Dance Gallery Goes Virtual 

By Kristin Boza 

Finding creative, yet productive, ways to conduct online dance classes is a challenge Marylee Sinopoli, owner of Dance Gallery Chicago, accomplished. No matter what happens with the stay-at-home orders this summer, Sinopoli and her crew of dance teachers are prepared to continue offering virtual lessons to keep their dancers moving. 

“We began virtual classes on May 4 for a 6-week session. It’s going really well; I’m not very tech-savvy, but I’m getting the hang of it,” Sinopoli said. “It was so fun to see all the kids’ faces. They are all excited to continue dancing and they think Zoom classes are normal now.” 

Sinopoli realized that Zoom, a popular program to host live virtual classes and meetings, wasn’t very conducive for a dance class because the video quality tends to be poor. She began researching and found a better streaming platform, which offers a much higher quality video, thereby enhancing the ability of the instructors to aid their dancers online.  

“We’re initiating the new online streaming classes for our summer session, taking place June 22 through July 30,” Sinopoli said. “We’re hoping the children will be able to come into the building for summer classes, but if we can’t, we have a solid back-up plan in place. This new system is much more high-tech and it looks so much better on the screen.” 

The added bonus of the online streaming platform is that teachers can pre-record their class so students can attend at their leisure. Plus, they can teach for a full hour, versus the 40-minute time limit on Zoom. “But we will have to modify our classes, as it is too difficult to give intensive combinations to our high-level dancers because they have limited space at home,” Sinopoli said. “We are continuing to work on technique and essential skills while having fun.” 

Dance teachers have conducted their classes in their Dance Gallery studios, and the classes have been staggered to allow only two teachers in the building at one time to ensure proper social distancing. Currently, Dance Gallery is offering 15 classes, and many students are signing up for them. “I think parents are itching to get some regularity in their child’s life, Sinopoli said. 

Although virtual offerings are the norm nowadays, Sinopoli can’t help but feel sad for what the kids are missing. “We miss rehearsals and being backstage. Our dancers are missing a big trip and performance in New York City this year. All that is cancelled and it’s just been a bummer of a year,” she said. 

To sign up for a virtual drop-in class, which runs through June 11, or to sign up for the summer session, visit  


City Grange Plans May 9 Opening

The opening of the new City Grange location at 1818 W. 99th St. has been delayed by the pandemic, but hopes are they customers will be welcoming them to the neighborhood in spring.

The company has ramped up its website and restocked its inventory to offer shoppers flowering plants and herb, vegetable and fruit plant accompanied with online education – items that are on the top of the request list.

City Grange is bundling complete garden kits and online classes together to help anyone be successful. Online classes are taught by City Grange gardening pros, and are interactive, so students can ask questions.
Because growing our own food more top-of-mind right now, City Grange is offering a wide selection of certified organic herbs, fruit and vegetable plants online for safe curb-side pick-up at their north side store or delivery anywhere in Chicago.

City Grange also offers a range of products from organic potting soils and composts, as well as containers of all shapes and sizes for decks, porches, patios and yards. Shop online at

Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Update

As we all keep our social distance it’s more important than ever that we are a community of neighbors helping neighbors: check on one another, follow the common-sense rules for keeping yourself and others safe, and remember to support local businesses. Thank you to all medical people, first responders and others who are staying on the job to make sure our country keeps running. BAPA will keep sharing community information and updates in The Villager, in our weekly enews, on social media and at

 BAPA staff is currently working from home and can be reached via email: Mary Jo Viero, Executive Director,; Grace Kuikman, Assistant Director and Villager editor,; Brittany Wiley, Business Liaison,; Cathriona Fey, Community Outreach and Improvement,; Tina Jenkins Bell, School Liaison,; Gary Jenkins, Community Safety Liaison,; and Talie Leeb, office manager,  

BAPA Cares Resources

Now more than ever, businesses and community residents need access to resources that will help them weather the pandemic financially, physically and emotionally. The new BAPA Cares resources website provides links to a wide variety of local, city, state and federal programs that can provide the kind of help you need. Click here to connect.

