Celebrating Chicago-Owned Small Businesses

This holiday season, one way to give thanks to your community is by buying locally. In all 77 (or more) neighborhoods in Chicago, you’re certain to find a reason to celebrate small business. And check out these photos from our special collections for more reasons to celebrate Chicago business through the years.

Business information has changed significantly over the decades. While in the past there were trade catalogs and phone books (remember those?), now this information is largely found online. Websites highlight specific types of businesses; for example, on Bossy Chicago you can find businesses owned by women or non-binary people, or you can support black business owners via Black Owned Chicago. Looking for trusted information on a specific business? Browse CPL's Business and Money Online Resources for directories and public records similar to the trade publications of yesteryear.

Information about neighborhood businesses, past and present, is available in CPL’s Special Collections and Preservation Division at Harold Washington Library Center. Most neighborhoods are represented with a neighborhood collection either at Special Collections, Sulzer Regional Library’s Northside Neighborhood History Collection or Woodson Regional Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection. We also have books on small businesses.