Profile of a local business in Beverly or Morgan Park

Going Green: Ellie’s Takes Plastic Off the Table

By Abby Johnson

Cathy Stacey couldn’t get the image out of her head. It was of a baby sea turtle, struggling to breathe, the plastic straw descending further into the reptile’s nostril with every attempted intake of air.  

This disturbing story is becoming the norm for our ocean’s marine life, as a study performed by the Marine Wildlife Society shows that 70 percent of sea birds and 30 percent of sea turtles have some amount of plastic in their ecosystems. 

Doing what she can to turn around this ecological tragedy, Stacey, owner of Ellie’s Cafe, 10701 S. Hale, recently made the decision to eliminate the use of plastic straws at the restaurant. 

“I had been hearing from people for a while that plastic waste not only harms animals, but kills them,” Stacey said. “I like to think of myself as a strong candidate for animal rights, so I couldn’t just continue to listen to this stuff and then do nothing.” 

A little over one month ago, Ellie’s Cafe made the switch that so many in the conservation world have been encouraging: Her business now provides customers with paper straws, instead of plastic ones. It’s a necessary change, as the World Economic Forum predicts the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the fish in the oceans by 2050 if the accumulation rate isn’t curbed. 

“It wasn’t something I had to think about much,” she said. “The bottom line is that straws are a convenience for us. We don’t need them to survive. So why wouldn’t we use an alternative that doesn’t harm animals?” 

The reaction from customers to Stacey’s decision? Stacey said a lot of customers don’t even notice the change. But those who do, for the most part, have been positive. 

“People like the idea of bettering the environment,” she said.  “I’m happy that people understand why it’s important to make this change. It sounds cheesy, but I can always count on this neighborhood to guide me to do the right thing.”  

Steuber Florist Celebrates 75 Years

By Abby Johnson 

For more than seven decades, Steuber Florist and Greenhouses, 2654 W. 111th St., has been providing the community with beautifully cut floral arrangements and plants for homes and gardens. The business, which has been family owned and operated since 1943, celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. 

Scot Steuber is the store’s current owner and the third generation to run the business. He said today’s customer base is different from that which his grandmother and grandfather served in the early 1940s. 

“At the time, our customer base was primarily for cemetery decorations, due to the fact that the streetcar line ended nearby,” Steuber said. “It was more common in those days to honor loved ones with fresh cut flowers and grave plantings.” 

Today, Steuber continues his family tradition of growing quality bedding plants and poinsettias. Since 1990, the business has worked to expand the fresh flower business. While some flowers are shipped to Steuber from other parts of the world, the business also grows an abundance of plants in its own greenhouse. 

“Almost everything you find at Steuber’s is grown onsite,” Steuber said. “We get a lot of our plants from plugs that are already rooted. Like our tomato plants, begonias and petunias.” 

Cultivating plants directly from seeds is unusual these days, and it’s what sets Steuber’s apart from other area floral centers. While growing seeds is relatively cheap, the process can be quite lengthy, Steuber said. It takes a while to germinate the seeds and grow them into plants that customers can easily be transplanted in gardens, he said.   

Along with beautiful floral arrangements, Steuber Florist and Greehouses is known for exceptional customer service with daily floral deliveries to local funeral home and hospitals.  

“Along with our staff, we pride ourselves in providing exquisite floral designs for every occasion and keeping up with the ever-expanding trends in all aspects of the floral industry,” Steuber said. 

The business is also known for its the dedication to the neighborhood. Steuber has for many years donated floral pieces for BAPA’s Home Tour and for the past two years, has been the exclusive floral sponsor of the tour. Last month, the business donated plants along 99th and 103rd Streets during for the Sip and Shop.  

Steuber Florist and Greenhouses is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon. through Sat. 

That’s Hot Fashion Boutique

By Kristin Boza 

Approaching its one-year anniversary in October, That’s Hot Fashion, 9925 S. Wood St., offers fashionable clothing and accessories sure to become a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.  