Ways to Help

Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., needs donations of money and dry goods to meet increased emergency needs for people in 60643 and 60655. Needed are boxed cereal, canned chicken, tuna and salmon, bottled water and juice, pancake mix and pasta, as well as cleaning and hygiene products such as soap, disposable face masks, sanitizing wipes and diapers. Monetary donations also needed to purchase food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository; place cash and checks made out to Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry in sealed envelopes. Info: 773-239-3013 or Karen Overstreet

19th Ward Office staff and volunteers continue fundraising, organizing and delivering meals that are prepared by local restaurants for first responders, medical personnel and seniors. Support this ongoing effort through the GoFundMe

Turpin Cares is collecting food, hygiene products and donations to help homeless people and others in need in nearly communities. Find out what they need and how to donate

Get details and sign up for the Meal Train providing meals for OSF Little Company of Mary ICU, Emergency Room and Nursing Staff.

Quilters Trunk, 10352 S. Western, and 19th Ward Office are providing fabric to make face masks for medical personnel and first responders. Here is how it works:  Find plastic bags with 4 pieces of fabric (enough for 8 masks) in the blue tub that is being placed at The Quilter’s Trunk front door; make masks with two different fabrics (inside and outside); place completed masks back in the plastic bag and return them to the blue tub.  Questions?

At Beverly Bakery, 10528 S Western, the little food pantry in the front hall is open for those in need, accepting donations and giving food away, weekdays, 2 to 4 p.m. Beverly Bakery is also taking orders for carryout food weekdays until 1 p.m. Info: 773-238-5580.

Ways to Stay Healthy

Find teletherapy opportunities locally and learn about staying mentally healthy in The Villager

Telehealth services for those at risk of COVID-19 are available through OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center for people who show COVID-19 symptoms or are at a high risk for contracting the virus, but do not require emergency or inpatient care. To seek care through the program, call 833-673-5669. OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary also offers expert advice on staying well during the pandemic, including a live chat. Click here to access the website

Beverly Yoga Center is offering classes online through their website

Barre it All Fitness offers online classes at  and click “on demand access” to sign up.

Do Good Movement, daily yoga for adults and children at

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy offers a “virtual studio” option, Pilates and fitness classes 7 days a week, and physical therapy and telehealth appointments. Registration/info

Beverly Barre offers live Instagram workouts; get details at

Treadfit is posting workout challenges on Facebook,

Things to Do At a Distance

The Great Connections Beverly Discussion Group is now online to read and discuss excerpts from classic texts with powerful relevance to modern life. To join, RSVP Questions? Email Felicia or call 773-677-6418.

Chicago Public Schools remote learning continues. Visit your child’s school website, and .

Edna White Community Garden and Illinois Extension Master Gardeners will be planting gardens to supply fresh produce to the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry. Keep up on the details and learn how to volunteer at the Edna White Garden Facebook page

Chicago Public Library tutoring and homework assistance through Brainfuse, 2 to 11 p.m. A valid library card may be necessary to access services. Visit

The Chicago Police Department has compiled a list of Internet Safety tips for parents and school aged youth

Community Resources

The City of Chicago has a created a Coronavirus Response Center website to provide residents with access to the latest information on a range of topics regarding COVID-19.

19th Ward Service Offices, 773-238-8766 or

Get COVID-19 updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health at

Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Our restaurants and stores need your business! Purchase gift certificates, order carryout meals from restaurants, shop online. Dollars spent helping our business neighbors helps our community stay strong. BAPA is updating local business info If you have a business update, email info to Brittany Wiley, BAPA Business Liaison,

Food and Drink

For many of the following businesses, details about their hours and offerings are available on their Facebook pages.

County Fair Foods, 10800 S. Western, is open from 7 to 8 a.m. for senior shoppers only; all others can shop after 8.

Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St., is now limiting 10 customers at a time in the store. Curbside pickup and juice bar orders accepted via phone, 773-233-1856.

Markland Hubbard Gourmet Provisions, 1739 W. 99th St., 773-233-0632, is selling coffee by the cup or by the pound, as well as some pastries and gourmet packaged foods from Stonewall Kitchen and Frontier Soups. More about Markland Hubbard

 Ain’t She Sweet Café, Beverly, 773-840-3309. Carryout & Delivery through GrubHub.  Details

AndySunflower Café, 312-961-3171. Mobile, drive-up orders.

 Bani’s Beets, 773-599-9764. Curbside pickup and delivery.

Nine One One BBQ Shack, 773-238-9111. No-contact curbside delivery.

Americanos, 773-941-6787. No-contact curbside delivery and margaritas-to-go.

