Profile of a local business in Beverly or Morgan Park

Beauty in Beverly: Newest Neighborhood Spa Sets Grand Opening 

Color Me Beauty Bar, 1810½ W. 99th St., owners Kimberly Buford and Dr. Angelique Jackson will host the shop’s grand opening Sun., June 3, 2 to 6 p.m.   

Offering customers a wide range of organic fruit- and plant-based beauty treatments and products, Color Me Beauty Bar is a nail and skin care boutique that will “color” you with lavish beauty experiences using products that are natural, toxin-free, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. They look forward to becoming a 100% vegan-operated salon soon. 

As African-American female business owners, Buford and Jackson are excited to be not just a new female-owned business but a new minority-owned business as well. They look forward to serving members of the local community and throughout Chicagoland. 

“When I began my research for what location in the city that I wanted our business to be, Beverly stood out to me because residents here support the businesses in their area,” Buford said. “I am very happy to see our vision become a reality in our new space.” 

With a 22-year career as a nail technician, Buford’s experience spans across several salons including Bliss spa in the W Hotel downtown, Shine salon, Kimberly Coleman Salon and Paris Beauty Salon. She was trained at Dudley’s Beauty College on the South Side. 

Dr. Jackson’s background includes a degree in education. Throughout her 20-year career, she has always had entrepreneurial endeavors that were linked to the beauty industry. “I have a vision of equipping young women with all the tools they need to succeed in life,” Dr. Jackson said. “Color Me Beauty Bar is allowing me to empower young women via mind, body and spirit.”  

Beauty and similar visions have brought Buford and Jackson together to create Color Me Beauty Bar. They look forward to meeting community residents on June 3. For information or to book a service at the salon, email colormebb@gmail.com 

Home Cooking: Mead with a Meal

By Kristin Boza

Home Tour attendees are in for a literal treat with the pairing of Ellie’s Cafe and Wild Blossom Meadery. This partnership provides a delicious dish prepared by Ellie’s chef and owner Cathy Stacey with a mead pairing provided by Greg Fisher, owner of Wild Blossom Meadery.

“When I was told I would be paired with Wild Blossom for the Home Tour experience, all I could think of was Vikings because they drank copious amounts of mead,” Stacey said. “It got me thinking about what they put into their stomachs besides mead. Apparently, Vikings had a simple diet, with the wealthier being able to afford a little exotic spice through trade. Honey was the only sweetener they knew. When Greg told me he has a spicy mead, I knew it was a no brainer.”

Stacey plans on marinating a pork tenderloin in a spicy mead with honey and served on grilled flat bread. The meal is paired with Pirates Blood, a hot chili pepper mead made right at Wild Blossom. Stacey’s research found that Vikings also liked to garden, so she’s pairing the dish with a garden slaw with horseradish dressing sweetened with honey. To round out the Viking experience, Stacey will not provide silverware so attendees can feel like true Vikings.

Spring is finally here and this is the perfect way to celebrate it. As radish and pea season approach, this dish will be at its best in springtime and can be made a day ahead of when it’s served.

Radish and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Ingredients

1.5 lbs sugar snap peas, trimmed, stringed, cut in half on diagonal

Kosher salt

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lemon juice

1 Tsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 Tsp. sumac, plus more for garnish (lemon zest or Zataar are good subsitutes)

1 bunch of radishes (about 6 oz), trimmed, thinly sliced

4 oz ricotta salata or feta, crumbled

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh mint

Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside.

Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool.

Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

Whisk oil, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. sumac in a small bowl.

Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl.

Cover dressing and salad separately and chill. When ready to serve, add dressing to salad and toss to coat.

Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Garnish with mint and sprinkle with sumac.

Pair with Pirates Blood mead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RMH Design Puts a Modern Touch on Vintage Appeal

By Grace Kuikman

It’s likely that you’ve seen designs by Robin Harmon, owner of RMH Design. In recent years, six of the outstanding residences featured on BAPA’s Home Tour have undergone beautiful transformations designed by Harmon, and certainly you’ve spotted someone wearing am item of clothing from her boutique and thought, “I wonder where she got that…”

Why did Harmon decide to couple home décor with clothing in her “eccentric lifestyle brand” business model? “There’s a strong connection between home and clothing,” she explained. “People tend to dress like they decorate their home – modern, casual. The patterns they love on their bodies they love in their homes.”

