May 23, 2023
Celebrating Small Businesses in Lake Forest, IL


As a shared workspace in the Lake Forest area, LifeWorking is honored to assist area small businesses in taking their first — or continued — steps to success. A small business is a privately owned and operated business with fewer than 500 employees, or even up to 1,500, depending on where you look for definitions. These companies are often owned and managed by individuals who have a passion for the industry they serve, providing high-quality goods or services to local customers, and perhaps specializing in a particular product or service. Small businesses are often the backbone of their local economies, providing jobs and contributing to their communities in various ways.

Lake Forest is home to over 1,200 businesses that range from small shops to larger enterprises. With five distinct business districts — Central, Sunset Corners, Forest Square, Conway Park, and Historic Market Square — the area offers plenty of space for small businesses to get started and grow. In this article, we’ll touch on a few businesses that are contributing their talent to our community.

Three Small Businesses in Lake Forest That Deserve Your Attention

Small businesses contribute to the overall economic health of a region by circulating money within the local economy. Additionally, small businesses often pay more taxes than larger corporations, which helps fund public services such as schools, libraries, and parks. In short, small businesses play an important role in helping to ensure that local economies remain strong and prosperous. Here are three of our favorite small businesses in the Lake Forest, IL area:

The Lake Forest Book Store

One of the most successful women-owned small businesses in the area, the Lake Forest Book Store opened its doors in 1949 and was operated initially by a group of twelve women. It has maintained a brick-and-mortar presence on Western Avenue during that time and has grown its selling space from a modest 650 square feet to its present size of 2550 square feet. The space is packed full of books of every kind — from the latest bestsellers to hard-to-find indie authors. Their staff is made up of a group of local women who are dedicated to helping book-loving customers find just the right reading material to suit their needs.

The Mustard Seed

The Mustard Seed, a shop on Westminster Avenue that focuses on bringing fair-trade goods to the local area, was founded by owner Jackie Renwick in 2009 to make a difference both at home and abroad. She sourced clothing, jewelry, home goods, and other beautiful items from artisans in developing countries to help change lives while bringing unique and special items to the local area. In 2012, she turned the store over to Judy Kohl, who has a personal connection with organizations the store works with and donates to. Importantly, all the Mustard Seed’s friendly staff members are volunteers, and they come from surrounding communities to support this special small business that is so focused on giving back. All Mustard Seed profits are donated to organizations domestically and internationally that help empower both women and children, so an all-volunteer staff helps them make an even greater impact.


If you want high-quality chocolate with a local flavor, look no further than Sweet’s on the corner of Deerpath and Bank Lane. In the elegantly appointed store, you’ll find reminiscences of their homespun origins — the original copper candy kettle that owners Susan and Jonathan Dick used to create their delicious chocolate candies when the store first opened in 1982. After nearly a half of a century in operation, Sweet’s chocolates have become a must-have for chocolate lovers and gift-givers alike, with gift orders frequently shipping to all 50 states and many corporate customers relying on the sweet treats for corporate giving and events.

How LifeWorking Helps Support Local Small Businesses

At LifeWorking, we have a heart for small businesses, which is why we have made a serious commitment to helping them thrive. Through our Community Innovation Collaborative (CIC) Business Incubator, we provide mentorship, advisory, and capital resources for Lake Forest small business owners by tapping into the talent and tools provided by our collaboration with like-minded community partners. Through the CIC, we can help you create — and refine — your business ideas; help provide new opportunities, especially for underserved communities and businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans; and provide financing options ranging from micro funding to corporate sponsorships.

Finally, our flexible workspaces provide everything your small business needs to get started, without having to commit to expensive office rentals or commercial real estate purchases. Our facilities include state-of-the-art technology to keep you connected and smartly designed spaces for all your needs — individual offices, creative studios, team rooms, collaboration spaces, and conference areas. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, we offer spaces and networking events that help you connect with other local entrepreneurs, build strong relationships, and gain the support you need to help your business thrive.

Looking for cost-effective ways to grow your small business? Just book a tour today to see how our leading-edge workspaces can help, or check out our CIC page to get more information on how our innovative business incubator can contribute to the success of your small enterprise.



A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Creating a Group of...

April 26, 2023

How Outdoor Time Benefits Your Team AND Your Bu...

March 29, 2023

Step Outside the Office to Achieve Better Resul...

February 27, 2023