Best of #1: Best Delivery Entrepreneurs 

By Kristin Boza 

Small business owners have been getting really creative lately. A new brand of small business has taken Beverly/Morgan Park by storm: small batch food and cocktail delivery. These home cooks, chefs, and mixologists featured in our first “Best of” series are some of the coolest new delivery entrepreneurs in our community. Be prepared to break all of your New Year’s resolutions with some good eats and tasty cocktails. 

Steering Cocktails: Handcrafted, Unique Drinks 

Lizzy Benner, owner of Steering Cocktails, is well-known for her creative cocktail work at local bars, restaurants and events. She started cocktailing for home Christmas parties in 2018 as a side job to her regular bartending. Like many in the service industry, Benner lost her event coordinator job when Covid hit. Luckily, she was able to focus on Steering Cocktails with cocktail-making demos and home delivery.  

“I realized this is the perfect time for Steering Cocktails because everyone’s stuck at home,” Benner said. “I started creating cocktails, made with my homemade signature liqueurs, and delivering them to people’s homes.” 

The premise of Steering Cocktails is to provide everything a host needs for the most fabulous cocktail party ever. Small batch, handcrafted cocktails are her specialty, and she was a staple at the socially distanced events held at Edna White Garden this summer. Benner has two beds at the garden dedicated to growing herbs for her cocktails.  

“The Edna White events brought so much awareness to the garden and all that we do. We were able to bring the community together and do socially distanced parties with live music, which also put musicians to work during this tough time,” Benner said.  

Benner offers Zoom demos on building the best of her signature cocktails, complete with a cocktail kit for $45, making it the perfect stay-at-home date night. Since she makes all of her own liqueurs for the drink concoctions, her cocktails are the absolute most exclusive drink in town. 

“Are You Ready for a Brand-New Beat” is one of Benner’s favorite signature cocktails; it’s a take on a Summer Old Fashioned and includes bourbon, homemade honey/Meyer lemon liqueur, homemade pink peppercorn, Meyer lemon gin bitters, topped with a garnish of pink peppercorn and Meyer lemon peel. Her other favorite is “Peace Without Illusions” consisting of gin, mandarins and lemon sage, homemade rose hip and Bergamot liqueur topped with prosecco.  

Coming up next: Benner hopes to take the show on the road, literally, by outfitting a cocktail truck to cruise to neighborhood parties in style. Find out more, book a virtual cocktail demo, staff an event, or order a batch of craft cocktails by visiting Steering Cocktails on Facebook and Instagram. 

The Soup Nancy: Yes, Soup for You! 
Nancy McGourty launched The Soup Nancy in Octoberher business name a play on the iconic Soup Nazi character on “Seinfeld.” For the last six years, McGourty dabbled with the idea of selling her fresh, homemade soups and finally took the leap to satisfy soup lovers around the neighborhood. She partnered with another neighborhood resident, Donna Somerville of Somerville Design, to create her adorable logo — a strong woman based on Rosie the Riveter holding a soup ladle.  

“Since we’re all huddled up in our homes, we may as well have something cozy to eat!” McGourty said. “While I consider myself an overall very good cook, I have a particular affinity for soup making; I even recall my now grown son saying ‘Mom, can we please have something that I can eat with a fork?’ I believe soup is good food and we should all drink it in. 

Each one of McGourty’s soups is made from scratch. She tackles her weekly soup making process in stages. “One day I shop, another day I make the stock, and on Fridays I prep by chopping vegetables. Saturdays are for assembling and cooking the soup and delivery or pick-up is Sunday or Monday.” She makes her own stock fresh without the added boxed broths and never freezes the soup — it’s always delivered fresh. She makes approximately 45 quarts each week – that’s 400 quarts sold since October.  

Two unique soups are created each week based on her cooking mood. The options are noted on her website and social media pages every Sunday night; orders are due by 5 p.m. each Wednesday and the cost is $10 per quart with a delivery fee of $2.50“I’ve been sold out most weeks, so it’s best to get orders in early,” she said. “The community response has been great, and I already have several regular customers. I’m always open to suggestions and will consider them all.” 

