A Great View of Chicago and a Shout Out to One of Its Entrepreneurs

Chicago's Cloud Gate (bean) at Millenium Park

Chicago is a great city. It’s got grit and flash. Regardless of the fact that the US Census lists Los Angeles as the second most populace city in the US, I consider Chicago the “second” city. After all, is Los Angeles really a city?

Of course, I get a bit of a distorted perspective of Chicago since I stay with my sister-and-brother in law at the Trump Tower whenever I visit. I guess most any city would look pretty cool  from a 56th floor penthouse view. Down below, however, boast some of the best museums in the world (I visited the Field Museum and the Chicago Art Museum this trip), a world famous shopping district (Michigan Avenue’s magnificent mile) and the bars of Rush Street.

Of course, no city would rate very high on my list without world-class eateries. Chicago is known for its ethnic neighborhoods with their authentic restaurants. I tried a Jewish deli (Manny’s), a Brazilian Steak House (Brazzaz), a Greek Restaurant (Parthenon), and Shaw’s Crab House for Easter brunch. Yup, I was full and happy all the time.

While I’m bragging anyways, let me tell you about one of my favorite entrepreneurs — my brother-in-law Chris Nam. I have

Chris (right) with help from his brother James built a successful business

tremendous respect for him. He started a car dealership more than 20 years ago without signing on with any of the auto manufacturers. He worked six days a week, 12-hours a day and built a great business. His success was built on integrity, customer service and sustainability. The business has endured through the recent difficult times while other dealerships with more capital and name recognition have gone out of business.

I’ve been involved in various technology-related startups where ideas sometimes is more important than good old-fashion sustained hard work. Retail businesses are tough businesses, but have great rewards for those who put in the effort and manage their companies effectively.

There was no IPO nor any liquidity event. There was no venture funding. But there remain a great cash business to this day. I salute all small retail businesses, especially Chris Nam’s Pro Auto Dealership.

View from Trump Tower's 56th floor
Manny's deli
Chicago's Manny's Deli