Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



BUSINESS 2aboutChicago helps clients' lives go smoothly
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman

This article shared 5002 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Travis Miller and Tony Gilgenbach knew the project must go flawlessly, even though it was happening in Fiji.

Miller and Gilgenbach are the co-founders of 2aboutChicago—a personal concierge service and lifestyle-management company—and, in June, they were asked to plan almost every detail of the vacation for a Chicago couple to the South Pacific island. The two were responsible for arranging the couple's air transportation, their hotel accommodations and even a candle-light dinner on the beach.

Oh yeah, and there was also a ring to be part of the dessert—for a wedding proposal.

"It was a huge success," Gilgenbach said. "Now it looks like we'll be helping with the wedding coordination."

2aboutChicago is a time-management company that caters to, well, every possible need. The pair offers personal services, including pet services, estate planning, travel coordination, shopping assistance, entertainment, event planning and business services.

"Our capabilities begin and end with your imagination," Gilgenbach said. "Our service is for anyone who doesn't have enough time in their day to enjoy the life they deserve. People are so overwhelmed in their day-to-day life, whether it's from their job, family, household and pet obligations to day-to-day errands and travel planning that we offer people a way to help balance their life and take on tasks that [ keep them ] from enjoying their lives."

Miller, 38, has lived in Arizona, Washington and California. He has been in Chicago for the past 13 years. Gilgenbach, 32, is from Wisconsin and moved to Chicago about six years ago from San Francisco. Both are single and live in Andersonville.

"The concept for 2aboutChicago came about when I lived in San Francisco and started working in the [ personal assistant ] PA/concierge services industry," Gilgenbach said. "After moving to Chicago, Travis and I became friends, discussed the concept—further realizing that everyone is busy at some point in their day, week or month, and just thought how great it would be to make these services available to people who don't need full time staff.

"The best analogy for the concept is it's like a fractional jet [ airplane ] contract, but instead of buying a jet by the hour, you get a PA by the hour. We further expanded the concept to include staffing for people who can afford to staff their households."

Miller is the director of client services; Gilgenbach is the director of operations.

"I'd say our biggest surprise is the lack of good customer service out there," Miller said. "When looking to start our business, we reached out to different places to help with certain aspects of the business, [ such as ] office set-up, public relations and facility-rental options for our launch party. There were times [ when ] people would not call back or return e-mails. I was shocked; I would think, in this economy, that people would be hungry for any kind of business and would jump at the opportunity for revenue. Luckily we eventually found the right people to help us accomplish our goals as we worked to set-up and launch our business."

But starting a personal concierge service in 2010?

"Starting a company from scratch is very rewarding once all of the initial work is done, [ such as ] creation of the brand, website and other items like brochures, business cards, etc.," Miller said. "To see it all come together is very exciting and quite a feeling of accomplishment. With all of that, there is a lot of learning, some [ by ] trial and error, of course stress, worry and fear, too. But there is also a lot of anticipation, fun and excitement. It has been a great bonding experience. It's definitely a lot more work than expected."

2aboutChicago's list of "things we do and offer" is ever-expanding and nearly endless—from bar/bat mitzvah planning to arranging private cooking classes to assistance with relocation to, well, you name it.

"Marketing our company is challenging since this is a very niche business," Miller said. "As we've all heard the traditional ways to market your business, such as print media, aren't always as powerful as they once were. So we've begun to look at alternative ways to market our business, from networking events to the creation of a new blog that will offer tips and more, as well as expanding our use of social networking like Twitter and Facebook.

Miller has a background in advertising account management and product planning for some of the largest brands in the country, including Sprint, United Airlines and Kellogg's.

Miller is an experienced, savvy traveler, which certainly helps with his current job. He graduated with a degree in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. He worked for United, where he played a key role in the internal communications for high-end, onboard champagne-service implementation in the United Kingdom and Asia markets, among other things.

Gilgenbach is a veteran in the personal concierge industry—for the past decade, he has organized the lives of some of the most influential families and executives in Chicago and San Francisco. In addition to handling entire estate operations such as staffing, security detail, private party planning, correspondence management, and vehicle maintenance, he has been entrusted with supervising insurance policies for fine jewelry and became a certified Real Estate Personal Assistant to oversee multimillion dollar real estate transactions in the Chicago area.

Gilgenbach has a Rolodex loaded with high-profile names and numbers. A graduate of Drake University, Gilgenbach has been the personal assistant to Juanita Jordan, former wife of Michael Jordan, for almost six years.

"The most challenging requests are those we receive [ at the ] very last minute," Gilgenbach said. "Some of our clients call want last-minute dinner reservations or last-minute hotel reservations at the finest restaurants and hotels. We do our best and get them taken care of. We never go back to a client saying 'No.' If Plan A falls through, then we will have Plan B and Plan C already in place."

Also, 2aboutChicago has expanded its pet care and management services this summer—due to demand.

"2aboutChicago can walk your pet, transport it to day care, the groomers, the boarding facility etc.," Miller said. "We decided to enhance the visibility of this service by adding a call out in our brochure and hiring someone [ in July ] to help market that section of our business.

