Edgeville Buzz

5 Questions: Jessica Hammer, Andersonville Chamber Of Commerce

Meet Jessica Hammer. Marketing & Member Services Manager, Andersonville Chamber Of Commerce

Jessica Hammer, Andersonville Chamber Of Commerce

Jessica Hammer, Andersonville Chamber Of Commerce

Jessica grew up near South Haven, MI, where her family owns a second-going-on-third generation family blueberry farm. She graduated from Hope College, in Holland, MI, majoring in English with minors in history and theatre. Her specialty was costume design and she worked in the college costume shop all 4 years of school, as well as designed costumes for theatre and dance productions (and no, she will not hem your pants). Jessica met her husband, Peter, at Hope and they moved to Chicago after graduation to enjoy city living and further his dance career (he dances with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project). They live in Rogers Park with their cat. Jessica loves sewing clothes for herself, reading (preferably at the beach or in the bathtub), doing home improvement projects, traveling, eating, and watching Bollywood movies. She started running 4 months ago because she decided she needed to get her butt in gear before I turned 30, and can now run almost 5 miles. One of the items on her bucket list is to spend a month traveling in India and be an extra in a Bollywood film.

1. Who is your biggest role model and why?

My family is my biggest role model. I grew up in a family business and seeing my grandfather, my parents, and my uncles and aunts work together and build strong and trusting family and work relationships is a big source of inspiration. They really live out their values in their work – by being good employers, supporting their community, and mentoring the next generation. They gave me great examples of how to disagree respectfully and how to work hard at something you love – and still have fun together, too.


2. If you had a chance to raise money for a charity tomorrow, what would it be and why?

Care for Real, Edgewater’s food pantry. They do amazing work in the community – providing needed food, clothing, and other resources for neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet. They even have a pet food pantry, so that people don’t have to make the choice to give up the companionship of a pet so they can continue to feed themselves. One easy way to support Care for Real is through Pack the Car, an effort organized by two Andersonville neighbors, to provide a one-a-month drop-off point in Andersonville for donations (www.packthecar.org)


3. Have you noticed Andersonville rallying around a specific cause that seems to stand out in your mind?

In Andersonville, the support for local businesses is amazing. I think people go out of their way to try to support the local businesses here because they realize what a difference they make in keeping Andersonville unique and special. These are the businesses that support local charities, employ local residents, patronize other local businesses, and generally contribute to the health of their community.


4.What three qualities do you think set Andersonville businesses apart from other neighborhoods in Chicago?

I don’t work with businesses in other neighborhoods, so I can’t speak for those – but the 3 qualities that I love best about our Andersonville businesses are:

1. Philanthropy –Businesses in Andersonville care deeply about causes in the community and support them in many different ways.

2. Community spirit – If our businesses see that something is good for the neighborhood, they don’t hesitate to support it. They are great at working together to support our vision for the neighborhood. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that many business owners also live in or near Andersonville.

3. Inclusiveness – The one thing I love most about Andersonville is that anyone can be comfortable here. I hang out here with my friends, but my grandparents and parents also love visiting. There is truly something for everyone to love. The wide variety of unique, local businesses (and all of the different business owners) really contributes to this feeling.


5. Has the Andersonville Chamber have any new plans in store for 2014?

We’re already working hard on many of the great events that you know and love – Midsommarfest, the Andersonville Farmers Market, and more. One exciting thing is that we’re planning on opening the farmers market two weeks earlier than usual (May 21st), so you’ll be able to get fresh local produce and delicious baked goods even sooner!

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