Original Rainbow Cone, 773-238-7075. Carry-out or delivery.

Waldo Cooney’s Pizza, 773-233-9781. Delivery.

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Curbside pick-up.

Horse Thief Hollow, 773-779-2739. Curbside pick-up Tues. through Sat., 4 to 9 p.m. New carryout menu.

 Nicky’s Grill, 773-233-3072. Carryout & delivery.

 Fox’s Beverly Pub, 773-239-3212. Carryout & delivery.

 Franconello, 773-881-4100. Curbside pickup and delivery.

Beverly Bakery and Café, 773-238-5580. Pick-up and delivery, until 1 p.m.

Calabria Imports, 773-396-5800. Curbside pickup and delivery, Mon through Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Manzo’s Burger was temporarily closed; check in at 773-779-5945 or

Swanson’s Deli, 2414 W. 103rd St., 773-239-1197, is open for pickup and delivery, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and is now offering meal kits along with regular menu and take home meals.

Open Outcry Brewing Co., 773-629-6055. Curbside pick-up and delivery.

 Two Mile Coffee Bar, 773-614-8115. Order over the phone for pick up (assistance available on request).

Ken’s on Western, 773-238-0234: Free delivery and curbside pick-up, 4 to 8 p.m.; daily specials in addition to the regular menu.

Top Notch, 773-445-7218. Carryout.

 Hearty Café, 773-881-1000 carry outs; delivery via Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub.

 Lume’s Pancake House, 773-233-2323.  Curbside pickup, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Barracos 95th Street, 773-881-4040. Area locations open 24 hours for carryout and delivery.

Business Services

SCORE mentor Kevin Scanlan is offering free virtual mentoring.  See Kevin’s profile here.  For more information, email

Support Local Businesses

Despite closures, businesses owners are staying connected with customers. Check out these options.

 Brach’s Auto Center, 10333 S. Western, provides all repair services with free vehicle pickup and drop off, no contact dropbox, and vehicle sanitization after service. Info: 773-238-0606 or

 Beverly Records, 773-779-0066. Shop via Facetime appointments.

 Turkey Chicago, 773-941-4751. Shop online or via social media.

 Belle Up, 773- 233-2442. Shop online or via social media.

Bookie’s – Chicago.  Shop online including digital and audio books.

Tranquility Salon.  Shop online.

Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western, opens Sat., May 2, 10 to 4 p.m., limit of 12 customers at a time for social distancing. Details on Facebook

City Grange Beverly will be opening May 9 at 1818 W. 99th Street, using social distancing with customers and delivery  Find more info on Facebook  or the website 

Running Excels, 773-629-8587. Curbside pickup and delivery within a 5 mile radius; regular store hours open. Details

C&D Family Farms offers products from some of the favorite vendors from the 95th Street Farmers Market on their website The opening of the market has been postponed until further notice, but items ordered through C&D will be delivered to Beverly/Morgan Park on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Check in at the 95th Street Farmers Market Facebook for updates.



Beverly Unitarian Church is offering worship services via Facebook on Sundays, 10:30 a.m. followed by Zoom coffee hour chat. Archived services are available on the church’s YouTube page).

Trinity United Methodist Church, offering services at and church Facebook, Sundays 9:30 a.m.

Morgan Park Presbyterian Church is offering video streaming and phone-in worship. Details

On The Spot: 3 ‘Foodies’ Name Favorite Neighborhood Sandwiches 

By Claire O’Malley 

Our neighborhood isn’t known for having fancy restaurants with white tablecloths and waiters in tuxedos, but you can certainly find a lot of great sandwiches here. Which sandwiches are the best? Because of how many sandwiches there are I knew I would have to narrow down the field. Since I don’t have much culinary experience, I asked three people known for their great taste who live in Beverly/Morgan Park what they consider to be the best sandwich around. I only had two rules: that the sandwich had to be an actual sandwich and it had to be something I can currently order on the restaurant’s menu.  

My first interview was with Alvin Green, who was born in Mississippi but grew up in Rochester, New York. Alvin is a self-trained chef with a degree in economics who learned to cook from his family. Alvin’s favorite Beverly/Morgan Park sandwich is the Fat Chef from Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S Western. I went to try the sandwich on a Sunday afternoon, and got to spend some time with the owner of Horse Thief Hollow, Neil Byers.  