Jointly owned by the mother-daughter team of Selena Griggs and Selena Griggs, the pair is dedicated to offering styling advice to each customer. Previously, That’s Hot Fashion was located in River Oaks Mall, but the Griggs’ felt destined to open a boutique in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

In an interview with Griggs, the mother, she said, “Beverly has always been a target for us. I love the community — the people, the homes, the community feel — it’s nice to see people walking past the store with their families and pets. It’s just a great place to be.”  

That’s Hot Fashion stocks contemporary casual wear for women in both regular and plus sizes. “We carry the trendy fashions of today, including tops in the popular asymmetrical cut,” Griggs said. “We try to suit everyone’s fashion needs by carrying clothes that fit into daily life.”  

Griggs invented the What A Scarf, a multi-functional winter scarf made from fleece that is fastened with Velcro at the back of the neck, allowing it to be worn as a face mask, ear muff or around the neck. The What A Scarf is available in kids and adult sizes with a variety of pattern options.  

The store also carries a variety of jewelry accessories made from denim, as well as the trendy customized sweatshirt that includes front cut-outs so a cute tank top can peek through underneath. 

The Griggs devote a lot of energy to ensuring their customers have a great experience. “Our customers really enjoy coming into our boutique; the atmosphere is open and it’s a truly loving place to be in,” she said. 

That’s Hot Fashion is open Tues. through Sat., and by appointment only on Sun. and Mon. Visit them at Facebook.com/ThatsHotFashion or call 708-510-8791. 

Beverly Therapists Expands Office Space and Services

Beverly Therapists recently expanded its office space and now occupies the entire building located at 10725 S. Western Ave. This expansion allows for more therapists practicing in more modalities and provides clients with a warm and welcoming space where they can heal and grow their minds, bodies and spirits. 

Beverly Therapists was founded in 2010 by Lisa Catania, LCSW; Pat Harthun, LCPC; and Jennifer Lara, LCPC. The practice now includes 16 therapists specializing in everything from individual therapy to LGBTQ support and hypnotherapy to music and art therapy.  

“Beverly Therapists became an opportunity to bring a group of therapists together to grow and improve their own practices and services, while serving the community,” Catania said. “We need to start within ourselves, our families, and communities to make change happen from the inside out.”  

The practice is founded on being heart-centered, and hopes to spread love, peace and understanding to unify a diverse community, a paraphrase of the group’s inclusivity and diversity statement. Beverly Therapists underwent a “mindful rebirth” in 2015, when the team declared an emphasis on inclusion and being a supportive element honoring, protecting and supporting diversity, according to Catania.  

“We believe in kindness, acceptance, and nurturing the unique independent person; we look for therapists who embrace all of those concepts,” Catania said. “Each of us believes in our own individual responsibility and growth, and we support each other in affirming, challenging, and productive ways. We strive to be present in the community and meet its diverse needs and have people feel that they are being represented.” 

For the past two years, Beverly Therapists has paid close attention to the LGBTQ community — particularly teens — within Beverly/Morgan Park and surrounding areas, offering a regular group session for teens who identify as LGBTQ or questioning. “This is the forefront of this community’s needs now; everyone has a right to be unique, recognized and supported, and that doesn’t always happen for certain groups of people on a societal level,” Catania said.  

Beverly Therapists spends a lot of time presenting each individual therapist to the community so potential clients can get a feel for who may be the best fit for their needs. Through videos on Facebook and lengthy bios on their website, potential clients can get a sense for the therapist’s personality. “The most important ingredient is connection; we want people to find a therapist that they can trust and be honest with, and who has the expertise to facilitate and guide growth,” Catania said. 

“We really do things very mindfully,” said Harthun. “We want to build a sense of community within and without. There’s so much potential for growth as a force of good in this city.” 

Monthly seminars are offered to anyone in the community, occurring one Saturday a month from Sept. to May and cost only $10 per session. “Our seminars reflect the different modalities of the therapists, as well as the interests we see in the community,” Catania said. “These classes are a stepping stone for people to feel more comfortable with the idea of mental wellness and improvement.”  

To find a therapist or stay up-to-date on monthly seminar offerings, visit BeverlyTherapists.com. 

