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Inside Crystal Lake's Small-Business And Development Boom

Woman shopping at Wear Did U Get That women's clothing store in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Crystal Lake, an Illinois community situated 35 miles from Chicago’s O'Hare Airport, is a town committed to growth, particularly in its small-business community. It is this commitment — paired with its dedication to providing a high quality of life for its residents — that has made it a hotspot for development in Chicagoland.

Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian said that Crystal Lake has been drawing in several businesses along the Northwest Highway commercial corridor, including Orangetheory, McAlister’s Deli, Crumbl Cookies, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Guzman Y Gomez, Summer Moon and EDGE, among others.

While residents and tourists may enjoy the familiar presence of these large retailers, Haleblian attributes the community’s success to its small local businesses, which maintain a 99% occupancy rate in the downtown area.

“Businesses that open in Crystal Lake continue to choose this community time after time,” Haleblian said.

Mike Shipley, owner of Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Conscious Cup, a local Crystal Lake retailer, started as a small coffee shop in 2006. Today, owner Mike Shipley said that he is in the process of expanding the business by building a new headquarters, roasting facility and warehouse in the community. 

“We decided to locate and grow in Crystal Lake because it’s such an outstanding community,” Shipley said. 

Crystal Lake Economic Development Manager Heather Maieritsch said that in 2021, Crystal Lake saw $1.3B in retail sales, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue. This strong figure earned the community a spot on the list of the top 20 cities for retail sales in the Chicago metro area.

Drone image of Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

The presence of local businesses in the community has led to the creation of new jobs as well as key infrastructure and housing expansions. Mercyhealth Hospital, located along Route 31, is set to open a $105M hospital and multispecialty medical campus in summer 2023, which will help bring even more jobs to the area.

“The abundance of job opportunities and density of restaurants and retailers support a growing community,” Maieritsch said. “Crystal Lake focuses on creating and maintaining a strong partnership between the city and its business community, which has fostered an environment of success.”

The Springs apartment complex in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

She said the area’s housing market is also booming, with more than 1,000 new housing units currently under development. The Springs recently finished building a 280-unit luxury apartment complex and Woodlore Estates, spearheaded by development company Lennar, is in the process of completing a 500-unit subdivision. 

Other new development projects in the area include Redwood, a rental townhome community of 304 units of ranch-style homes, and Enclave, a luxury apartment and townhome complex consisting of 99 units and positioned in Downtown Crystal Lake. Working together to build Enclave are commercial real estate developer and property manager Hamilton Partners and CRE developer Harlem Irving. 

Crystal Lake was recognized by Livability as one of the best communities to live in for offering an affordable lifestyle near Chicago. 

“Having an abundance of housing choices for residents is essential for growth,” Haleblian said.

Earlier this year, he added, the city earned the Standard & Poor’s Global AAA rating, for its smart financial planning and performance.

“From small business to national retailers and restaurants, Crystal Lake is seeing abundant opportunities and success across the board,” Maieritsch said. “The market in Crystal Lake is booming and the quality of life is thriving, which makes Crystal Lake the clear leader.”

To discover upcoming developments and available opportunities visit

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and the city of Crystal Lake. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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