The shop’s clothing line has evolved into the RMH Boutique, which offers true vintage clothes (nothing is newer that 1970s) as well as unique pieces created through the collaborative efforts of Robin and two designers.

In late February, Harmon celebrated the most recent reimagination of her showroom. It is well worth a visit, even if you think you’re not in the market for an update in home décor or personal style.

For Your Home

In the five years since Robin founded RMH Interiors + Design at the corner of 103rd and Wood Street, she has expanded three times. Because of her creative approach to design and merchandise, every visit to RMH is filled with new surprises and ideas. Today, she has clients all over the city.

Harmon’s home designs offer classic style and quality, personalized for each customer. The showroom is a visual delight of merchandise and samples available at this one-stop shop for any size job, from design and paint selection for small projects through total remodeling jobs.

RMH carries quality lines of fabrics for window treatments and upholstery, paint, tile, flooring, counters, wallpaper, rugs, cabinets and more. RMH carries lighting from 25+ vendors, and furniture from almost as many. “I carry merchandise from the same manufacturers you see at Restoration Hardware and Walter E. Smithe,” Harmon said.

RMH also offers vintage furniture that is restored and/or repurposed, blending in modern updates for a unique contemporary look and function. Services include reupholstering, repair, reproduction of decorative elements, refinishing and painting. ) and new,

“Every one of my projects is different,” she said. “That’s because the design is not about me, it’s about my customer.” She also believes in passing her savings on to customers.

“People are so intimidated by the word ‘designer,’” she said. “They shouldn’t be! Design services do not have to be expensive. I work within a customer’s budget.”

“I never imagined that I would be someone who would hire an interior designer,” said Jared Boyer, whose 1920s revivalist house was on BAPA’s Home Tour last year after Harmon helped with the selection of paint, window treatments, hardware and other details. “It seemed like a luxury that was far outside of my price range. But my wife and I had been thinking about paint colors for several weeks and we were not making any progress. Robin’s price was less than the cost of two gallons of paint. Since hiring Robin, we’ve never had to repaint.”

For Your Wardrobe

The RMH Boutique spring collection is in and offers classic clothing for the modern woman as well as Vintage Row, the expanded vintage clothing/accessories section. Harmon’s RMH Boutique is based on the quality and style of vintage. New clothing comes in sizes 3 to 32. Customers select the pieces they like; some garments are in stock, and some are ordered in the size and color a customer wants.

The boutique also offers new and vintage purses, scarves, hats, and gloves as well as jewelry by from various designers, including local designer Susan Larsen.

RMH Design showroom, 1802-1806 W. 103rd St. Hours: Mon. and Tues., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wed. through Fri., 12 to 7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sun., 12 to 5 p.m. Info: www.rmhinteriors.com. Design appointments, 773-865-6173.

 

Home Cooking: Grandma Kelly’s Irish Soda Bread

By Kristin Boza

The South Side Irish Parade is more than a jaunt down Western Avenue. For many families, it’s an opportunity to gather around and enjoy Irish food, beer, music, and of course, companionship.

Maureen and Jack Kelly are masters of the Parade Day celebration. This year is extra special, as Jack celebrates his first year as the proprietor of Kelly’s Tap, 10910 S. Western Ave. Although Kelly’s Tap will be closed for a private party on Parade Day, he promises that patrons will be able to enjoy specials on Guinness, Irish whiskey, and other beverages throughout the month of March.

The Kellys hosted their first Parade Day party in 1985, shortly after they moved into their Beverly/Morgan Park home.

“Each year, more and more people attended, but the size of the crowd began to be a reason for concern,” Maureen said. “One year, we woke up the next morning to discover all our toothbrushes were missing; that mystery has never been solved! We eventually decided to take a one-year break from hosting a post-parade party.”

Intending to simplify the event, and prevent any further toothbrush theft, they began hosting a breakfast and invited only their family, neighbors and those marching in the parade. However, as word got out about the tasty food and warm hospitality, the party began growing in size once again. Soon, the Kellys’ pre-parade parties became the stuff legends are made of.

