A Peek into the Coleman Center Community

Our team knows that one of my favorite things to do is share stories of the exciting things that happen in the Coleman Center community. As a result of our programs and activities, a steadily growing number of students, alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, and other professionals have formed relationships, done deals, and helped one another’s ventures.

I take great pride in seeing these developments occur since they help validate the efforts we make in building a community. If you’re not yet engaged with us, there’s a host of opportunities to do that. Just click “Join” at the top of this page and explore the possibilities, or simply reach out and ask us how we can be of help.

In the meantime, enjoy this sample of recent exciting things that have taken place in the Coleman Center community.

  • Busy Beaver Buttons recently launched a new product line – the world’s first gold-plated buttons. They did this in partnership with manufacturer Precision Plating Company, co-owned by Gary Belmonti. Gary serves on the Coleman Center’s Advisory Council with Alex White, Busy Beaver’s Operations Manager and a DePaul alumnus. Two side notes: 1. Busy Beaver is having a grand opening on Saturday, August 8 for its new, eco-friendly location at 3279 W. Armitage Ave. 2. Christen Carter, its co-owner, is also a member of our Grow Peer Roundtable.
  • Cause Strategy, owned by Jeff Leitner, recently partnered with Manifest Digital, co-owned by Jim Jacoby, on a new venture. They were introduced to one another by Al Herbach, who serves on the Coleman Center Advisory Council, is a mentor to our student-entrepreneurs, and is a DePaul alum. Jeff is a Coleman Center client and has been instrumental in our strategic planning efforts, and Jim is an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. Incidentally, Jeff and Jim also recently partnered with Alla Ioffe, a former student of mine and DePaul alumnus, who is owner of Pallandrome.
  • Food for Thought Enterprises, one of Chicago’s biggest food service and catering firms, just signed an agreement to bring Smashburger to Chicago. A fast-casual, “better burger” restaurant concept, Smashburger’s local rollout will be led by Food for Thought’s President, Brian Rosen, a DePaul alumnus. Brian met Nancy Sharp, owner and CEO of Food for Thought, through the Coleman Center last year. Nancy has been on the Center’s Advisory Council for five years, having had a significant impact on our growth.
  • Weave the People, owned by Paul Caswell, recently occupied office space at Sandbox Industries, a local incubator. Paul met Nick Rosa, a Sandbox founder and DePaul alumnus, at a Coleman Center event held at Marbles (a Sandbox venture) and then took the initiative to visit the Sandbox offices. Paul mentioned to me recently that having an office outside the home has had a dramatic impact on his start-up’s progress. Both firms are members of the Coleman Center.

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