Last March, we sat down with The Hechtman Group client Gil Gibori to learn more about his company The House Tutoring Lounge. With over 20 years in education and entrepreneurship, Gil and his wife Carrie founded Chicago Academic in 2009 with one mission in mind – to help relieve the anxiety families have about their children’s education. A decade later in 2019, they launched The House Tutoring Lounge™. Designed for youths’ grade 6 through college, The House provides in-person and online learning, ACT, SAT, ISEE & SSAT test prep, learning PODs, private and on-demand academic tutoring.
Shortly after our interview COVID-19 hit and everyone’s daily environment changed. Families were isolating at home and businesses temporarily closed. The traditional in-school learning was placed on hold and suddenly parents became the teachers. As we slowly began venturing back outside, schools were modifying their strategies, offering remote learning and in-person/remote hybrid programs. Most kids are resilient and able to adapt their attitudes to these changes. The biggest impact is on the parents. As they return to work, parents are scrambling to figure out how to balance a job with ensuring their child is getting the attention they need in schooling.
With a business strategy aimed at helping kids while providing relief to parents, The House has continued to thrive even in this new environment. The original architecture of the space accommodates the stringent safety protocol surrounding COVID-19. Tutoring rooms are made of glass walls to provide a quiet and protective space without making students feel isolated. It is small-group lounge chairs, quiet rooms, stadium seats, and benches that give students arm-length room to study safely while still feeling included.
As a further modification, The House introduced PODs, a new small group (2-4 students) micro-schooling solution. Featured in the Chicago Tribune, the PODs also serve as a curated study hall for families looking to control their children’s exposure to COVID and to customize their education with a dedicated instructor. Students or parents that are uncomfortable with in-person assistance can sign up for tutoring via The House’s very own Virtual Classroom portal. All tutors must pass a highly stringent screening process and meet academic qualification “must-haves” before joining the team. Personality and an extraordinary life story are central to how they select and match their tutors.
Being able to quickly adapt highlights the importance of having a sound business plan, with the ability to be nimble and succeed in this new normal. From the very beginning when Gil first thought of launching the Tutoring Lounge®, he leaned into The Hechtman Group and Jim Hechtman to flush-out the idea; to build a business plan that would be solid and flexible long-term. “Every business starts on a spreadsheet,” explains Jim. “The House was Gil and Carrie’s vision; it didn’t become their business until we helped them see the numbers.” That is what The Hechtman Group does, “We take a business idea from a concept to a plan, to a successful operation.”
“Our seed of a concept took root in The Hechtman Group conference room,” shares Gil “and even now, Jim and his team are our daily sounding board. If I can’t convince Jim and his team, I don’t do it. He is our soundest advisor.”
And growth is exactly what The House has experienced. With over 10,000 student visits, 35,000 student hours logged, and over 11,000 private tutoring sessions, The House is the most widely acclaimed tutoring business concept in Chicago and the North Shore. In 2021, The House will expand locations from their headquarter in Glencoe, IL to include a second facility in Highland Park. Additional expansion outside Illinois is in progress, and The Hechtman Group will be there every step of the way, building a business plan intended for longevity.
The House has filled a need, providing a place where youth feel empowered and confident about their studies and themselves, and parents can find relief that their child is obtaining the education they need to push forward in life.
The Hechtman Group is proud to support The House as our Spotlight Client of the Month. For more information on The House membership, test prep, and tutoring programs, visit https://www.the.house or call 847-461-3616.