Her favorite soups are those with velvety textures, like butternut squash, but she also makes a killer toasted garlic broth-based soup. “I’m just trying to offer a good variety. I offer everything from vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free soups to those with full fat and lots of butter and cream,” McGourty said.  

Place an order at The-Soup-Nancy.com, and follow The Soup Nancy on Facebook and Instagram to find out each week’s soup delicacies.  

Fancypants Boards: Bountiful Flavors on One Charcuterie Board 

million combinations of flavors in one space, Samantha Rossi’s charcuterie boards are delightfully delicious. Rossi, a classically trained chef, launched Fancypants Boards in October, delivering morsels of goodness and handcrafted accoutrements to neighborhood living rooms.  

After working as a chef for a decade and transitioning to specialty food sales, Rossi enjoys spending time in the kitchen. However, a life-changing event turned the trajectory of her career. When her daughter was born at 24 weeks and spent four months in the NICU, Rossi realized her true calling was to become a NICU nurse with one semester to go before graduation.  

“We all have these daytime jobs that we really care about, but there is that one creative outlet that we need; Fancypants Boards is my passion project that allows me to be creative,” Rossi said. “I intended to start small and my first weekend I did 30 boards, and it hasn’t slowed down since.” 

Rossi pays particular attention to the cheeses included on the boards, and all the board are created based on what she’s feeling that weekend. There are always three cheeses, a few types of meat, fresh or dried fruit, and two types of accoutrement that she makes herself.  

“I always choose to add something sweet and something pickled on every board, and my favorites include pickled asparagus, pickled green beans, butternut squash mustard, and tomato jam,” she said. “If you take a tour around the board, you can find a million combinations; there’s nothing that doesn’t belong with each item.” 

Three sizes are offered: the “Mind Your Business” serves one for $25; “Charcuterie and Chill” serves four as a snack or two for dinner for $40; and “Friends Forever” serves eight as a snack or four for dinner for $55.  

Rossi chooses sustainable boards, so there is no plastic to throw away after the food is devoured. She’s used fallen palm leaves in the past and is currently working with recycled wood pulp that is molded like a cafeteria tray 

Each week, a Google form is uploaded to her Facebook and Instagram pages with the week’s charcuterie flavors. Orders are due by midnight each Thursday and she delivers on Saturdays and Sundays. “The community response has been incredible! We moved to Beverly not too long ago and we didn’t know anyone. Through different neighborhood Facebook groups, I’ve been able to meet so many nice neighbors,” Rossi said.  

Follow Fancypants Boards on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on this week’s charcuterie board flavors. 

 

 

The Quilter’s Trunk – A Pillar of Our Community 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

The Quilter’s Trunk, 10352 S. Western, a quilting, sewing and embroidery boutique, has been serving the area since 2015.  Over the course of those 5 years, owner Katie Nathwani has created a “peaceful, colorful and friendly place” where customers have become a family. 

Nathwani’s family lives all over the country, so connecting with her customers and her community has been of the utmost importance to her.  When the pandemic began, the need for PPE was high, one of her customers who works at OSF Little Company of Mary Hospital asked for help and Nathwani agreed.  They began collecting masks at the store to bring to the hospital.  And the sewing community responded generously. 

As the need for distribution grew, Nathwani reached out to the 19th Ward office for help.  Ald. Matt O’Shea stepped up and subsidized the cost of mask kits.  So Nathwani created a mask pattern, posted it on The Quilter’s Trunk website, and put kits in a tub outside the store door.  People from all over picked up the kits and brought back finished masks for essential workers.  Together they made and distributed over 6,000 masks. 

The pandemic forced Nathwani to “change the business to support the community.” And her efforts were recognized. The Quilter’s Trunk was recently awarded the Synchrony Pillars Project Award. The Synchrony Pillars Project is a celebration of small business leaders who make a difference in their communities by changing what’s possible for their businesses and their neighbors.   

The Quilter’s Trunk’s ability to help transcends maskmaking.  Sewing is a therapeutic activity and customers have developed their own support network.  “Through the pandemic, the riots, the election cycle – when you feel like the world is going crazy; to have a therapeutic activity and provide good for the world is grounding,” said Nathwani.  The business and its customers have worked together toward a common goal for the good of this community.   