“We have had the honor of hosting NYC firefighter/policemen, dignitaries from Ireland, lots of candidates and many federal, state, county, and city elected officials and union officials. Our most famous guest was Barack Obama, who stopped in several years before he ran for president. But, of course, we don’t have any pictures,” Maureen said.

“Our favorite part of Parade Day is the celebration of faith, family, friends and heritage,” she said. “We do most of the cooking and baking the day before with dishes that can be heated on Sunday morning. Lots of soda bread, breakfast casseroles, potatoes, bread pudding with an Irish whiskey caramel sauce, and lots of treats our friends and family contribute.”

Of course, there are corned beef sandwiches too, which Maureen wraps up in plastic so the guests can enjoy them while watching the parade. One of her favorite items to make is Jack’s grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread.

“I love that I have this copy, especially because it is in her own handwriting. I never had the pleasure to meet her, but have shared her recipe and feel like we honor her memory each time we bake a loaf,” Maureen said. “Our oldest daughter, Kacey, has taken over all the soda bread baking duties, and she makes a mean loaf! I have added my own special twist to the recipe that makes the bread even better, but that’s a guarded secret.”

 

Grandma Kelly’s Irish Soda Bread

3 c. sifted flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. butter (or other shortening)
1 1/2 c. raisins or currants
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Add raisins and stir in buttermilk. Knead gently on lightly floured board for 30 seconds. Pat out and place in a greased 1 qt. casserole dish or 9-10″ pie dish. Cut a cross on the top, about 1/4″ deep. Brush with cream, or milk. Bake about one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Fitness 2018: Body, Mind and Spirit

By Kristin Boza

The start of a new year is a new chance to get or stay healthy, but we’re often doomed by the cold, gloomy weather that encourages hibernation. Luckily, BAPA business members offer numerous opportunities to keep you motivated to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions all year long.

Body

Tai Chi, Kung Fu and self-defense classes are available at the Academy of Chinese Martial Arts, 9109 S. Western. Engage in Chinese martial arts to improve your health, fitness and wellness all in one place. Academy of Chinese Martial Arts is the only academy in the U.S. authorized to teach the rare liu-he-ba-fa internal style. 773-723-2795.

Do you hate group classes? Try small group or one-on-one personal training with Marianne Zarzecki at Beverly Fitness. Training focuses on total wellbeing of the body and mind. Zarzecki is certified in personal training, yoga and counseling. 773-573-2619.

Are you an adult who wants to learn the art of dance? Check out the adult ballroom dance class at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Group and private lessons available in rumba, jitterbug, swing, mambo, waltz, and many more. Dance Gallery also offers dance for children as young as two. 773-445-8910.

Changing your eating habits is tough, and Registered and Licensed Dietician Kelly Devine Rickert at Devine Nutrition can help. From one-on-one nutrition to group nutrition classes to meal planning to sports nutrition, they have you covered. DevineNutrition.com.

Sculpt and Shred Fitness, 1791 W. 95th St. helps patrons rebuild, restore, and revitalize their mind, body and spirit through proper nutrition and exercise. Workouts are custom-designed to shred calories and sculpt your body in accordance with your fitness goals. 773-629-6152. Use your BAPA Card for a discount.

This is the reason to pray for snow: See and Ski Beverly in the Dan Ryan Woods, sponsored by Beverly Improvement Association every Sun. at 1 p.m. when there’s enough snow to cross-country ski. Meet at Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western to rent skis, boots, poles or snowshoes ($15/day or $25/weekend) and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Looking for organic food or fresh juice? Check out the selection of all types of healthy food options at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St. Use your BAPA Card for even more savings on vegan, vegetarian, and Paleo food options. 773-233-1856.

Some runners cool down with a cold beer. If that sounds appealing, check in to the Thirsty Thursday Running Club with Running Excels, 10328 S. Western and Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10924 S. Western. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear in 2018, head to Running Excels and use your BAPA Card for discounts. 773-629-8587.

Treadfit, 10458 S. Western, is an intense, innovative fitness program with customized workouts from certified trainers. Each class aims to improve your overall fitness level using interval training on the treadmill and full-body strength training. 773-584-8435. Use your BAPA Card.

