This morning I woke up and went on a long run. I love running through the city streets, especially in the early morning when everyone is on the move. I know the lakefront is beautiful and calming, but I get my energy and ideas from running past all of the people hustling around.

The city has been hit by a triple whammy over the past 12 months.

First, the CPS school strike caused an enormous hassle and broke confidence in a system so many of our families rely on.

Then Covid hit, and so many of the great reasons we live in the city went away overnight. No more Hawks, Bulls, Bears, Sox or Cubs games; restaurants shuttered; the theatre and opera canceled; our world class museums closed; beaches shut down; and social gatherings halted or dramatically changed. And who cares about the convenience of getting to work when you are working in your pajamas all day!

And then came the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protests, which I personally support, were peaceful and effective. But the looting in May injected a ton of fear into the city. And now we have the aftermath of a second looting spree last Sunday.

After all of this, I understand how some may visualize a better life outside of the city. But I also know that no crisis in the city’s 183-year history, from the Great Fire on down, has ever been bigger than the collective heart, mind and will of the people of Chicago. In fact, I would argue that every major challenge our city has ever faced has made Chicago better, stronger and more vibrant. The resilience, the optimism, the hope, the pride…it has become a part of our DNA.

So sure, you are going to have some people move out of the city after the recent events put them over the edge. But this is a moment in time, a snapshot of people’s reactions to our latest challenges. And this moment…this crazy year of 2020…will not define our city’s fortunes.

As for the suburbs, I love them. I love driving up Sheridan Road to my favorite coffee shop in Glencoe or getting lunch along the river in downtown Naperville, feeling the warmth of Elmhurst and the energy of Arlington Heights. But remember that every great suburb has a great city behind it, and the fortunes of one are inextricably linked to the other. Chicago must thrive for our suburbs to thrive.

So now comes your job. How do you guide your clients through the trials and tribulations of a market hit that has brought fear and uncertainty from multiple angles? How do you get clients to see past this moment and get comfortable if not downright excited to go find their next home – wherever it is?

The best advice I can give you is to listen closely, empathize and, as I like to say, “Respond. Don’t react.” The bigger the moment for your client, the more thoughtful and measured your response should be. We will all be better served if we focus on a thoughtful and measured response in this moment in time vs reacting incident by incident, headline by headline, and social media post by social media post.

And, in times like these, when it seems we are tested anew every day, remember the word that has come to define our culture more than any other. “Love” is not just a font or a marketing slogan. It is…well…it is everything. Work with love, talk with love, think with love, respond with love, spread love. I believe that people who approach each day with this attitude are generally more likely to find health, happiness, peace, and success. (I am not a revolutionary thinker in this regard 😊).

Finally, know that whether you are in the suburbs or the city, whether your business is up or down, whether you are apprehensive about the future or running headlong into it, we are here for you! We are here to face this moment with the resolve, the strength and the love that defines @properties and defines Chicago.


Thad Wong

Founder of @properties