Nathwani wants everyone to feel comfortable shopping at The Quilter’s Trunk, whether you are new to sewing or extremely skilled. The store stock products for people on any budget. Customers are constantly praising them in reviews for their kindness, helpfulness, friendly nature and quality of products. 

Support this pillar of our community this holiday season. The Quilter’s Trunk will be putting together a collection of gift ideas at different price points.  They also give customers the opportunity to create wish lists at the shop for their loved ones.   

Curbside, email and phone orders are available for those who cannot visit the store.  Keep an eye out for their virtual classes beginning soonwww.thequilterstrunk.com/virtual-events 

A New Generation of Dancers 

By Kristin Boza 

When you think of dance in Beverly/Morgan Park, Marylee Sinopoli and her studio, Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western, come to mind. For more than 20 years, Sinopoli and her team have taught dance — along with grace, poise, and patience — to little ones and mature ones alike.  

One of the greatest compliments for any teacher is to begin instructing her former students’ children. Two former Dance Gallery students are now dance moms for their own little girls who are learning the art in the same place they did.  

“We are honored and blessed to have two legacy dancers with us,” Sinopoli said. “These moms danced with me many years ago and now wish to continue the spirit and love of dance with their own children.” 

Melodie Henton got into dance because of her mother’s influence, and now she’s imparting that same wisdom to her daughter, Yakira 

“My favorite memories as a dancer was the enthusiasm of Miss Mary; she was full of energy, excitement, and encouragement,” Henton said. “I was inspired to return to the Dance Gallery with my daughter because of the impact Miss Mary made on my life; I didn’t become a professional dancer, but the importance of poise and femininity has stuck with me. I am so excited for Yakira’s journey at the Dance Gallery. 

Dainya Little danced at the Dance Gallery from the ages of 7 to 18, and the highlight was performing two solos at the studio’s recital her senior year.  

“I loved the lifelong skills and techniques I learned from the Dance Gallery and I wanted my daughter, Daleia, to have the same opportunity,” Little said. “Dance Gallery is unique because of the skilled teachers, the technique that is taught to girls at such a young age, and the diverse environment.” 

Sinopoli is amazed when she hears about the impact she and the Dance Gallery have had on her former and current students. “You go day after day doing your job and you just don’t realize how many people you impact,” she said. “I am so blessed to be able to do this in my own neighborhood and I love this wonderful little community that I helped create. It’s amazing when I see generations coming back.” 

During the pandemic, the Dance Gallery has been able to remain open due to the diligence of the families and the protocols in place. The winter session begins Jan. 4; register at DanceGalleryChicago.com.   

Novel Idea: Bookies Launches T-Shirt Fundraiser 

 

Browsing in Bookies. It’s a pastime a lot of neighbors have missed since the pandemic forced the bookstore to close for several months. Owner Keith Lewis has reopened the store on a limited basis (yay!) and is hoping his novel idea for a Bookies apparel fund raiser will appeal to his customers and help him recoup some of the revenue lost during the extended store closure 

Bookies t-shirts ($24)longsleeve-shirts ($27) and hoodies ($36.50 designed by artists with a local connection will be on sale online until Nov. 15 at bookies2020.itemorder.com/saleOrders will be shipped the week of Nov. 23.  

Artists whose designs are printed on the shirts are Beverly/Morgan Park residents Kristen Dobbins and Nate Otto and former South Sider Mairead Zigulich. Lewis met the artists through the Beverly Art Walk and Ridge Park Art Fair.  

Kristen Dobbins is a graphic designer by day and a fine artist by night, which explains her interests and work revolving around typography, lines, and shapes. She serves on the board for the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, helping with design work and organizing events.  

Nate Otto is an artist, illustrator, and muralist based in Chicago. His work occupies its own lane somewhere between the worlds of folk art, street art, lowbrow art, and contemporary fine art. His paintings and drawings are ruminations on urban life and landscape and stylistic explorations into what he dubs “whateveriwanttodoism.” 