Mind

Attachment-focused therapy is offered at Begin Within Therapy, 3301 W. 111th St. Therapists approach counseling with the knowledge that within every person lies a story. Through a safe, comfortable space, they also offer trauma treatment. 773-796-3712.

Experience “heart-centered” therapy at Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd Floor. Therapists create a comforting, warm space offering a mind-body-emotional-spiritual holistic approach to counseling, including monthly wellness events. Beverly Therapists is supportive of the LGBTQ community, and offers a monthly LGBTQ group for teens. 773-719-1751.

Little Company of Mary Health Education Center, 2800 W. 95th St., offers health screenings for coronary risk, asthma, and more, as well as women’s wellness screenings for hypnosis, nutritional counseling, and other risk assessments. Additionally, a variety of wellness education programs and special events are available. 708-423-5774.

MetroSouth Medical Center, 12935 S. Gregory St., Blue Island, offers numerous classes on diabetes education, breastfeeding, childbirth, and more. 708-824-4462.

Are you over 55 years old and looking to learn something new? Check out the Renaissance Academy at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St. The Academy fosters intellectual growth by offering courses in literature, history, genealogy, philosophy, and other fields of interest. Members can facilitate courses. 773-298-3149.

Spirit

Meditation is one essential part of overall wellbeing. Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, offers tailored classes to help educate, support, and relieve many symptoms associated with their clients’ issues. Classes address anxiety, stress, insomnia, menopause, lower back issues, healthy aging, hormonal balance, and more for those looking for ways to complement Western medicine. BeverlyYogaCenter.com. Use your BAPA Card.

Get on the track to better wellness this year at Light House Beverly, 11240 S. Western. This yoga, therapeutic massage and wellness center offers hatha, restorative, yin and therapeutic yoga as well as myofascial release, self-care and Goddess Yoga. Release your stress and recharge. LightHouseBeverly.com.

Find a one-stop shop for beauty needs head at Relaxation Station Salon and Spa, 10655 S. Hale Ave. They offer pedicures/manicures, massage, facials, hair styling and hair coloring. The new salon recently added even more opportunities to recharge and restyle. RelaxationStationBeverly.com. Use your BAPA Card.

Home Cooking with Southtown Health Foods

By Kristin Boza

Chances are, eating better food is on the to-do list for 2018. Southtown Health Foods, 2100 95th St. has numerous organic food and special diet options to help you stick with your resolution, for good.

Instead of struggling with your blender for a green power drink each day, head to Southtown’s juice bar. “Our fresh juice is full of enzymes and vitamins, providing a great source of energy, which is especially great for those who want to give up coffee,” said Katie Speh, general manager. The most popular juice blend is a mix of spinach, celery, cucumber, kale and parsley with a kick of lemon, ginger and apple to sweeten it up. “People can use the juice as their healthy drink of the day, or they can use it as a juice cleanse or afternoon pick-me-up.”

“The juice is fresh for four-to-eight hours, but it’s best to drink it right away. Another option is to freeze it if you are unable to drink it right away,” Speh said.

Southtown Health Foods specializes in organic produce, and vegan and vegetarian food options. In fact, they were the very first store in all of Chicago to carry organic produce 35 years ago. They also carry a variety of allergy-free foods, including gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free items. Vegans and vegetarians who are short on time can grab a prepared meal that can be warmed up at home. Two local companies, Soul Vegan and Soul Vegetarian, are some of the locally sourced vegan and vegetarian suppliers.

Over 100 fresh, loose herbs and spices are available at Southtown. “Our customers can come in and choose different herbs to make their own tea, or to use in recipes,” Speh said. “We also offer food options for every lifestyle diet out there, from Paleo to ketogenic diets, and even help for those with diabetes who need some direction. Our staff can help guide you to a better food choice.”

 

Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6-1/4 hours. 6 servings

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup beef broth

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups dry red wine or beef broth

4 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. In batches, brown ribs on all sides; transfer to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. Add carrots, broth, thyme and bay leaf to ribs.
  2. Add onions to the same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 8-9 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  3. Remove ribs and vegetables; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Bring juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. If desired, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Serve with ribs and vegetables.