The LAB Designs Nutrition and Fitness with Busy Moms in Mind

By Kristin Boza 

Live and Believe is a fresh nutrition and fitness concept that opened last month on 95th St. The LAB Nutrition, 2025 W. 95th St., and The LAB Fitness, a couple doors down at 2019 W. 95th St., offer “Smoothies with Soul” and flexible fitness classes. The family-owned business is determined to make it easy for busy women to take care of their overall health and well-being. 

Owned by Morgan Martin and her father, Mike Martin, the family’s mission is to help people transform mentally, physically and spiritually while helping them live a life they love. “We want people to believe that anything they see for themselves is possible. We want to bring a healthy and positive environment to the Beverly area,” Morgan Martin said.  

At The LAB Fitness, participants engage in a comprehensive fitness, nutrition and spiritual plan. “Through workouts, nutrition and a private online community, [our clients] will focus on wellness of the mind, body, and soul,” she said. “Portions of our class fees go to the Marcus Martin Foundation where we give college scholarships, free youth football camps and fitness for the community.” 

The LAB Nutrition will assist the fitness aspect of the company by encouraging customers to choose healthy foods. “We specialize in serving smoothies with soul; we want to provide healthy alternatives, like protein snacks, energy teas, good vibes, good music and, of course, our soul smoothies,” she said.  

The smoothies have fun names, like Blueberry Muffin or Apple Pie, but they’re actually really healthy. “All of our smoothies are under 220 calories with about 20 grams of protein and 24 vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients,” Martin said. “The smoothies are intended to be a meal replacement, not used as a typical protein drink after a workout.”  

LAB Nutrition also offers energy teas; the Beverly Brew is one of the most popular options and includes a B12 energy shot to help boost metabolism. “We sell a lot of tea during the day, all of which we make fresh onsite. The energy teas are a great pick-me-up to get through the day,” Martin said. 

“So many people often don’t have time to work out. Working in this area with so many moms who work 9 to 5, time is difficult to find. I’ve found that if you can improve your nutrition, working out five days a week isn’t necessary,” Martin said. “We wanted to bring in an accessible fitness program that fits into busy lifestyles.” 

The LAB Nutrition is open Mon. through Thurs., 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri., 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sat., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and they are closed on Sundays. The LAB Fitness schedule runs Mon. through Thurs., and three Saturdays a month.  

BreakFit Circuit Training is at 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; Cardio Drumming is offered on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; HITT The Floor is on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.; Candlelight Yoga is offered on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.; Dance Cardio takes place on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and finally, Circuit Training is Saturdays at 9 a.m. First time attendees pay a drop-in fee of $5; otherwise, the classes are $10 for drop-in, or purchased in a monthly package. 

Beginning on Jul. 15, The LAB Fitness offers a 90-day transformation program complete with online workouts, a grocery list, access to a private online page, mindset activities and a professional photo shoot and celebration after completion. To find out more, visit Facebook.com/LiveAndBelieveWellness. 

Taxpayer Advocates Help Homeowners Save on Property Taxes

As the City of Chicago is rolling out its triennial reassessment this year, local property tax appeal firm Taxpayer Advocate Group (“TAG”), is celebrating its 10 year anniversary of helping Cook County homeowners pay the lowest possible tax bill.   

Born out of the financial crisis, TAG was founded at a quaint Irish pub by mortgage bankers Jason Terrell, TAG’s president and Certified Illinois Assessing Officer, and his West Point grad co-founder. As self-funded entrepreneurs, “It’s been fun to experience our progression,” Terrell said. “When we started the company we were using static files and excel spreadsheets; now it’s all cloud computing technology allowing us to identify saving opportunities instantaneously.”  

Xpress Tax Appeals is innovative software that TAG developed to challenge the County’s assessment of a residential property and to streamline the Cook County tax appeal process. Terrell explained that the County taxes your property by first assessing its value.  That base value, along with the state equalizer and tax rate, is used to calculate property taxes.  Due to the large volume of real estate parcels in Cook County, the Assessor’s Office calculates a property’s assessed value by using a mass appraisal method.   

“This model often allows for unequal treatment of property.” Terrell said. “TAG appeals your taxes by identifying the County’s inequitable assessment of your property and then by filing a property tax appeal.  By filing an appeal, a homeowner is requesting a more just and fair assessed value. Lowering the assessed value means homeowners will effectively save on their property taxes.” 