Mairead Zigulich’s works depict aspects of the human portrait that are expressed through bright colors and intricate lines. She draws inspiration from studying the unconscious mind. She currently lives in Colorado.  

I loved all their work,” Lewis said. “So I asked, and they wanted to help save their local bookstore — Mairead grew up shopping at Bookie’s.” The shirts are black with the artists’ designs on the front and the Bookie’s book-and-star logo on the back. “They look fantastic,” Lewis added. 

Bookies, 10324 S. Western, is restocking for the holidays, including Hearth & Hammer candles, children’s books and puzzles. Current hours are Tues., Wed., Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thurs., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.   

 

 

 

Salons of Beverly

By Brittany Wiley 

BAPA Business Liaison 

As we enter into a time of overscheduling, celebrations and lastminute shopping, it’s easy to put self-care on the backburner. But especially after the shock we’ve all gone through this year and the harsh winter approaching, it’s important to prioritize – and pamper — ourselves. We are lucky to have an array of salon and spa destinations in the neighborhood to meet and exceed all our needs. They help us take care of our outer selves and heal our inner selves.  

Everything’s Relative:  

Restore, Energize, Vitalize 

There’s no question that Joan Each Rowan, owner of Everything’s Relative10548 S. Western, has gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of her clients and staff this year. She installed glass partitions between salon stations and shampoo bowls, staff consistently disinfects, and makes sure everyone is properly masked, and clients get  temperature checks upon arrival.  

When Phase 4 began, facials were reintroduced as a treatment option. Many people are nervous about treatments that require close proximity, but Everything’s Relative is making facials as safe as possible. Aveda-trained aestheticians wear masks, gloves and face shields while clients get pampered in a private room. Facials are customized depending upon your personal needs. The salon uses Aveda products which are plantpowered and botanicallybased.  

If you’re not quite ready to lower that mask, there are plenty of other options to take advantage of at Everything’s Relative.  During phase 3, Rowan began offering eye treatments as an alternative to facials. You can relax with your mask up for one of the three options: Restore to “boost natural collagen production to minimize lines and wrinkles,” Energize to “diminish puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles” or Vitalize to “brighten and leave the skin around the eyes glowing and hydrated. Book these treatments for only $30 by calling 773-941-6565 or requesting an appointment online at everythingsrelativesalon.com. 

 

Tranquility Salon: 

Create, Connect, Clarify 

At Tranquility Salon, 9908 S. Walden Pkwy., owner Katie Barba Schickel and her sister Meg’n Barba, have created a “raw, spacious and naturally lit space” while offering contemporary services for their clients. Tranquility is not only a salon, it’s a space that cultivates creativity and connection between artists, businesses and neighbors, promoting healing through the products they carry and the relationships they build with their clients.  

Schickel believes that after all the suffering this year, we need a place and connection that provide a therapeutic experience. Tranquility is all about “caring for outer selves and inner selves.”  

Their new CBD line, Blossom Wellness, is used “to boost immunity, mood and brain health.” The Bliss Blend combines full spectrum CBD oil and functional mushrooms. The blend of cannabinoids and terpenes can work synergistically to alleviate stress, anxiety, inflammation related pain, and more. Lion’s Mane, often referred to as  “the brain mushroom,” can improve clarity, focus, and memory,” while Reishi mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to calm the mind and slow down the aging process.  

Tranquility Salon also incorporates the use of CBD in scalp treatments. These treatments are perfect way to treat yourself this winter. Cold weather tends to dry out skin and can make your scalp flake and itch. These treatments can regulate scalp health to help with these ailments. They also stimulate hair growth and provide a very relaxing experience. You can book this service for $60; visit tranquilitysaloncompany.com or call 7732988901. 

Color Me Beauty Bar 

Natural, Safe, Upscale 

Color Me Beauty Bar, 1810 1/2 W. 99th St., is owned by Kimberly Buford and Dr. Angelique Jackson. It is a premier nail and skincare boutique spa that “aims to use products with ingredients that are made from plant and fruit sources, ensuring ingredients that are natural, safe, vegan, and environmentally friendly” for their beauty treatments.  

