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Chicago Businesses Shine on Yelp’s Top 100 Local Companies List

Four Chicago-based businesses have been spotlighted as “local favorites” during National Small Business Week, earning a place on Yelp’s “Top 100 Local Companies” list.

Chicago Pet Sitters, Windy City Wedding Dance, Rogers Park Provisions, and Play were honored for their significant roles in shaping community identities, driving local economies, and, crucially, fostering a sense of belonging among residents, according to Yelp.

“We were thrilled,” said Amber Waggoner, manager of Windy City Wedding Dance, which was established in 2013 and has expanded to include four locations. The studio specializes in ballroom dancing, particularly for newly engaged couples. “We stay connected with our students in ways that I believe no other large studio does,” Waggoner added.

Yelp identified the businesses by first pinpointing independently operated and owned entities across various categories including automotive, beauty, books, magazines, music, videos, fitness, fashion, food, home decor, and pet care. Yelp then ranked these businesses based on several factors, including the total volume and ratings of reviews.

“I was blown away,” expressed Maclin Schweger, manager of Rogers Park Provisions. “For all the hard work we put into a place like this, it’s really nice to be recognized, especially as a small business.”

Rogers Park Provisions operates as a modern “general store” featuring locally and regionally sourced products. “Support local as much and as often as you can because it truly makes a difference. We are your neighbors. We’re here for you as much as you are here for us,” Schweger stated.

Play, another business recognized, operates four locations around the city and employs 18 people. “We try to do unique and different things that represent the city and our neighborhoods,” said owner Ann Kienzle. “Small businesses are the fabric of a community. They bring culture, diversity, character, and charm—all these elements that make a neighborhood special.”

The United States is experiencing a “small business boom,” according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA reports that since 2020, over 17 million new business applications have been filed. In Illinois alone, 42,000 applications have been submitted in 2024, with businesses starting up at a rate surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

A small business is defined as an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees, although nearly 70% have fewer than 20. “They create two-thirds of the jobs in the United States,” said Geri Aglipay, the Great Lakes Regional Administrator for the SBA. “Every small business start-up is an act of hope. It’s also a symbol of confidence in the American economy.”