On July 27, Beverly/Morgan Park residents and other Lake Township homeowners are expected to receive their reassessment notices. 

“Unfortunately, if these reassessments are like the 2018 North Side reassessments that have already been sent to property owners in Lakeview and Rogers Park, you can expect to see a large hike in your assessment. Some properties have seen increases up to 40%,” Terrell said.  July 27 marks the beginning of a 30-day window in which residents of Lake Township will be able to file an appeal. 

The strongest argument a homeowner can make in the appeal process is “lack of uniformity” – an argument that the property is being over-assessed as compared to properties with similar characteristics (i.e. neighborhood, construction type, age, etc.).   

Although it’s most advantageous to appeal in the reassessment year, homeowners have the right to appeal their property taxes every year, as newly sold comparable properties or other changes in a neighborhood could provide another opportunity for a successful reduction.    

The tax appeal process is complex and fraught with paperwork and deadlines. TAG is committed to giving homeowners peace of mind by meeting the challenges posed by the County and by ensuring that assessed values remain as low as possible.  In addition, there are no upfront fees for the service and there is no charge if the appeal is unsuccessful. 

TAG is no stranger to the Beverly/Morgan Park area. Operations manager Justin Sipich grew up playing baseball at Kennedy Park and lived on 107th Street where his family still resides. Sipich, along with TAG property tax analyst, Alex Coston, graduated from Morgan Park Academy. Because of their affinity for the community and its residents, TAG is a BAPA business member and a sponsor of BAPA’s 16th annual Bikes & Brews Cycling Classic on July 20.   

TAG looks forward to helping community residents achieve the lowest possible property tax.  Visit www.XpressTaxAppeals.com/BAPA by Aug. 31, 2018 for a 20% discount on their services. 

At Your Best Consulting Trains Childcare Providers, Educator

Diane L Allen, owner of Beverly/Morgan Park-based At Your Best Consultant and Trainer for Early Childhood Educators, is a childcare consultant and Gateways to Opportunity registry-approved trainer, providing experienced guidance to directors, owners, teachers and leaders of the early childhood profession. 

As a registry-approved Gateways to Opportunity trainer, Allen offers training sessions on topics of leadership, operations, development, QRIS and management to early childhood providers. Participants can earn contact hours of credit, which are required through licensing bodies such as DCFS. Allen’s consulting services include basic guidance for home childcare providers and tips on how to open a childcare center. 

Allen owned and operated a home daycare business and, in 1989 she founded Haven for Tots, a thriving church-based childcare center in Evergreen Park.  

Allen’s Master of Arts degree from DePaul University in Interdisciplinary Studies allowed her to diversify her interests to include business administration, education and public service.  “My vision was to earn a master’s degree. It wasn’t easy, as I was a single parent and working full-time, but I was determined to raise the bar for myself by following an education path that opened the door for many opportunities while preparing myself for future aspirations.”  

Allen switched gears from early childhood education to higher education. After many years at Robert Morris University, she retired last year as Assistant Dean of the Morris Graduate School of Management.   

Following her retirement, Allen decided to return to the field of early childhood education and use her extensive experience as an educator and trainer.  

Allen is a volunteer for the Chicago Chapter of the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC), and serves as Chairperson on the Leadership Team of Chicago AEYC. Gateways to Opportunities training sessions are offered by the Chicago Chapter of ILAEYC. 

Allen, a BAPA Business Member, used the BAPA conference room to conduct a Gateways session in May. “The childcare directors of surrounding neighborhoods who attended were very satisfied with the inspiring session on Collective Leadership, which is a model of leadership in which all employees work together for a shared goal or vision.” Allen said. “The concept isn’t new but it takes work and determination on the director’s part to blend, mold and create an inspiring culture that benefits everyone.”  

For more information about At Your Best Consulting, visit www.childcareconsultantatyourbest.vistaprintdigital.com or email, allendiane2344@gmail.com. Allen is offering a free one hour session with At Your Best Consulting for BAPA members.  

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.