Buford’s 20+ years of experience as a nail technician is truly highlighted in the manicure and pedicure bar. The trendy and upscale space includes high back settees and plush bar seats for ultimate comfort in a stylish setting. Healthy nail care is of utmost importance, but they also offer trendy nail designs. 

Beginning Nov. 12, Color Me Beauty will offer special manicure/pedicure treatments specifically designed to care for your skin during harsh weather. They have also integrated fun, seasonal ingredients to elevate the experience even more.  

The spiced cider pumpkin mani/pedi is $80 and includes a soak, scrub, mask and massage. The pumpkin and cinnamon duo is designed to gently remove keratinized dead skin cells, relieve dry cracked skin, soften top layers of skin to reveal younger and smoother skin.  

The apple cinnamon mani/pedi is accompanied by an in-house spa detox apple cinnamon refresher to help boost immunity during the winter. The treatment features kokum butter, which helps prevent dry skin, heal fissures on hands and soles of feet, and regenerate skin cells. 

Book appointments for these and other treatments at colormebeautybar.com or 7739418349. 

Western Avenue Revitalization: Adjustments in the Midst of the Pandemic  

By Cathriona Fey  
BAPA Community Outreach & Improvement 

After hitting the pause button almost eight months ago due to COVID-19, local volunteer organizations, residents and business owners are regrouping to continue the work needed to advance planning and design initiatives focused on improving economic vitality and accessibility along Western Avenue.  

This community-led initiative is part of National Main Street Center’s UrbanMain program. UrbanMain offers technical assistance and support for community-driven economic development plans in under-resourced, older and historic neighborhood commercial districts in order to restore economic vitality and promote quality of life. The project is led locally by the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association (MPBHBA). Halted by a global pandemic, MPBHBA and committee volunteers returning to the project are now tasked with adjusting previously developed strategies to take into account the current economic situation as a result of the pandemic. 

In September, the MPBHBA was presented with the National Main Street’s Transformation Strategy Report for Western Avenue. Informed by a site visit covering Western Avenue (99th Street to 111th Street), over 900 community survey responses, current market and demographic data, and workshops with committee volunteers, the report identifies the need for a safer, more family-friendly and commercially diverse Western AvenueNewly added to the report, is a COVID-19 Impacts and Trends section, highlighting how events like the pandemic force shifts in the economy 

Our community has seen some of Main Street’s recommendations implemented at businesses not only along Western Avenue, but throughout Beverly/Morgan Park. Our business community was forced to pivot, exploring news ways to do business, new products to sell, and new experiences to keep customers engaged. For example, Open Outcry’s carry-out storefront, Belle Up Boutique’s weekly Instagram lives, Two Mile Coffee’s mobile ordering system, Treadfit’s virtual fitness classes, and Horse Thief Hollow’s colorful new outdoor patio area all prove how local businesses have adjusted to the recent economic changes and restrictions 

With individual businesses doing their best to evolve with current conditions, there is now a need to focus on overall place management and the experience residents and visitors have when on the community’s “Main Street.”     

The National Main Street’s Transformation Strategy Report states, “Place management will rely much more on telling our story in order to fully recover… While consumers are likely to continue to focus on essentials rather than wants in the near term, long term commerce cannot serve as a replacement for what humans need and crave: connection to people, place, and products that speak to their individualistic nature.” Creating a place people want to come to, feel safe, spend money and support local businesses is essential to the long-term viability of a commercial district. The UrbanMain Western Avenue Revitalization project provides the opportunity to create such a place. As the UrbanMain committee volunteers reconvene this month, place management and adjusting previously developed strategies to meet the needs of a changed economy and new business climate will be high priority.  

“We don’t know what those new strategies will be, but I feel confident that the smart, engaged people on the various committees will have some great ideas,” said Caroline Connors, Executive Director of the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association. With most all of the original committee volunteers returning, Connors said there is always interest to bring on additional volunteers.  

The Western Avenue Revitalization Project is funded through an UrbanMain grant that was awarded to the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association in 2019. If you are interested in volunteering or have additional questions regarding the Project, contact Caroline Connors, cconners918@gmail.com. 

