Profile of a local business in Beverly or Morgan Park

New Business Blooms on Walden Parkway 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

On July 11, Oak & Bloom celebrated the grand opening of their boutique at 9909 S. Walden Pkwy.  Step inside their captivating space to find a meticulously curated collection of vintage home décor by Angelina Schmelling accompanied by stunning stems thoughtfully arranged for you inhouse by floral designer Erin Cox. 

You may be familiar with Erin Cox Designs, a local staple who focused on designing floral arrangements for homes and events as well as for outdoor and seasonal plantings.  Her style is based on the “free flowing design of a stem and adding in texture and novelty flowers and accents.”  This process allows her offerings to stand apart from other bouquets and designs.   

With a background in luxury styling, it is no wonder Cox’s customers have said “her eye for styling and design [is] unmatchable.” She has worked for top productions houses and retail stores in Chicago and the North Shore, and was commissioned to design for top event planners in Chicago, LA and even as far as Hawaii.   

Cox is now back in school for a Landscape Design certificate and planning on continuing her education in sustainability in agriculture. She is taking her first shot at growing her own flowers to cut and sell in the store. Her love for texture in nature shows in her floral works of art. 

Angelina Schmelling began her journey toward this collaboration working for Rachel Ashwell.  She managed Ashwell’s store, Shabby Chic, in Chicago then in interim manager positions in New York, San Francisco and Malibu.   

Schmelling created lasting relationships with her clients and, once she moved on from Ashwell’s company, they reached out to her for their home décor needs.  A design consultation business grew from there.   

Schmelling began collecting vintage pieces for her projects and created Starling Vintage & Home Décor.  For the past decade, she managed a successful e-commerce website along with local home and theatrical rentals while continuing interior design.   

These two women are longtime friends who have always wanted to open a store together.  Their admiration for each other’s style and work ethic made that an easy decision.  But why open during a global pandemic?  Both said COVID redesigned their business models.   

Schmelling’s design business began to take on smaller projects, which she was able to tackle through Zoom.  This freed up time for her to focus on the home décor portion of her business.  And Cox saw some of her biggest sales in floral deliveries during COVID.  She equates this to people having a “new look into humanity” and finding ways to “make other people smile” through the difficult times.  

Once a storefront became available in their desired location, they jumped on the opportunity. “This Beverly Station shopping area is an established destination thanks to the existing businesses here and on 99th and Wood, and the neighbors are so welcoming, popping in almost every day during the build out,” Schmelling said. “This whole process has been a beautiful experience and we are grateful for the positive reception we have received.” 

Stop into Oak & Bloom, open Tues. through Sun.and experience their sustainable, equitable and beautiful floral and home design. Take a sneak peek into their gorgeous style and space and follow their story on Facebook at Oak & Bloom and Instagram @oakandbloomchicago. 

Beverly Dry Goods Brings South Side Pride to Walden  

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

Mary Bujwid and her fiancé Jason Moss have been bringing South Side-inspired wares to the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood since January 2019.  Through their hard work and the support of the community, they will open Beverly Dry Goods bricks-and-mortar on Thurs., July 2 at 9915 S. Walden Pkwy (formerly occupied by Capsule).   

“I truly feel that there is nowhere else in the city where we would be as successful as we’ve been in such a short time.  This community makes Beverly Dry Goods possible, and we feel a large sense of responsibility to provide them with products they can be proud to wear, use in their home, or give as gift,” said Bujwid. 

In 2017, Bujwid and Moss moved to Beverly/Morgan Park.  They were drawn to the “clear sense of community” when they previously drove through on Moss’s motorcycle.  Bujwid explained that it was easy to tell, even just passing through, because “everyone smiled and waved, neighbors chatted in the street, families played in yards, [and] there were beautiful homes wonderfully kept and restored.”  They knew they wanted this for themselves. 

Bujwid grew up in retail and always wanted to open her own shop. After moving here, she was inspired.  She found her why. “No one was celebrating how special this neighborhood and the people are, so I decided to take that on,” Bujwid said 

Bujwid and Moss have created a hyperlocal line of candles, apparel and accessories with names that represent the neighborhood, “Walden,” “Longwood” and “Frunchroom,” to name a few.  They will be expanding their line to include beard balm, room sprays and diffusers.  

