Business of the Year – Arlington Park International Racecourse

The Arlington Park Racetrack (now known as the Arlington International Racecourse) has been the crown jewel of the Village of Arlington Heights since 1927. For more than 90 years, the 500-acre-plus racetrack has drawn thoroughbreds, visitors, acclaim and sales tax revenue to the community and since 1989, when the new white clubhouse was completed, it has also been an eye-catching place of beauty for visitors and local residents alike.

Improvements to the historic property have been fast and furious as Arlington Park has endeavored to remain one of the best and most popular racetracks in the country and this year it was named Business of the Year by the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.

The racetrack’s fourth owner, Richard Duchossois, initiated the famous Arlington Million turf race (along with the Beverly D. Stakes and the Secretariat Stakes races on the same day each August) in 1981; opened the classic white grandstand in 1989; and merged with Churchill Downs Inc. in 2000. The current ownership – of which Duchossois remains a major shareholder – installed a synthetic track in 2007.

Each May-September racing season, horses race approximately 71 days. On five of those days, special celebrations are held including the Kentucky Derby Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, an Independence Day fireworks event (July 1 this year) and the International Festival of Racing (better known as Arlington Million Day) scheduled for Aug. 11, 2018.

“We generally attract a crowd of over 25,000 racing fans on each of those special days,” said Howard Sudberry, senior director of marketing and communications. “But throughout the year, our attendance is consistently excellent. We draw as well or better than any other racecourse in the country.”

The Arlington Park marketing team, under Sudberry’s direction, is constantly working to bring in new and different themed events to entertain and attract those crowds.

“Arlington Park is an entertainment facility – not just a racetrack. We attract people who really enjoy the music, great food and themed events, as well as put a few bucks down on a horse and watch them cross the wire,” Sudberry said. “We also host hundreds of group outings, private parties and even business meetings, followed by an afternoon of racing.”

In addition, the track welcomes special events of all kinds throughout the off-season including an annual pet show, the Ride and Drive car manufacturers’ show, the Lamb’s Farm Annual Craft Show in early December, a wine tasting event with Binny’s and even a huge free annual Easter egg hunt in the paddock.

“But we still need the State of Illinois to help us by allowing alternate forms of gaming here like they have in Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New York. That is the only way that we will be able to bolster our racing purses and attract the best owners and trainers to Arlington Park. We have a stellar reputation in the racing world and everyone loves to race here, but we need higher purses and the only way that will happen is if they allow us to also offer casino gambling at Arlington Park,” Sudberry said. “We believe that one day it will happen.”

Jon Ridler, executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, has nothing but praise for the Arlington International Racecourse.

“Arlington International Racecourse has adapted to the challenges of their industry very well,” he said. “They are providing more family entertainment options and getting our businesses in front of those consumers who help small businesses succeed. They continue to be a great partner to the Arlington Heights Chamber and the Arlington Heights community.”

Emerging Business — Nothing Bundt Cakes

Celebrations are a year-round occurrence from engagement parties and anniversaries, to baby showers, birthdays, graduations and, of course, holidays. Nothing Bundt Cakes at Randhurst Village provides guests with one-of-a-kind desserts to make any occasion more memorable.

It is the perfect place to pick up a delicious treat for yourself, a gift for someone special or a hand-decorated Bundt cake to wow a crowd. Also think of Nothing Bundt Cakes when there’s a company event approaching or even an afternoon meeting. The confections make a thoughtful thank you for clients and employees, too.

“Nothing Bundt Cakes caters to corporate clients by putting a little pleasure in their business,” said Cindy Adams, franchisee of the Mount Prospect bakery.

Every bite-sized Bundtini, miniature Bundtlet and sharable Bundt cake is freshly baked daily and crowned with the brand’s signature cream cheese frosting. With nine classic flavors and a seasonal featured flavor to choose from, along with over 40 festive
hand-crafted designs, customers will find the perfect Bundt cake for
any occasion.

“We’ve learned that Bundt cakes hold a special place in the heart of consumers across the nation, as many folks can remember a loved one baking a special Bundt cake just for them,” said Debbie Shwetz, one of the franchise’s founders. She and her partner, Dena Tripp, decided there would be no compromise on any ingredients to achieve the flawless Bundt cake: fresh eggs, real butter and cream cheese, among the top-notch elements. The result of this dedication shows up in every decadently, delicious bite, and Adams follows through on that dedication daily in her local shop.

“Our bakeries are superior in customer service,” Adams said, “and we want everyone to feel welcome and know that they are more than a customer. They are our guest. So, come on by the Mount Prospect location at 1071 N. Elmhurst Rd. for the warmth and nostalgia of a ‘mom & pop shop’.”

Nothing Bundt Cakes is very big on community involvement, which explains why they were chosen as the 2018 Emerging Business of the Year at the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner.

“Supporting area nonprofits and area Chambers is very important to us,” Adams said. Coming from a nonprofit background, I put great emphasis on connecting with and giving back to my community. Recently we raised $7,200 for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. We have partnered with Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Arlington Cares, Clearbrook, the Buddy Foundation, American Legion, Merle-Guild Post 208, National Night Out and the Chamber, just to name a few.”

“Cindy Adams is a great example of a small business owner successfully working on her business and not just in her business,” said Jon Ridler, executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce. “She connects her passion to each customer by inviting them in as a friend to enjoy her delicious Bundt cakes. Her dedication to excellence in her business challenges other business owners she connects with to strive towards their own success.”