study by the Edwin Meese III Center for Judicial and Legal Studies at the Heritage Foundation. The result concluded that of the 30 American cities with the highest murder rates, 27 have Democratic mayors.