The Fat Chef was created when the kitchen staff would throw a sandwich together with the leftovers from that day and it was so good, Neil decided to put it on the menu. The sandwich consists of pulled pork, smoked hot links and buttermilk coleslaw on a brioche bun. I’ve been to Horse Thief hundreds of times and I have never tried this sandwich before, but I will definitely get it again. It was delicious! 

My next interview was with Brendan Daley who was born and raised in Beverly/Morgan Park and still lives here today. Brendan is a manager at the Chicago Park district who bakes amazing pies and grills outside no matter the weather. His favorite sandwich is Da Steve from Ain’t She Sweet Cafe, 9920 S Western. Da Steve is a sandwich that has turkey, turkey ham and turkey bacon with melted cheese on a croissant. It also comes with giardiniera, but I had that on the side. This was the first time I’ve eaten at Ain’t She Sweet, and everyone was so nice! I will be going to eat there a lot more. 

My last interview was with Allie Bowles, who grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and came back a few years ago. Allie works in admissions and marketing at Morgan Park Academy, and she also teaches barre classes and does healthy meal planning for Barre It All Fitness.  

Allie started working in catering when she was in junior high and was hooked! She went to college to study hospitality management and culinary arts with a minor in marketing. Her favorite sandwich is the buffalo chicken wrap from Manzo’s, 2353 W 111th St. The wrap is delicious, but is super spicy! It has fresh vegetables and crispy chicken, served with a ranch dressing that is made in house by owner Umberto Manzo. Even though it was spicy, I loved this wrap so much and I would highly recommend it. 

Overall, I would say that these three sandwiches are some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. They are all very different, so it is hard to pick one favorite. Readers: What sandwich do you think I should have tried? What do you think is the best sandwich in Beverly/Morgan Park? 

Email your answers to with “sandwich” in the subject line.  

(The Villager’s teen correspondent, Claire O’Malley is an 8th grader in the Academic Center at Lindblom Math and Science Academy. Her interests include art and theatre, and she has been a student at Second City for several years.)  


Barre it All Offering Mom and Child Yoga 

By Kristin Boza 

Yoga is known as an amazing workout and stress reliever, for both adults and children. Barre it All Fitness, 3202 W. 111th St., introduced Mother/Child Yoga classes to help moms connect with their children while engaging in a fitness practice that promotes mind/body wellness. Children should be at least five years old, or able to handle staying in a designated area for close to an hour, to participate with their moms in the class. 

“The benefits of offering a class for moms and their children are endless, with the biggest benefit being connection,” said Kelly Lucio, founder of Barre It All. “We live in a world where we are constantly distracted by electronics; this class gives parents and their children an opportunity to disconnect from the world for a full 50 minutes.” 

Lucio got the idea for mother/child yoga classes from her cousin, who posted the idea to Moms of Beverly and Moms of Mt. Greenwood Facebook pages to gauge interest. More than 100 moms said they would love to see a mom/child yoga option in the community. 

“This concept really took off in our community and spun into classes for birthday parties, sports teams, and Brownie troops,” Lucio said. “All of the classes and parties have been a positive experience for all. 

Mindfulness is a big part of yoga, and especially in the stressful times our country is experiencing now, participating in yoga will benefit moms and kids in numerous ways.  

“We teach participants about the power of your breath. No matter how crazy life gets, we can always come back to our breath!” Lucio said. “Meditation and mindfulness have real benefits and can reduce both stress and anxiety, which are both things that adults and children can suffer from. By teaching these techniques early on to children and teens, they become more resilient and we are better equipped to handle the potential challenges that life throws at them.” 

Lucio hopes to be back in the studio in April. However, if the studio must still be closed due to the “stay at home” directive, she intends to live stream the mother/child yoga classes online. Stay informed and follow them on Instagram (Barre_It_All_LLC_Fitness) and Facebook ( 

“The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. To see moms hold hands with their children in poses or during shivasana (a mindfulness practice), just warms my heart!” Lucio said. 

To sign up, visit To schedule a private event, email Kelly Lucio at 



Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Responding to the coronavirus requires us to maintain a safe distance – not what we’re used to in our close-knit, sociable community. Even from home we can work together to make it through these unprecedented times and stay informed on what is changing and what is needed. Below is a list of Beverly/Morgan Park restaurants offering carry outs & delivery and businesses offering special ways to shop. 

