Our Trendspotter Team Holds Court – and is Bullish on the New Year
To kick off the new year, SW Lake gathered our first annual Trendspotter Team to give us a taste of what’s up and coming locally – and speaking of which way the wind’s blowing, we lead with the latest in engaging local family entertainment: the Windy City Bulls.
Hey cousin Benny – there’s a new team in town
Brad Seymour, President of the new Windy City Bulls based out of the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, is helping drive the trend toward outstanding entertainment options available closer to home, and shared the scoop on the newest game in town:
“The Windy City Bulls create a memorable experience for guests who attend our events, with a family-friendly environment that appeals to sports fanatics and non-sports-fans alike. The Chicago Bulls are famous for providing world class entertainment value, and using our NBA team’s resources, we’ve launched an extension of that brand exclusively for the Northwest Suburbs.
“When guests enter the Sears Centre on game night, they are met by numerous opportunities to become a part of the show – whether creating signs and being seen on the brand new state-of-the-art video board, interacting with Gus T. Bull (our mascot – a close cousin of Benny The Bull), or sending the kids to play in the free court-level fun zone, there is something for everyone – in addition to experiencing up-close a fast-paced level of professional basketball second only to the NBA.
Our goal is to be an asset to the local quality of life and immerse ourselves in our community, while creating events and promotions to draw families to come enjoy the energy and the fun of the Windy City Bulls.
When Art Meets Capitalism
Dr. Russ Riendeau is a local artist, headhunter (the recruiting-professional kind) and behavioral scientist who sees today’s world audience as thirsty for creative outlets. Consumed by 24×7 media and bright screens, humans are being entertained to death, while their gifts and potential sit dormant on couches around the globe. As our economy reboots, watch for more people re-engaging in passionate hobbies and test-driving physical and emotional skills in their free time, as well as on the job. Riendeau believes that more than ever, business and civic leaders will see the creative arts as necessary tools of commerce to flush out new ideas and positive attitudes in the workplace, as capitalism faces the shifting future head-on.
Healthy lifestyle choices: a new wave of awareness
More men today are making active choices for better health. Jeff Eggert, owner of Eighteen Eight (an upscale men’s salon in Barrington), and Dr. Jason Van Ness of Van Ness Chiropractic shared their observations:
Eggert notes how more men actively work to look good and be healthy. His salon’s focus is on grooming care; winter weather can lead to dry skin, and facials using organic products fitting men’s unique skin chemistry are increasingly popular. Men increasingly seek solutions for thinning hair that are non-surgical, affordable, and effective; Eggert’s salon offers options from a healthy scalp treatment regimen to low-level laser therapy. Eighteen Eight works with non-profit Eyes on Cancer to train all stylists to recognize early signs of skin cancer, and how to tactfully recommend customers be checked out when appropriate – a potentially life-saving proposition.
Van Ness also notes an increasing trend in men seeking not only treatment, but preventative care. While sports-related issues still drive the majority of men’s visits, he sees more men proactively investing in health. Planning a healthy diet and lifestyle; taking time for periodic alignments that balance the musculature and nervous system; avoiding excesses in alcohol, dairy, processed food, and sugar that cause inflammation and can lead to spinal issues and more; all reflect the increasingly proactive trend. Van Ness’ practice reflects a patient-focused balance, with half wellness-based, and half crisis/corrective-based, providing comprehensive care for both the short and long term.
Forward-looking Foodies say farewell to Fast, hello to Simple
One huge and growing local trend: a movement back to real, whole foods. Meghan McGinty of Farmhouse on North and Nick Jaros of Neoteca serve up different styles of foods, but share a common connection to what’s fresh and local.
McGinty’s restaurant strongly engages with the “Farm to table” movement, which helps diners at Farmhouse on North trust their food sources when dining out, as they know they’re not sacrificing quality. And it’s not just food; customers crave locally brewed craft beers and spirits, in line with growing sentiment that “it’s better when it’s made here”. Many of McGinty’s regulars frequently order take-out, an encouraging indicator that the fresh food movement is picking up momentum, and that sipping and supping on what’s made locally is the real “comfort” with food.
Nick Jaros manages Neoteca, a family-owned, authentic wood-fired pizzeria and wine bar in downtown Barrington. Jaros notes that local family-owned establishments can be more immersive in the community and better understand its needs. He also notes the trend of foods increasingly following the seasons, predicting that Neoteca dishes such as calamari will be clamored for as cold sets in; light-bodied red wines from their extensive Italian wine list will prevail through winter, with whites and roses to bloom tableside next spring. Neoteca also uses as much local produce as possible, flexing their menu to serve fresh dishes in season.
Smaller, cordless, connected. (Who needs a TV to watch TV?)
Michael Drelicharz, owner of the Wireless Zone in Barrington, sees every day the increased trend toward cordless, hands-free connectivity, for compliance, safety, and convenience. Bluetooth has evolved to where certain phone manufacturers (think “fruit”) have removed the headphone jack entirely. Other brands such as Samsung have focused on making Virtual Reality less virtual and more a reality, selling viewers that pair with phones to provide a dynamic viewing experience. Although the rate of increased processor speed year after year is tapering off (is the end of Moore’s Law approaching?), new devices still push for longer battery life and better quality cameras. Though large-screen TVs grow ever larger, the countertrend is that small is the new big: as smartphones replace landlines, so are smartphones and tablets replacing TVs for many, with new content apps enabling a-la-carte access to a wide range of channels, movies, games, and immersive entertainment.
Millennials on the move
Real estate agent Renée Clark shared some interesting housing market projections for 2017. Many who have waited (based on their losses in equity from the 2008 crash) are now eager to move, resulting in a surplus of homes on the market this spring, with Millennials projected to comprise 56% of first-time buyers. With new programs offering down payment grants, lower-money-down requirements, and rising interest rates, Millennials are motivated to make their move. Another 2017 trend: purchasing smaller homes with upgraded features but less space to maintain. Prices should rise by approximately 4.8% in Illinois in a strong real estate market.
Thanks to Paul Seymour and the Windy City Bulls for hosting our Trendspotters Team on the Bulls’ court at the Sears Centre Arena; to Gus T. Bull for his rim-tastic antics and enthusiasm; and to each of our talented Trendspotters for sharing their vision of what’s big, bold, and blowing our way for 2017.