DUNNING — An iconic Chicago cheesecake firm’s future retains getting sweeter.
Eli’s Cheesecake Firm, 6701 W. Forest Protect Drive, acquired a $1 million increase to construct its innovation and training heart inside its expanded manufacturing facility. The grant is a part of a $40 million group growth initiative spearheaded by town to spur financial exercise after the pandemic. The newest spherical of grant winners have been introduced final week.
The corporate broke floor over the summer season on its $9.5 million growth, including 42,000 sq. toes of manufacturing area. However what was lacking was cash to incorporate a middle to host its teaching programs and take a look at out new merchandise, stated President Marc Schulman, whose father opened Eli’s The Place For Steak in 1966 and began the Eli’s legacy.
“What we actually wished to do was to construct the innovation and training heart, however we needed to take it out of the price range,” Schulman stated. “Our growth undertaking … had gone up by over 20 p.c.”
The corporate is now dedicated to spending a further $1 million to match town’s grant, which will even go towards the middle’s additions, Schulman stated.
Due to the grant, Eli’s will quickly have the opportunity host worker teaching programs on web site on the manufacturing constructing, Schulman stated. Prior to now, the coaching and commencement ceremonies have been at different faculties or crammed into the prevailing kitchen or cafe.
Eli’s presents English as a second language lessons to its staff by way of Eli’s U, an onsite GED program administered by Wright School. It additionally works with Vaughn Occupational Excessive College and The Chicago Excessive College for Agricultural Sciences to show folks concerning the meals business and enterprise.
Having extra space means extra group partnerships like these can flourish, Schulman stated. Earlier this yr, the corporate acquired a state grant for its growth and work to create jobs.
The innovation heart will add a pilot plant for product growth and to present bakers extra space creatively and bodily, Schulman stated.
“They work out of a kitchen subsequent to the cafe, [but] it’s insufficient for what we’re doing now,” Schulman stated. “We do quite a bit, however we’re out of area. We now have the imaginative and prescient and are grateful to town. If we didn’t get the grant, who is aware of after we might have performed it?”
The constructing growth is ready to be full in late April or early Might; partitions and inside work for the innovation and the training heart will go up after that, although there is no such thing as a set timeline for its completion, Schulman stated.
The hope is the larger manufacturing facility will likely be up and operating by Might whereas the buildout of this system aspect continues, which can permit the corporate to unfold out and rent extra folks, Schulman stated.
Rising the enterprise and giving folks lasting alternatives by way of training and employment is the primary objective, Schulman stated.
“It’s actually the guts of our enterprise. … If we can not educate, innovate and practice, the manufacturing area can be considerably meaningless,” Schulman stated. “We’re very honored to be chosen by town.”
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