Capsule Chicago: Fashion Forward Clothing and Accessories

By Kristin Boza

Capsule Chicago, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, opened earlier this fall at 9915 S. Walden Pkwy. The boutique is the culmination of years of planning by local resident Maura Conine.

The store offers something for everyone, a major goal of Conine’s. “There’s something for every new college graduate, but also something for her mom and sister,” she said. “We infuse contemporary brands with progressive brands that are more fashion-forward. I try to carry really well-made garments that are classics, but with a twist. There are some really classic pieces with a simple color palette, with some punches of color and trends mixed in.”

Conine worked for Nordstrom for years and cultivated a list of favorite brands, many of which she now carries at Capsule. Most of the brands are American made or artisan made, and include clothing, jewelry and handbags.

“Customers are really excited to have another option in the neighborhood and they’re very grateful that I’ve taken a chance in Beverly in being a progressive store,” Conine said. “I think we’re seeing a lot of changes happening in Beverly; many young families are moving in and while this is a great place to raise a family, many people miss certain aspects of living elsewhere in the city, like walkable restaurants, bars and boutiques. We don’t have a main street downtown area, so we’re creating a little destination here on 99th and Walden.”

It’s important to Conine to carry a wide range of sizes and price points in her merchandise. She spent time at boutiques in San Francisco and Los Angeles to find interesting brands, as well as scouring Etsy for unique, hand-crafted items. “I want to buy the clothes that I think will sell, but I also want to introduce customers to something they might not expect to love.”

Conine said she dreamed about opening a boutique for years. “I have tear-outs from magazines — before Pinterest — and I’ve used some of those ideas! It’s definitely been a dream and the fact that it’s happening is incredible. I’m so happy and lucky and just really excited,” she said.

As any new business owner will attest, Conine is finding her way. The biggest learning curve was making sure the store has enough stock on hand. “We ran out of clothes faster than I thought! I’m learning what brands I can count on to get something to me next week, since I usually have to buy six months in advance,” she said. “I definitely don’t want an empty store; you want everyone’s first time to be incredible.”

The gratifying moments are still catching Conine off-guard. For example, she recently attended a fundraiser for St. Barnabas and despite not knowing a few women at her table, she realized they had all been in her store. “Every single one of them had on a piece of clothing or accessory from the store. It was a really cool moment and definitely one that made me stop in my tracks,” she said.

Capsule will play host to trunk shows from the designers carried in the store; SoCo Jewelry will be there on Nov. 16 to showcase their handmade jewelry from Kenya. Conine also hopes to host a “girlfriend party” where five to eight friends can set up a time for a private shopping event. “The idea is to bring your own wine or cupcakes and have a fun girlfriend party to get out of the house and shop with your friends,” she said. “I plan to do it twice a month and give personal styling sessions to each woman.”

To stay up-to-date on Capsule’s events, check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/CapsuleChicago.

Nurturing Your Body and Spirit

Good health requires a combination of preventative and restorative care. Located at 11240 S. Western, ExcellCare Physical Therapy and Erin Kelly Massage Therapy work in tandem to offer holistic approaches to reducing pain and restoring physical health.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy was established in 1999 with a mission change the way physical therapy is provided in the USA. The facility uses a hands-on approach that focuses pain reduction. “[It is] an absolutely necessary first step in creating a positive patient response,” explained Sanjoy Roy, Director of Physical Therapy. Treatment focuses on a series of purposeful techniques using manual therapy, decompression of the spine, and other forms of holistic ways to treat and cure patients. ExcellCare also integrates acupuncture and next-generation laser therapy to treat pain.

“At ExcellCare, we strongly value the patient experience and believe that the plan of care begins from the moment a patient walks through our doors,” Roy said. Driven by the mission to provide a simple and individualized system of physical therapy care that produces positive results, the staff treats many conditions, including back pain, neck pain, stenosis, arthritis, hip pain and knee pain.

In May, Erin Kelly moved her practice to ExcellCare’s facility. “Erin Kelly’s Massage Therapy practice has been a refreshing addition to the ExcellCare Physical Therapy family.” Roy said. “Our patients have been referred to Erin often for her massage therapy expertise in addition to the physical therapy treatment ExcellCare provides. ExcellCare believes in a strong and meaningful relationship with Erin Kelly to provide optimum patient care.”