 

 

Business News: Eat Out to Help Out Campaign 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

Restaurants have been one of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic. The people in this community, BAPA, the business associations and Ald. Matt O’Shea have been doing all they can to help support them.  But what will happen when the weather turns cold? 

Restaurants like Ken’s, Americanos, Open Outcry and Horse Thief Hollow have put so much energy and effort into their outdoor spaces to continue operating at a higher capacity through the summer months. Barney Callaghan’s created an outdoor patio and partnered with Swanson’s Deli to add food service. As the nights get cooler and outdoor dining is less available, some patrons will stop eating out altogether and some will want to head inside. 

In Chicago, unlike the remainder of Illinois, eateries only allowed to operate at 25% capacity indoors, while the rest of the state is at 50% capacity. This is especially hard for our Beverly/Morgan Park restaurants, whose suburban competitors only blocks away are legally able to welcome more patrons. 

What can we do? Eat out to help out. Continue to frequent these cornerstones of our community. Make reservations. Dine with your loved ones.   

If you’re uncomfortable eating inside what can you do to help? Immediately we think: order takeout. But is that enough? The costs that local restaurants incurred building the outdoor dining spaces and changing the way they operate are high.  Takeout orders generally bring in less revenue than dining in where people order beverages, appetizers or desserts. When you order takeout, add a growler of beer, a to-go cocktail or a bottle of wine. Skip the plastic silverware and napkins (you’re eating at home!) Make sure you add a tip, you’re still getting wait service. These places and the people who work there are counting on us. 

Together with Caroline Connors, Executive Director of Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, BAPA will be launching a new campaign called Eat Out to Help Out. This campaign will continue to remind our community to support local restaurants as we head into the colder months.    

Local restaurants aren’t just places where we can order food. They foster community by giving us events and places to gather. They add to our neighborhood culture. They raise our home values.  We can work together to ensure they make it through the winter. 

Sprout & Berry 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

Born and raised in Beverly/Morgan Park, Claire Richards has been immersed in the community for her whole life.  She comes from a family of entrepreneurs who own DiColas Seafood, Olivia’s Garden and Candace’s Antiques. 

After receiving her MBA in marketing and social media in 2013, Richards started her own company, Amplify7.  Since then, her immersion into the business community grew from her own family’s ventures to serving many other clients in the area such as Swanson’s Deli, Little Hoppers Play Café and Running Excels.   

Richards has helped neighbors build websites and expand their brands, as well as fostered community awareness.  And now she is ready to build and grow her own new business: Sprout & Berry, a children’s clothing brand.   

“Sprout & Berry is an inclusive brand that features children from different races, ethnicities, genders and abilities,” Richards said. “I want children to relate to and identify our company in a loving manner.  

We also give back each season to a charity,” she said. The company’s first release benefited the United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago, a charitable not-for-profit agency serving individuals with disabilities in metropolitan Chicago. 

Richard’s designs have an organic feel with exciting sparks of on-trend modernity.  

You can tell that she is has taken a bit of risk and it pays off.  The trends she incorporates, when paired with the natural fabrics, are subtle and translate well to children’s clothes. 

To create the line, Richards bought patterns from Etsy and built original designs from there by adding extended collars, extra buttons, lace necklines and more.  She works with “two great seamstresses in California who help turn concept into reality, she said.  

“My first release was successful and taught me that many boy moms are searching for a better brand. I will definitely be carrying more boys (and gender neutral) items in the future.”  

Richards plans to extend her sizing and search for a retail space in Beverly/Morgan Park on 103rd Street or 99th & Walden Parkway.  Until then, Sprout & Berry’s Fall Drop II is live on sproutandberry.com.  Stay updated on Facebook at Sprout and Berry and on Instagram @sproutandberry. 

 

Think Before You Click: Ten Years Running  

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

Ten years ago, a specialty running store, Running Excels10328 S. Western, opened their doors to our community.  Since then, Beverly Lynch has been providing us with a personalized shopping experience and quality products to ensure comfort, fit and support.   

But you don’t have to be a runner to shop there.   