Dog treats will be making their way into the store shortly following the opening (their line is delayed due to COVID closures) to accompany the bandanas they’ve created for our furry friends.  The store will not only carry items for your pet, but it will also be dog friendly.    

Their desire to be pet friendly was not only inspired by their dog and the number of families with dogs in the community, but also because Bujwid had a vision for the store  “to be interwoven into the daily lives of customers and not just a place to go and grab something.”  She wants to be a spot for people to gather, to hang out, to feel at home.   

Support your neighbors and South Side pride at the new Beverly Dry Goods location on Walden or online at Follow their journey on Instagram @beverlydrygoods and 

MAYTA COLLECTION: Crafting Connections through Fashion 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

Maggie O’Reilly, a native southsider, is the creative mind behind Mayta Collection, an ethical fashion brand driven by her personal travels and connection to culture.  Handcrafted in Peru and Morroco, her oneofakind designs include accessories and home goodsOReilly plans to expand into men’s accessories such as leather travel bags and duffels in 2020. 

The birth of the brand started before the designing, inspired by O’Reilly’s wanderlust and her desire to immerse herself into country and culture during her travels. While studying in Mexico, she began to explore the markets, which were teeming with local artisans selling their goods. Her intrigue grew. More travels followed: Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. She spoke with the artisans, heard their stories, and purchased handcrafted pieces that she brought back and sold casually. 

After marrying Gustavo Gomez, who is Peruvian, her tie to Latin America deepened. A trek up Macchu Picchu and time spent with family in Cusco birthed more intrigue. With the help of her new father in law, who speaks Quechua (an indigenous language), she was able to communicate with and gain the trust of the artisans. She began to work with them to create the unique pieces that make up her brand.  Mayta Collection became official in 2016. 

For two years, O’Reilly perfected her process, from sketch to shipping. The government in Peru invited her to a tradeshow and sponsored her travels. She increased her connections and ability to find textiles. All the while, following a small production model. O’Reilly doesn’t plan to change that. She is passionate about each piece – the fabrics are handpicked, and each one is made by one of the five people who work in the workshops. The textiles are extras bought from families or at auctions. Each piece has a story that O’Reilly feels personally connected to. 

When it was time to expand, O’Reilly chose Morocco. She visited Marrakesh and was accompanied by GomezTogether they scavenged the markets of the city. It was a big risk to take with the characteristic prejudice toward women and their lack of connection in that country. The couple would frequently be asked to meet at night, after markets were closed, to see handiwork or they were ferried into alleyways, away from the crowds. With risk came reward when O’Reilly found a genuine, trustworthy young man whose father and uncle had been in the rug business for years. That young man still runs her operations. 

Mayta Collection is built on relationships and personal connections. O’Reilly stresses the importance of this in her businessBut she also shows tremendous care for the other entrepreneurs in the Beverly/Morgan Park community. She lifts others up and offers advice willingly and with gusto, simply to share her knowledge. She says she gets “pure enjoyment” out of watching our small business community grow, that it is in her nature to help and collaborate. And “the more resources and help and collaboration we have going on, the better,” said O’Reilly. “We are all in this together…and our neighborhood deserves to be highlighted.” 

To carry a piece of culture in the form of bold, contemporary fashion, visit O’Reilly’s website, or her Instagram page, @maytacollection. Mayta Collection designs are also carried at Turkey Chicago. 





CORE Fitness Redefines Postpartum 

By Kristin Boza 

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy, 2940 W. 95th St., is known for its wide range of offerings in Pilates and physical therapy, all in an effort to help strengthen the core and promote overall health and well-being. 

An essential part of CORE’s philosophy is to promote women’s health at all stages of life, particularly addressing the changes that occur after a pregnancy.  

“I like to think once postpartum, always postpartum,” said Cathriona Fey, Women’s Health Fitness Specialist at CORE, with certifications in pre/postnatal care. “The changes that are required of our bodies to carry and birth children can impact our deep core and how we move for the rest of our lives.”  

