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  • Writer's pictureBen

Moving Up in the World

In October 2018, Imperial Reality, our landlord and owner of the building at 8001 Lincoln Ave, advised us that Statewide Insurance would be forced to uproot our office. Our office was located at Suite 100 on the 1st floor of the building. We were in this spot for more than five years after relocating from Suite 212 in the same building. Statewide Insurance has operated in downtown Skokie since its founding in 2000.

During our formative years, we were located at 8000 Lincoln Ave where a two-story storefront building once occupied that plot. Unfortunately, the 1st floor restaurant structurally damaged that building to a breaking point. We vacated our 2nd floor office and moved across the street to 8001 Lincoln in 2003. At this point, 8001 Lincoln had a flagship Bank One branch with many employees and operations on several floors of the building.

Currently, 8000 Lincoln Ave (pictured below) is being developed as a 12-story mixed use building with apartments, retail and restaurants. This development along with the current expansion of the Illinois Science & Technology Center are meant to be a catalyst for downtown Skokie's revitalization after decades of blight.

In 2004, Bank One was bought out by JP Morgan Chase and so the building became known as 'Chase Building'. During the mid-2000s, business was booming and our office served our needs well. With the Great Recession of 2008, many tenants emptied out of 'Chase Building' leaving nearly three floors of vacant space. This situation did not improve for nearly a decade as downtown Skokie struggled to comeback from the 2008 economic downturn.

By 2016, the Chase bank branch at 8001 Lincoln started making departure plans to build a new branch site one block away at 7941 Lincoln Ave by demolishing an old structure on the site and building anew. Around this time, the Skokie branch of the Illinois Department of Human Services moved their offices to 8001 Lincoln since there was ample space for their operations. Currently, they have case workers on the 4th and 6th floors of the building with a waiting room on the 1st floor.

Their waiting room on the 1st floor was next to our office at Suite 100. Sadly, the waiting room space was inadequate, therefore, there would be mass crowds in the hallways surrounding our office. Several times per day, people looking for DHS would confuse our humble insurance agency office for their organization.

The Illinois DHS made a convincing offer to Imperial Reality to buy out the adjacent space at Suite 100 to expand their waiting room and alleviate the crowding in the cramped hallways. However, this meant that Statewide Insurance Agency would need to be relocated to a different suite in the building.

Human nature tells us to fear change. To hold a tight grasp to stability. Our situation at Suite 100 in recent months was stable, but not ideal with the large DHS crowds immediately outside the office. The location was easy for our customers to find, but not always a pleasant experience for them. As we began talking about our move to Suite 715 on the 7th floor, we feared the unknown. How would people find us? Will our new suite fulfill our business needs?

After nearly six months of chatter, we finally made the move on March 31 and opened the new office to the public on Monday, April 1. The early feedback from our clients is strongly encouraging. With views of the downtown Chicago skyline, three private office spaces and a layout befitting a law firm, clients have elevated their moods being here.

In life, the only certainty is uncertainty. The only guarantees are death, taxes and change. We are defined by how we handle uncertainty, change and difficulty. Our attitude makes all the difference in whether we weather the storm or wilt in the heat. The next revolution in the world is happening before our eyes and we can't even see it yet.

Even as change is often forced upon us, there are hidden blessings and benefits abound. The new layout of our office is welcomed by clients and employees alike. The scenic views and natural sunlight are uplifting. As we move our office to the 7th floor, we plan to take Statewide to the next level this year. As one may say, we really are moving up in the world.

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