After leaving a full-time position as head of Product Development for a major boat tour company in Chicago, Hillary Marzec founded this company in September of 2013, researching, creating, and refining the tours that she officially launched in April 2014. She made (and maintains) this website, designed her brochures, designed various marketing materials, and has been the creative force — both in person and behind the scenes — driving this young company.  Other companies have multiple people on staff to do what Hillary does single-handedly: content creator and manager; researcher; marketing director; graphic design; website development; public relations; corporate sales manager… you name it, she does it! Talk about “small business”!

At the Concierge Preferred Trade Show at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens, April 2016.

At the Concierge Preferred Trade Show at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens, April 2016.

Bit by bit, her father, Jim — a retired businessman — offered her advice and help where he could.  These bits of help grew into a partnership that has brought together the best of both worlds: Jim knows about business, and is highly organized and practical; Hillary knows about teaching and audience reception, and is highly engaging and creative.  Together, they have created a small business that — in its very first season of operation — soared to Chicago's #1 walking tour company spot on TripAdvisor, and continues to gain spectacular reviews from delighted guests.  

They Skype every day to check in about what needs to be done (often interrupted by cats on both sides — whom they call their "assistants"), and are enjoying continued success going into the 2019 season, their 6th season of operation.

(On a side note, Hillary and Jim not only share this business, but also share a love of scary movies, sweets and pastries, playing cards, blooper videos, and the German language.)

“Inside Chicago Walking Tours is the very definition of a small business — not a ‘mom and pop’ business, but a ‘daughter and pop’ one.”
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