From a fitness approach, CORE’s prenatal and postnatal classes are geared toward helping women feel stronger and more connected to their bodies. “Our goal is that they can return to their regular exercise routine more confident and supported, armed with these essential techniques to train safely and more effectively postpartum,” Fey said. “Postpartum recovery started during pregnancy and a lot of the techniques we teach can prevent common postpartum issues, like incontinence, diastasis recti, low back pain, prolapse, and more.” 

Issues like pelvic pain, painful intercourse, urge incontinence, and post-surgical therapies can be treated through physical therapy and fitness classes at CORE. Even if insurance doesn’t cover physical therapy, women can find help through the fitness classes, or they can graduate to the fitness classes after completing a physical therapy program. All classes are designed to provide a safe and effective full-body workout while promoting a functional and stronger core.  

“It’s so important to shed light on women’s health therapy and pelvic floor therapy because it’s not usually talked about,” said Terri McCabe, Studio Manager at CORE. “Most women experience issues at some point, and these issues are related to pregnancy and deliveryFor us culturally, we’re sent home from the hospital without a prescription for physical therapy and told to ‘just rest.’ If we were given the proper tools and rehabilitation opportunities or therapeutic interventions immediately following labor and delivery, we may not have issues feeling out of alignment or offbalance years later.” 

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy is in the insurance network for BCBS PPO, and they also accept self-pay and workman’s comp individuals. Since physical therapy is an essential service during the shelter-in-place orders, CORE is able to see these patients; telehealth appointments are also available. Online fitness classes are available for a drop-in price of $10 per class; register online at 

Business Spotlight: The LAB Pays It Forward 

By Brittany Wiley 
BAPA Business Liaison 

The Live and Believe Wellness Center (LAB) is a fitness studio (2019 W. 95th St.) and café (2025 W 95th St.) owned by the Martin family, Morgan and her father Mike.  Since May 2018, the Martins been serving up flexible fitness classes and “smoothies with soul” to our community. 

The Martins’ focus is to create an environment where they LIVE everyday like it’s the last and BELIEVE that anything is possible.  This motto became their inspiration after unexpectedly losing Morgan’s brother, Marcus Martin at the age of 25 due to a pulmonary embolism. “Tthey] wanted to turn tragedy to triumph with the LAB,” Morgan said.   

It is evident that the Martins and their staff make a conscious effort to do just that. They sing and dance on their Facebook and Instagram posts, write affirmations on smoothies, and consistently share their gratitude to customers, always with a smile and an uplifting attitude.  Morgan explains, “We as a team strive to be the energy we give to other people… [and] operate from a place of gratitude and service.”  

Despite the inability to operate their business normally in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, their first thought was, “how can we help” the community and its essential workers?  Knowing first responders’ health and energy would be sacrificed, the team at LAB started the “Pay It Forward Campaign,” sending wellness teas to essential workers.  Customers can make a donation to the campaign by adding it to their order total or just call separately.  At least once a week, LAB also offers a live fitness class, which asks for an optional donation to the campaign. 

With the donations, LAB has provided 100+ teas to frontline workers at OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center and Christ Hospital.  Police officers at the District 22 were provided for with a donation from the 19th Ward GoFundMe. 

Be on the lookout for a new project LAB is working on to expand the campaign: “We Care Packages. The pre-packaged gifts will include powder forms of their teas, which you can add to water, as well as protein bars and other easily packed items.  Customers can “sponsor” an essential worker and have these care packages picked up or sent to them. 

LAB has had to adapt their business to adhere to the “stay at home” mandate.  The physical fitness center is temporarily closed and the Wellness Center has adapted by taking orders for pickup and delivery.  Place an order by calling ahead3128949589.  For menu options, visit their website,  

Biz Spotlight: Two Mile Coffee Bar Plans Second Location 

By Kristin Boza

Two Mile Coffee Bar, 1766 W. 95th St., revolutionized the 95th Street Metra train station for a unique family-operatecoffee experienceCreated and co-owned by Nate and Sonia Hollister and Gretta and Patrick DertingerTwo Mile is ready to expand to a second location in the space previously occupied by B-Sides Coffee + Tea, 9907 S. Walden Pkwy.  