For many of the following businesses, details about their hours and offerings are available on their websites or Facebook pages.

County Fair Foods, 10800 S. Western, is open from 7 to 8 a.m. for senior shoppers only; all others can shop after 8.

Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St., is open. Reach them on Facebook or at Offering groceries as well as a variety of beauty and healthcare products.


Ain’t She Sweet Café, Beverly, 773-840-3309. Carryout and delivery through Grubhub. Details

Beverly Bakery & Café, 773-238-5580. Carryout and Delivery. 7am-2pm Weekdays, 7am-1pm Weekends. Details

Barney Callaghan’s Pub -773.233.6829 – open 3pm – 7pm for curbside beer pickup.  $15 domestic cases, $25 import cases.

Horse Thief Hollow, 773-779-2739. Carryout and free local delivery Tuesday-Sunday 4PM-9PM, 25% off Crowlers on Tuesdays, merchandise available for purchase. Details

Open Outcry Brewing Co., 773-629-6055. daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., delivery or curbside pickup. Order 32-oz Crowler cans, kitchen menus items, gift certificates and merchandise. Credit card only.  Details

Swanson’s Deli, 773.239.1197 – open for pickup and delivery 10am – 3pm.  Now offering meal kits along with regular menu and take home meals. Details.

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Carryouts, curbside pickup. Details

Nine One One BBQ Shack, 773-238-9111. No-contact curbside delivery. Carryout. Facebook page 

Top Notch, 773-445-7218. Carryout.

Barracos 95th Street, 773-881-4040. Area locations open 24 hours for carryout and delivery.  Details

AndySunflower Cafe: 9920 S. Western Ave. Accepting mobile, drive-up orders. Details

Manzo’s Burger – 773.779.5945 – open for curbside pickup and delivery – For delivery orders please text your order and address to 773-349-0453. We will be delivering from 95th st. to 127th st. from Pulaski to Ashland  Details

Nicky’s Grill, 773-233-3072. Carry out and delivery. Details and menu

Ken’s on Western, 773-238-0234. Free delivery within 2 miles or curbside pick-up, 4 to 9 p.m. Details

Calabria Imports, 773-396-5800. carry out or delivery. Details

Fox’s Beverly Pub, 773-239-3212. Carryout and delivery, lunch and dinner. Details

Americano’s, 773-941-6787. 11060 S. Western Ave. No-contact curbside delivery and Margaritas-To-Go! Details

Franconello, 773-881-4100.  Curbside pickup and delivery, heat and serve meals and sauces. Wine Delivery Details

Bani’s Beets, 773- 599-9764. Curbside pick up and delivery. Details

Hearty Café, 773-881-1000 carry outs; delivery via Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub. Details

Two Mile Coffee Bar, 773-614-8115. Available for carry out. Place an order over the phone or through mobile ordering system for rapid pick up. Curbside assistance available upon request. Details

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Pay and order over the phone for curbside pick-up. Details

Retail Specials

Beverly Records, 773-779-0066. Shop via Facetime appointments or in store. Details

Running Excels, 773-629-8587. Shop by phone or by FB messenger. Curbside pickup contactless payment and free delivery within a 5 mile radius. Details 

Turkey Chicago. Shop online or via social media.  Details

Belle Up, 773- 233-2442. Shop online or via social media.  Details

Bookie’s – Chicago is open for shopping online including digital and audio books.

Steuber Florist 773.238.2013 – taking orders 10am-2pm Monday-Friday

Brach’s Auto – 773.238.0606 – All services available, FREE vehicle pickup and drop off, no contact dropbox, vehicle sanitization after service


Businesses Temporarily Closed

Beverly Arts Center 

Ohana Ice & Treats

Original Pancake House, 773-445-6100

Capsule Chicago

Starbucks 103rd and Longwood Drive

Health and Fitness

Do Good Movement: Daily adult and children yoga. Details

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy: Posting daily workout challenges on Facebook: Details

Beverly Barre: Live Instagram workouts: Details 

Beverly Yoga Center: Online classes available: Details

Treadfit: Posting workout challenges on Facebook, Details

Barre It All Fitness, (872) 256-1397, 8-10 online live classes a day Sunday-Monday. For details and a free week visit us Here and click “free trial.”

