As we pack up boxes and computers, build new desks, and move the office for The International Kitchen tours a block away, I thought it would be worth waxing poetic (or not) about the less glamorous parts of owning and running a tour company. The good parts are obvious: food and travel. As in, cooking, eating, and appreciating really good food, all while traveling to amazing places, whether new or old favorites. But with every business comes, well, business. And that means it’s not all about travel…. or is it?
When TIK founder Karen Herbst started The International Kitchen in 1994, she did it from a desk in her bedroom. But shortly after she started occupying space in what was then the landmark IBM building, now the landmark AMA building. The last US skyscraper to be designed by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, it is considered by many the epitome of his architectural philosophy.
Hard to move out of a building like that!
I started with The International Kitchen in 2004 and although we’ve moved a few times from one suite or one floor to another, we’ve always been in the same building. When my first son was born, I used to bring him with me to work and he would nap in the lunch room. If you look closely, you can probably still find the cheerios he dropped down the air conditioning vent in our office on the 26th floor. And when I went into labor with my second son, my husband took our eldest to the office for my colleagues to watch, and that’s where he was when his brother was born!
So yes, we will miss it.
But we couldn’t be more exited about our move to another Chicago landmark building (just a block away from our current location), the Old Republic. Constructed in 1925, it was the cutting edge of Chicago architecture, and is magnificently located on Michigan Avenue just south of the Chicago River. We love the beauty of it, the warmth of its building management team, and the private club on the top floor (with not only great views but also great food).
Let’s face it: the business side of owning a tour company is not the most glamorous: insurance, phones, merchant services, leases… ugh! I’d rather be talking about why you should go to Florence this December, or Argentina in January, or Provence in June, or India in November! But we need an office to run an office, and we’d love to show it to you if you happen to be in Chicago!
So please wish us luck with our move, have patience if our response time to email and phone messages is a bit slower this weekend, and stop by to check out the new office if you have the chance!
By Peg Kern
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