Now in her tenth year of practice, Kelly trained at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, and is a certified and licensed massage therapist specializing in myofascial trigger point therapy to effectively reduce and relieve pain. Caused by injury, repetitive motion and other common factors, myofascial pain is chronic muscle pain that can present along with fatigue, stress, weakness, loss of motion and depression. “It’s not just a sore muscle,” Kelly said.

Kelly combines her education and experience with her natural and intuitive presence and ability to ‘listen’ through therapeutic touch to provide natural healing, helping her clients feel their best. Each patient undergoes a thorough evaluation used to create a personalized treatment plan. Patients are also provided with suggestions for self-care, resources and tips to prevent pain and injury.

Exemplifying her belief and health and spirit are connected, Kelly’s light open space is conducive to healing, and the high grade therapeutic essential oils she uses boost the efficacy of treatment and enhance relaxation. Kelly appreciates working collaboratively with physical therapists to provide an extra layer of pain relief and health benefits to clients.

Kelly, a Beverly/Morgan Park resident, has built her practice here. “I’m grateful to be in a community that’s so supportive,” she said.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy accepts most insurances, and can be reached at 773-779-1111 for appointments. Learn more about the scope of their services at www. ExcellCare.net. Kelly does not do medical billing but accepts referrals. Find more information or make appointments at 773-569-1015 or www.erinkellylmt.com.

Women-Owned Businesses Thrive in Beverly/Morgan Park

By Kristin Boza

It’s no secret that some extraordinary businesses call Beverly/Morgan Park home. Many of these businesses, from hair salons to clothing stores to restaurants to fitness studios and more, are owned by women. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong within this group of women who all found a way to fulfill a need within the community.

RMH Interiors + Design, 1800 W. 103rd St., is a unique lifestyle brand creating beautiful interiors for functional living. “Our approach is to use and reinvent existing pieces, working them into a fresh vision that captures a client’s lifestyle,” owner Robin Harmon said. “We also have a 3,800 square foot showroom featuring new and vintage furniture, clothing, global art and one-of-a-kind accessories for home and body.”

Harmon says that the biggest challenge she faces is doing everything herself. “Moving furniture and inventory boxes and working long hours has become a norm for me,” she said. “But the process of owning my own business has taught me patience, persistence and perseverance. Nothing is given to you in life; if you want it, you need to get it!”

Harmon says her business has survived over five years without any financial start-up gifts or loans. “As a small, minority-owned, female-gendered business, I began with my own money that I saved for four years; that in itself is a unique contribution to my ethnic culture and dialogue,” she said. “I have become an example that many minorities and women appreciate; people often visit my showroom to show their kids what is possible if you work hard enough.”

She advises female entrepreneurs to “be realistic as to what [owning a business] will take. Hire a mentor who has already done what you want to do,” she said.

Belle Up, 1915 W. 103rd St., positions itself as a one-stop shop specializing in women’s contemporary apparel and maternity wear. Owner Jamenda McCoy established the boutique in 2009 and now has locations throughout the city. McCoy advises other women business owners to always listen to their customers and adapt as necessary.

“We’ve always tried to be very sensitive to other women business owners,” McCoy said. “I was one of the founding members of the Southside Women’s Business Alliance, and we carry products by women and from other women-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Women helping women has been important in our business community. Women in our neighborhood come together to partner and find new and different ways to help develop our business corridors. Bringing a diversity of perspectives to the table is always rewarding.”

McCoy advises others to take the leap to own a business; despite doing research and calculating the risk, you may never know how it will go unless you take the plunge. “Beverly is a special community, but you have to know it. You have to invest in it and that takes a lot of work.” McCoy is always available to her customers, which is sometimes a misunderstood fact of owning a small business. “I get calls or texts in the middle of the night sometimes, but living in the community and being accessible to your customers is the life of a small business owner. As a small business, you have to be willing to commit to your customers.”

Capsule, 9915 S. Walden Pkwy., is opening on Fri., Sept. 8. Owner Maura Conine offers women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry and select gift items all around the theme of a “capsule wardrobe” — meaning an edited collection of clothes and accessories that are versatile and don’t go out of style. “Our focus at Capsule is to carry wearable pieces that offer a diverse collection of items that are thoughtful and well-made,” she said.