Many people are now walking to get out of the house. We want everyone to know we fit walkers, runners and those who just need a comfortable shoe to use at work or to get around,” Lynch said.  The store also carries OOFOS sandals, a recovery footwear brand that absorbs impact and reduces the stress on your feet and joints. 

One of the foundations of Running Excels and their success is the fitting process.  They believe “the journey to your perfect pair of shoes is as unique as you are.”  

Lynch assesses your need by getting to know you, including your history of injuries and the type of exercise you do. She then analyzes your arches and finally your gait to give you shoe options tailored to you.  Customers can test out shoes on the treadmill or outside before making a decision.   

Running Excels was considered a non-essential business when the stayat-home mandate was put into effect.  The doors had to be closed, so Lynch found creative ways to continue serving her customers.    

Since 85% of Lynch’s customers are local, she was able to hand-deliver merchandise to their homes or offer curbside pickup.  She offered fittings virtually and brought customers several pairs to try on.  Wearing masks, outdoor fittings were added at the store.  Lynch still to offer these services if her customers are unable to come into the store because of health concerns. 

“The biggest change we made during this time was adding an online presence,” Lynch said.  Running Excels offers a full line of running shoes on their website, runningexcels.com.  Customers can search by fit online as part of Lynch’s continuing commitment to personalization.  More shoe colors and styles are available online, so even if you have an in-person fitting, you can order a shoe that isn’t available in the store.   

Lynch does not just sell shoes and running-related products in her store.  She has created a community with the Run Beverly group.  

“Many of the runners… are now lifelong friends,” she said.  Some have been running together since the store opened in 2010. “They are a welcoming, non-intimidating group,” she added. All are welcome at no charge.   

We are lucky to have a store like Running Excels in this neighborhood.  Beverly Lynch is committed to the physical health and comfort of our residents.  She has gone above and beyond to survive and serve us through COVID.  Even if you don’t need shoes, stop in for running shorts, socks, hats or even a mask.  We can do our part to make sure Running Excels celebrates another 10 years. 

To learn more, visit runningexcels.com.  Follow Running Excels on Instagram @runningexcels or Facebook, www.facebook.com/runningexcels. 

 

Think Before You Click 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

In the age of Amazon and coronavirus, ordering with the click of a button seems like the smart choice. Not only are we addicted to the immediate gratification but also the ease. You can shop without masks and hand sanitizer, without concern. But we challenge you to think further ahead. To think before you click.  

What will our decision to shop with a click do to our community? How is this affecting our hyper-local economy?  

Our neighbors own the shops and restaurants here. They serve our community with more than product but also with the intention of making Beverly/Morgan Park a better place to live. It is our duty as neighbors to do what we can to ensure that these places survive, and hopefully, thrive during this crisis. 

The idea to start a local Think Before You Click campaign came from a simple discussion with Robin Harmon, interior designer and owner of RMH Design, 1804 W. 103rd St. Like a lot of other small businesses, Harmon has had to downsize to survive. Her business has been around for eight years. It is established. She has a solid customer base. Quality products. So why is this happening to her?  

Because, too often, we as consumers don’t think about the livelihood of our local business owners: we browse, we click, it ships.  

How many of us during the last four months have bought décor, furniture and fixtures for our homes online? I would venture to guess a lot.  

Did you know that Harmon has direct access to vendors like Anthropologie, Surya, and Hudson Valley? Even if you aren’t in need of an interior designer, you can walk into Harmon’s Showroom and order rugs, lighting, décor and more, directly from her. And she can guide you through the process. You get quality products and connection. You are making a direct impact on our local economy. 

We know there are other businesses out there that are struggling to get their message out, or let people know about all their servicesBAPA wants to give you a voice, to create that connection with the community we serve. Reach out and we will help you bridge that gap.  

As consumers, we need to stop and think. Do you need to order from Instacart or can you stop into County Fair? Can you call Keith Lewis at Bookie’s for that new book for your child instead of getting it online? We can all make small changes to how we shop. It will make a difference. Think before you click and help your neighbor. And contact me at bwiley@bapa.org to share your ideas.