• 2018 Spotlight Award Winners!

    Congratulations to our 3rd Annual 2018 Business Spotlight Award winners and finalists for being recognized for your extraordinary skill and service!


    200+ of our community's small business, non-profit and government leaders gathered together on 10/9/2018, to celebrate and recognize this group for our 3rd Annual Business Spotlight Awards, and to enjoy the generous hospitality of our hosts, the Nineteenth Century Club and Oak Park Banquets.


    2018 Business Spotlight Award Winners:


    Community Character - Escape Factor

    Customer Experience - Lively Athletics

    Excellent Eats - Spilt Milk

    Local Legend - Hephizbah Children's Association

    New & Notable - L!VE Cafe

    Small Business Superhero - Distinctive Coaching For Business Success


  • 2018 Spotlight Awards Highlights & Winners Announced (Credit: Griffin & Stebbing)
  • Wednesday Journal Answer Book - 2017 Winner Highlights Wednesday Journal Answer Book - 2017 Winner Highlights

  • Thank YOU To Griffin & Stebbing! Thank YOU To Griffin & Stebbing!

    Spotlight Award film credit to:


    What are the Spotlight Awards? The Annual Business Spotlight Awards recognizes and celebrates businesses and community organizations across six categories of leadership. The program is open to all businesses in the Oak Park, River Forest and surrounding communities. In 2018, the public submitted more than 600 nominations for nearly 200 nominees, nearly double 2017. Category winners receive laudatory press and complimentary marketing, as well as a one-year free membership to the OPRF Chamber. Hundreds of Chamber and community members attend the annual Business Spotlight Awards Ceremony + Cocktail Party every year on the 2nd Tuesday in October at the elegant Nineteenth Century Club in Oak Park. Save the date for our 4th Annual Business Spotlight Awards Party - Tuesday, October 8. Nominations for 2019 Spotlight Awards open to the public on May 15, 2019.

    How are the finalists & winners determined? A 14-person volunteer judging panel scores nominations and nominee acceptances across a 26 point rating scale, carefully assessing content, quality and quantity (lightest weighting) of nominations and nominee acceptance responses (heaviest weighting), to determine 10 finalists in each of the six Spotlight Award award categories. Winners are selected through an additional screening process, involving 4 independent judges per category.

    Can I be a marketing partner for this event in 2019? View our 2018 marketing partner brochure here for more information on why linking your business to this event elevates your brand. Contact us to learn more. 

  • Business Spotlight Award Finalists

  • 2018 Spotlight Awards Photo Highlights

    Business Spotlight Award Categories


     Community Character

    This is a business or organization reflective of our community - unique, creative, smart, one-of-a-kind, supportive, fun, successful. The kind that epitomizes the spirit of who we are.

     Customer Experience

    This is a business or organization you want to tell your friends about. Staff here have a knack for doing everything right, making you feel like the most important customer in the world. Sure, it's customer service - but it is more than a one-off. It's the kind of endearing, over-the-top experience you don't forget - the kind sustained over the long haul. You’re thrilled you patronized the business and hopeful others will do too.

     Excellent Eats

    It’s the local eatery you’re dying to take out-of-town visitors. The environment is perfect, the food is delectable, and the staff/servers are excellent. This award recognizes the union of taste and atmosphere. This business represents the pinnacle of great food, served local.

      Local Legend

    This is a heritage business or organization that captures the heart of our community and has the ultimate generational staying power. A business that has become a part of the scenery - deeply intertwined with how we see ourselves. Think of it as a Lifetime Achievement Award for a local business that’s a permanent fixture and deserves the recognition.

     New & Notable

    This award recognizes one of the best new additions to the neighborhood. The winner of this award opened their doors in 2017/2018 and we’re ALL excited to have them around. It’s a business or organization that fills a gap we didn’t know existed with new products, services and/or experiences. It’s the kind of place that already seems like part of our community. One that so seamlessly fits, it seems like they’ve been here for forever.

     Small Business Superhero

    An individual or small business with service or products that has truly stepped in to save your day. Perhaps it was a plumber in the middle of the night, a birthday cake emergency, a realtor who went the distance, a genius bookkeeper or a caterer who made you look like a superstar. Whatever the service or product - your day - no, your whole week was made better because this business swooped in to save the day.