Fit Code: Unlimited Virtual Training Sessions for 21 days with a donation of your choice. 70% of the donation used to buy gift cards from local businesses and 30% goes to trainers at Fit Code. Details

Dance Gallery 773.445.8910 Streaming workouts and dance classes on Facebook Details


Mental Health

Beverly Therapists – 773.310.3488 – offering teletherapy

Begin Within Therapy– offering teletherapy

Mirjam Quinn & Associates – offering teletherapy

C&D Family Farms has made arrangements with a few 95th Street farmers market vendors to distribute their products on their website. Coming soon at will be products from Honey and Jam, Feed Your Head vegan meats, Long Table pancake mixes and bread from Breadman Baking.

Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Our restaurants and stores need your business! Purchase gift certificates, order carryout meals from restaurants, shop online. Dollars spent helping our business neighbors helps our community stay strong. BAPA is updating local business info on this page. If you have a business update, please email info to Brittany Wiley, BAPA Business Liaison,

Infographic with 25 ways to support small businesses



Nicky’s Adds to Western Avenue Landscape

By Kristin Boza 

The Western Avenue landscape will be changing over the coming months, as Nicky’s Grill and Yogurt builds a fresh new restaurant on the corner of 105th StreetPaul Kostopanagiotou, owner of the popular eatery now located at 103rd and Western, says the new space will double the seating capacity of his longtime spot and will include outdoor patio options and, eventually, roof top seating. 

Kostopanagiotou and his team of architects and designers are keeping two walls of the existing building on the lot, but pairing them with a unique design utilizing shipping containers.  

“I’ve spent a lot of time visiting other restaurants made from shipping containers and looking at pictures of this type of construction from around the world. We’ve been researching and working on the design, and are lucky to have sourced the shipping containers from a company in Dixmoor, IllinoisI love the corrugated container look, and I think the final design will be really eye-catching,” he said.  

After working with the city to finalize the plans, Kostopanagiotou decided to stack two shipping containers on top of each other for the main part of the building. A single shipping container on another side of the building will allow for roof top seating. 

“The building will be made up of five total containers; four will be stacked, and one will be the ‘ground level’ container with stairs from the outside leading to the roof. While the roof top won’t be open right away once construction is completed, we will have a full outdoor seating area for families to enjoy,” he said. 

Nicky’s has always been known as a place for quick, fresh food that welcomes families. The vision for the new restaurant includes a liquor license for beer and wine, including a special brew from neighbor Horse Thief Hollow to be sold exclusively at Nicky’s.  

“Nicky’s is a quick service restaurant, but even if you only have 20 minutes or so, you should still enjoy it. We want families to come and hang out and enjoy a meal,” Kostopanagiotou said. 

The new restaurant building continues the trend started by other businesses that engaged in big remodels on Western Avenue 

“I’m focused on getting the corner of 105th and Western to look really nice. I’ve been here for 20 years and I’m comfortable making this investment because Beverly completely supports small businesses; people here really keep their money here,” Kostopanagiotou said. “Neil (Byers) at Horse Thief Hollow started it on Western Avenue, then Open Outcry did it, and Swanson’s as well. Our thought is if we invest on Western in the footsteps of others, then somebody else is going to do something too.” 

Ground breaking is expected to be in mid-March, with a grand opening in this summer. In the meantime, Nicky’s will be open at its original location, 10255 S. Western Ave.  

“I can really feel the energy from our customers; everyone is so supportive and it makes me feel confident that we made the right move,” Kostopanagiotou said. 


What’s the SCORE? 

By Kevin Scanlan 
Certified SCORE Mentor 

Legalized Recreational Marijuana Challenges for Employers 

The Cannabis Act, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for residents in Illinois over 21 years of age, went into effect on Jan. 1. Individuals can possess 30 grams of marijuana flower (buds) and 5 grams of marijuana concentrate for their personal use.  

The Act provides the most extensive workplace protections for employers of any marijuana legalization statute in the country. (NOTE: the following is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice). 

The Cannabis Act is a State law. Use of recreational marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level and companies receiving federal funding or contracts should confirm the impact of this State law on their ability to continue to receive Federal fundingFYI, SCORE is the resource partner of the Small Business Administration, a federal agency. Since a portion of our funding comes from the SBA, SCORE mentors are not allowed to work with clients who want to start a recreational Cannabis business in Illinois.  