"Pets are a huge part of many people's lives in Chicago and we felt that this needed more prominence in our business, so people can see that we can be a one-stop shop in the management of their lives. All of their needs can be [ fulfilled ] under one umbrella."

Both Miller and Gilgenbach have long-term goals for 2aboutChicago, and eventually want to expand into new markets.

"In five years, we hope to have an established client base in Chicago with strong ties to local businesses," Gilgenbach said.

Miller added, "The most popular aspects of 2aboutChicago are the attention to detail, ease of making requests on line and the excellent customer service and follow-up."

Miller has extensive international traveling experience, dating back to a journey with his mom to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul when he was 13.

"That trip was amazing as it really opened my eyes to the world around me," Miller said. "I have worked for United, United Express, DraftFCB and Euro RSCG. These various [ jobs ] each required exceptional customer service skills, ability to work under pressure, strong organizational and project management skills as well as the ability to multitask numerous projects and situations.

"Personal concierge services and lifestyle management are terms that can be synonymous with each other. Lifestyle management is the broader term of what our company encompasses and basically what it says, it helps in the management of your life so that you can have the free time to enjoy the lifestyle you work so hard to achieve. Personal concierge services fall within lifestyle management and this is where we can handle things as complex as a yacht vacation from St. Tropez to Capri, or something as simple as your weekend trip to Los Angeles. This also entails things like basic event planning and coordination, restaurant reservations, personal shopping, errands etc."

Gilgenbach added, "We have fun by traveling whenever we can, trying new restaurants, researching different dream vacations, enjoying the lake in Chicago or the beach and enjoying our friends and family."

Now they want to share that fun with Chicagoans.

See .

This article shared 5002 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

PASSAGES Writer, attorney, activist Takeia R. Johnson 2021-07-25
- The local organization Affinity Community Services announced the recent passing of Takeia R. Johnson. According to Johnson's LinkedIn profile, she was editor-in-chief and lead writer at Inclusion at Work as well as a Ph.D. student focusing ...

Gay News

SAVOR Talking with new Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai; Profile of Travelle's breakfast 2021-06-09
- Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai Travelle at the Langham (330 N Wabash Ave.; has undergone a major change during the COVID pandemic: New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai was promoted from sous ...

Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor' 2021-02-17
- In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...

Gay News

Booksellers launch "Boxed Out" campaign, a look at consumer choices 2020-10-22
--From a press release - (New York, New York) 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing. Today, theAmerican Booksellers Association launched the "Boxed Out" campaign to draw attention to the high stakes indie bookstores face this ...

Gay News

Author/academic John D'Emilio on new book, future endeavors 2020-10-01
- Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives is a new book by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives President and University of Illinois at Chicago History and Women's and Gender Studies Professor Emeritus John ...

Gay News

Out Illinois State coach dives into new position 2020-09-16
- Logan Pearsall, an accomplished college diver who has since transitioned into master's level diving, was competing at the 2017 FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He was doing a challenging inward dive from a one-meter ...

Gay News

Joseph Baar Topinka preserves legacy of mother: Pro-gay Republican Judy 2020-09-02
- Riverside resident Joseph Baar Topinka is still impressed with the resolve and stamina with which his late mother, longtime GOP politician Judy Baar Topinka, was able to "slug it out" in the political arena. "She got ...

Gay News

'Making Sweet Tea': Out NU dean talks about new documentary 2020-08-18
- Performer and Northwestern University Dean E. Patrick Johnson discussed his new film and the importance of reclaiming storytelling agency in a virtual Q&A Lambda Legal hosted Aug. 9. Johnson, dean of Northwestern University's School of Communication, ...

Gay News

Asha Ransby-Sporn talks building on the anti-racism movement's legacy 2020-08-05
- With anti-racism protests happening around the United States, in what some media outlets are saying is the largest movement in this country's history, demands to abolish the police have increasingly been a part of the rallying ...

Gay News

Local lesbian couple celebrate 50 years together 2020-08-05
- When Alice Cozad and Linda Young met each other as freshmen at the University of Iowa they knew almost instantly that they would be together as a couple for the rest of their lives. "The electricity ...

Gay News

Teen LGBTQ+ activist aims to inspire with Be You Tiful Initiative 2020-07-31
- Allison Frank is a 16-year-old lesbian activist from Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School who found her passion for activism and began the Be You Tiful Initiative. It all started when Frank was feeling overwhelmed in a makeup ...

Gay News

Cicero student finds his voice 2020-07-29
- When Jorge Martinez-Arevalo was in eighth grade, he was elected president of an LGBTQ+ after-school club at Unity Junior High School, in Cicero. During his eighth-grade year, the club, which is known as NJAW (short for ...

Gay News

Chicago man takes face masks into luxury 2020-07-10
- During COVID-19 David Altman is encouraging people to wear their heart on their face with masks that his brand Vintage Luxe Up is currently making out of vintage luxury designer silk scarves. Altman grew up on ...

Gay News

E. Patrick Johnson, a man of firsts 2020-07-08
- E. Patrick Johnson is a man often associated with the word "first." He was the first in his family to go to college, and the first Black native of Hickory, North Carolina, to receive a Ph.D., ...

Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01
- As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. He was born in Edgewater Hospital and grew up in Skokie. In college, ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.