People dance during a class at DivaDance Chicago. (WTTW News)

During the day, Lexi Longsworth is a speech pathologist. By night, she runs DivaDance Chicago, a dance studio focused on building confidence and community.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

The online portal of entertainment options serves as a reminder of the opportunity for local establishments seeking a bite of the estimated $150-200 million pie the Democratic National Convention is expected to bring.

Food at Belly Bowl Asian Kitchen and Lounge in Bridgeport. (WTTW News)

The owners of Belly Bowl Asian Kitchen and Lounge experiment with different spices and flavors, offering a blend of cultures.

Jaime Romero, owner of Futurama Beauty Academy. (WTTW News)

At a cosmetology academy in Back of the Yards, Jaime Romero is using his entrepreneurial spirit to guide his students through the beauty industry. He also knows what it’s like to face obstacles because of undocumented status. 

Breaking ground at the site of Xquina Incubator & Café on Dec. 5, 2023. (Provided)

Little Village is known for its business corridor and its Latino entrepreneurship. A space coming to the heart of the neighborhood is designed to help those without access to resources kickstart a business.

A worker tends to the inventory at Plant Salon, 947 Ashland Ave., on Dec. 27, 2023. (WTTW News)

There was some good news this year. According to Mastercard Spending Pulse, retail shopping was up about 3% this holiday season compared to last year. 

(WTTW News)

Some downtown businesses are seeing a slight dip in the average amount spent per transaction during this holiday season, indicating consumers might be more sensitive to prices due to factors like record high credit card debt and interest rates, according to the Chicago Loop Alliance.

2021 Holiday Posada in Little Village. (Courtesy of Little Village Chamber of Commerce)

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, when you spend $100 at a small business, $48 stays in the community versus when you spend the same $100 at a big-box store or national retailer, only $14 stays.

WTTW News stopped by Big Mich, a family-owned company that specializes in house-made micheladas and is now making chamoy at its Willowbrook headquarters. There’s an original lime flavor, plus strawberry and mango.

Brookfield’s Galloping Ghost Arcade is home to more than 950 games. (WTTW News)

From the beckoning screens to the bleeping chiptunes, the sounds and sights of a video game arcade are unlike anything else. Those who crave that in-person experience need look no further than Brookfield’s Galloping Ghost Arcade.

Tacos from Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

When it comes to tacos, the first thing on many people’s minds is what kind of meat is going to be inside that tortilla. But these days, about 20% of Mexicans identify as vegan or vegetarian, and a growing share of America’s Latinos do as well.

Inside Rubi’s Tacos. (WTTW News)

DishRoulette Kitchen offers free classes and support to restaurant entrepreneurs. The mission is to share information about how to start, run and scale up restaurant businesses in ways that make sense for entrepreneurs.

(WTTW News)

If you’re looking for delicious ways to enjoy Latin American culture this Hispanic Heritage Month, you’ve got two weeks coming up that will fit the bill. From Oct. 6-20, participating Latino-owned restaurants throughout Chicago are offering special menus to celebrate the cuisines of Latin America.

A girl eats at Luella’s Southern Kitchen. (WTTW News)

The National Black Restaurant Weeks campaign is returning to Chicago with two full weeks of specials and events at 35 Black-owned eateries.

People make candles during a class at Above Average Candle Studio. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every facet of our lives and left many people feeling disconnected. At a North Park studio, owner and instructor Ogi Merzier-Emiabata brings people together with candle-making classes.

A team member with the Federal Emergency Management Agency speaking to a resident in Cicero, Ill., on July 26, 2023. (WTTW News)

Representatives with FEMA and the SBA are in Cook County to assist people with applying for federal grants and loans as the agencies work to open a designated recovery center in the area.