The Act does not require employers to permit an employee to be under the influence of or use cannabis in the workplace or while performing the employee’s job duties or when “on call, as long as the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. 

The Act also amends the Right to Privacy Act which prohibits employers from restricting employee use of “lawful products” away from work. For example, if an employee ingests marijuana legally in Illinois while off-duty but the employer has a drug-free workplace and the employee tests positive for marijuana as a result of a random drug test, the Act should allow the employer to take disciplinary action against employee as per their drug-free workplace policy. 

The Act defines when an employer may consider an employee to be impaired or under the influence and allows an employer to discipline an employee based on a good faith belief that the employee is under the influence or impaired. The Act identifies a number of symptoms an employer can consider to support its good faith belief of impairment. Employers should give strong consideration to training supervisors on marijuana-related impairment signs and procedures to follow as a result.  The Act provides specific symptoms to look for when making a determination that an employee is “impaired” or “under the influence” of marijuana. 

The employer must allow the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination. Employers are urged to establish a written procedure for employees to contest a cannabis-based disciplinary decision. 

This legislation takes employers into unchartered waters. No matter what actions are taken, there will likely be legal challenges which will need to be decided by a State court of law. 

City Grange Holiday Pop-up Shop 

‘Nature is beautiful’ is the mantra of City Grange founder and president LaManda Joy. The successful north side social-enterprise gardening center is popping up at Joplin Marley, 9911 S. Walden Pkwy., on Fridays (4 to 8 p.m.), Saturdays (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Sundays (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) through Sun., Dec. 15 

Seasonal greens, wreaths, garlands, cut floral, holiday containers, and other natural home décor items will be available to help spruce up holiday home decorating. City Grange will also offer two Sunday afternoon classes for people looking to create their own greenery containers. These free classes require an RSVP and will teach attendees how to decorate their own sustainable containers at home by helping them discover how to pair greens with accessories, selecting the right container and more.  

The mission of City Grange is to focus on organic and pesticide-free plant material, education and community-building. It’s first location at 5500 N. Western opened in April 2019, and Joy expects to open a second location in Beverly/Morgan Park in spring. “We’ve had many visitors from Beverly at our north side location, and they always tell us to come down to Beverly. I met with Caroline Connors (of the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association), and we started to fall in love with Beverly,” Joy said. “We’ve been really welcomed here. Garden centers are destinations, and it’s important to make solid partnerships with the community. My vision is that the City Grange brand will support the community, which in turn supports nature, and ultimately supports human well-being through a relationship with nature.” 

Joy is very conscious about supplying organic and pesticide-free plants and materials, and also combats excessive plastic packaging from her suppliers as much as possible. The outdoor winter containers are made of wood, and all elements of the arrangements will be completely compostable and natural for a nature-based decorating experience.  

Visit the City Grange Facebook page to register for a complimentary winter container class.  

What‘s the SCORE? 

By Kevin Scanlan 
Certified SCORE Mentor 

In my October column I wrote about the SCORE Virtual Conference on Start Up Success that was planned for November.  I hope area entrepreneurs had an opportunity to participate. I did and found several of the presentations very helpful.  One in particular was on Financial Dashboards, tool that helps businesses manage their financials. This topic comes up regularly in my mentoring. 

Here’s some highlights from that virtual conference session: 

Fifty percent of small business fail within the first five years. A contributing factor to failure is not keeping an eye on the financials. You don’t need to be an accountant to understand the basics of business accounts.   

Three questions form the basis of reviewing your financial performance — these are the financial benchmarks that make up a traditional Financial Dashboard. 1. Are you making profit? 2.  Do you have enough cash to run the business?  3. Is the business building wealth or destroying it?  

These questions can be answered by looking at three key financial gauges of your businessNet income (profit), cash flow statement and balance sheet (net worth). They are summed up in these equations: 

Net income: Revenues – the cost of goods sold = gross margin (typical target 30%+). Gross margin:  Fixed costs  variable costs – taxes = net income. 

Cash flow: Beginning cash + cash added  cash paid out = ending cash balance. (Revenue and cash are not the same). 

Net worth: Assets – liabilities owners equity. 

(Kevin Scanlan is available to discuss how SCORE might help you start or grow your business.  Meetings are held by appointment at the Beverly Area Planning Association office, 1987 W. 111th St. You can reach him at