Conine is new to owning a business, and foresees her main challenge to be work/life balance, as she and her husband juggle caring for their two young boys. “As much as it will be challenging, I am proud to have my children see my drive and determination to fulfill my dreams of opening my own store in the neighborhood we call home,” she said. “I’m most excited to share my point of view with the community. Our goal is to get to know our customer’s needs and lifestyle in order to guide them to build more edited and effortless wardrobes. I dream of Capsule being a space that celebrates the strength and creativity of women.”

As her dreams become a reality, Conine advises other potential business owners to take their dream and make a plan. “Writing my business plan allowed me to see past the frills and fun of opening a boutique and understand the facts and figures of starting my own business,” she said. “Once that is finished and you’re still passionate about your idea or business … jump!”

In just 50 minutes, clients at Treadfit, 10458 S. Western Ave., experience calorie-melting cardio interval training and strength training. Owner Jenny Harkins says her biggest challenge as a female business owner is balancing the responsibilities of her business and her family.

“My focus on Treadfit begins when I wake up and often extends until late at night,” she said. “The hard work is rewarded when I see the amazing changes my clients go through, becoming more confident, stronger and leaner.”

With a location in the heart of Western Avenue, Harkins feels that Treadfit plays a role in highlighting what other businesses have to offer in Beverly/Morgan Park. “Many of my clients come from the surrounding cities to take classes at Treadfit. Hopefully, they will stay to shop, eat and enjoy all of our wonderful community events as well!”

Bev Lynch, owner of Running Excels, 10326 S. Western Ave., agrees with Harkins on the positive benefits her business has for other local shops. “I consider Running Excels a destination place. We draw customers from other communities, which gives Beverly some exposure,” she said.

Running Excels is the perfect place to find athletic shoes and accessories to fit the needs of any athlete — from amateur to professional. Like many other women business owners, Running Excels owner Bev Lynch understands the pressure of balancing a business and a family. “The flexibility in my schedule as a business owner allows me to leave when I need to attend to my family’s needs or events,” she said. “As females, we have learned to be organized and multi-task, handling our homes and businesses alike.”

Cakewalk Chicago, 1741 W. 99th St., specializes in baking and pastry supplies, including cookie cutters, candy molds and icings. Owner Lori Parrett sees the unique role Cakewalk Chicago has in our community and she is proud of her business’ reach. “Many of our customers are bakers who sell their products right here in Beverly/Morgan Park. Cakewalk Chicago supports the economy of these bakers, who then spend money in the community too.”

Parrett says that a significant challenge is competing with big box stores. “But it’s our personal touch that provides so much to our neighborhood,” she said. “We greet our customers by name; we celebrate birthdays, christenings, weddings and more with families while helping them make beautiful edible memories.”

She sometimes wonders if the long hours and stress are worth it. “But then a customer shares a story or a photo of a cake you helped them to make and you remember why you love what you do,” Parrett said. Overall, Parrett says the rewards are awesome and she advises other potential female business owners to “believe in yourself, do what you love, and support each other. We are stronger together.”

Sip & Shop Showcases Women-Owned Businesses

From retail to writing, interior design to salon services, women entrepreneurs and their businesses will be showcased at the Sip & Shop Girls Night Out, Thurs., Sept. 14 in the train station business districts on 103rd and 99th Streets.

The event begins with shopping, food and beverage tastings, demonstrations and more from 6 to 9 p.m. Check in at Calabria, 1905 W. 103rd St., to get a free souvenir wine tote, then start visiting participating businesses: Belle Up, Beverly Barre, Beverly Yoga Center, B Sides Coffee, Cakewalk Chicago/Markland Hubbard, Capsule, Chicago Writers Studio, Heritage Gallery & Gifts, New Beginning Alterations, Pizzeria Deepo, RMH Design, Root, Running Excels, Sweet Freaks and Tranquility.

A BYOB after party will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. at Tranquility, 9908 S. Walden Pkwy.

Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door and includes a souvenir wine tote. Buy advance tickets at participating businesses, get your tickets online! 

Sip & Shop is sponsored by Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA), Southside Women’s Business Alliance and Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association.