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Northern Illinois Franchise Association hosts quarterly events.

Northern Illinois Franchise Association Welcomes Culver’s Franchisee Baron Waller

At the Northern Illinois Franchise Association’s (NIFA) Q1 event, attendees had the privilege of hearing from Baron Waller, a multi-unit Culver’s franchisee in Chicago.

The event kicked off with lively networking among Chicago’s leading franchise industry professionals, all while enjoying some of Culver’s iconic menu offerings: the butter burger, cheese curds, and more. The event was hosted at Baron’s new Culver’s restaurant in Wrigleyville, just steps from iconic Wrigley Field, which promises to be a hotspot on game days.

Baron shared personal stories and insights from his franchising journey, reflecting on his upbringing with a single mom on Chicago’s west side. From his early days as a computer analyst at Crain Communications and putting himself through college as well as the University of Michigan MBA program, to his eventual success in franchising, Baron’s story resonated with aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike.

Northern Illinois Franchise Association Q1 lunch

A standout moment in Baron’s speech was when he reminisced about his decision to franchise with Culver’s. Despite facing initial financial and Chicago city hurdles, Baron’s unwavering determination and strategic approach paved the way for him to fulfill his dream of becoming a Culver’s franchisee, a true testament to the power of persistence. He now operates eight restaurants throughout Chicago and two in Southern Florida and was the first to introduce the famous Wisconsin brand to the Windy City.

Throughout the event, Baron emphasized the importance of community engagement and building strong relationships with key stakeholders, as evidenced by the success of his first location in the Bronzeville neighborhood. His commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment within his restaurants underscored Culver’s core values of hospitality and genuine care for every guest.

NIFA extends its heartfelt thanks to Baron Waller for sharing his insights with us. Special appreciation goes to Randi Blume, Vice President of Franchise Finance at BMO Harris Bank, for her instrumental role in connecting us with Baron for this event. We want to inspire others to follow Randi’s example and foster meaningful connections within our community. Additionally, we extend our gratitude to our sponsor, Robert Bernstein of Laner Muchin, for his invaluable support.

Looking ahead, NIFA has exciting plans for upcoming events on June 6th, September 19th and November 7th. If you are interested in sponsoring an event or have a topic suggestion, please reach out to Lauren Izaks. Your support and ideas are highly valued.

For more information about our organization and to stay updated, join our LinkedIn group.


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