B-Sides Coffee + Tea recently closed when its owners moved to another state. However, the attractive location on the Metra Rock Island line aligned with Two Mile’s branding to enhance the train commute for local residents, and provide a welcoming space to enjoy coffee and entertainment. 

Co-owner Sonia Hollister said she expects to open the second location in April. “Kevin and Karen [previous owners of B-Sides Coffee + Tea] built a strong foundation at 99th and Walden Parkway. The timing was right for us to expand into that existing space and make it our own,” she said.  

Customers can expect a similar feel to the branding and design of the new location, as well as of course enjoying plenty of Intelligentsia coffee expertly crafted by Two Mile’s coffee design team.  

Hollister said that they may expand their hours at the second location, and will utilize the outdoor space to bring musical guests and other entertainment that they’ve featured at the 95th Street location to Walden Parkway.  

“The response from the community has been overwhelming! We are so excited to have the support of our customers and the other businesses on Walden,” Hollister said. “We can’t wait to bring our coffee to Walden.” 

Two Mile has weathered the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic and offers mobile orders and curbside delivery. To place a mobile order, visit them at or call 773-614-8115. 



Biz Spotlight: Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists 

By Kristin Boza 

Spring is nearly here, followed soon after by sandal weather. Now is the time to address foot and ankle issues that have been put off over the winter to ensure healthy feet, especially in time for the Ridge Run 

Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists, 11628 S. Western, opened in Sept. 2019, and is owned and operated by Dr. Whitney Castle, DPM, a life-long Beverly/Morgan Park resident, and Dr. Sabrina Landers, DPM. The podiatrists offer a full-spectrum of foot and ankle care, including sports injuries, diabetic foot care, custom orthotics, gout, bunions, tendonitis, ankle sprains and pain, ingrown toenails, warts, flat feet and more.  

The doctors seek to promote the health and well-being of the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood communities by providing high-quality and accessible podiatric care to address the foot and ankle needs for patients of all ages.  

“We are comprehensive podiatrists who are trained surgeons for conditions of the foot and ankle, and specialize in sports medicine and wound care,” Landers said. It’s been a whirlwind six months for us in the area. Other small businesses and our neighbors have reached out to offer support. We look forward to serving this community for many years to come, and we can’t wait to take part in the upcoming community events in 2020!” 

“Local physicians have been really supportive [as the practice gets started],” Castle said. “I grew up in Morgan Park, went to St. Barnabas and St. Ignatius, and my sister and parents all live nearby. This is one of the few areas of the city where you still find multiple generations of a family; there is a tight-knit community feel here that you don’t’ find in other parts of the city. I wanted our practice to be a part of the community and become a household name.” 

Drs. Landers and Castle have built their patient base on physician referrals, insurance company referrals, and advertising. Potential patients can contact Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists to determine if they need a referral from their insurance company. All major insurances are accepted. Find out more at or call 773-941-4040. 

Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists is a BAPA Business Member.  


Business Spotlight: Lett Shine Educates on Diamonds and Gems 

By Kristin Boza 

When Katie Lett, owner of Lett Shine, was a girl, she knew how to accessorize. Her obsession with shiny gemstones and rocks propelled her into a career as a jewelry concierge and graduate gemologist devoted to helping her customers find the right stones for masterful creations.  

Lett started making jewelry at a young age and her natural talent was well-known among her family.  

“When I was in seventh grade, a family friend commissioned me to make a necklace for her wedding. This began my passion and inspiration for jewelry making,” Lett said. “I’ve always had jobs in the artistic field, which propelled me to pursue a graduate gemologist certification.” 

As a graduate gemologist, Lett is highly trained in grading diamonds in the four Cs: clarity, cut, color and carat. She can find the minute details within a diamond and educates her customers on what to look for in high-quality diamonds.  

Lett Shine is open by appointment only to give Lett and her customers the freedom to tailor the experience to fit their needs and budget.  

“Engagement rings are one of my favorite things to design; I love hand-picking diamonds for my customer to review, and I walk them through the four Cs so they can make an educated decision on this big purchase,” Lett said. 

Customized redesigns of old or family heirloom jewelry is another request from Lett’s customers, and she also does work in restoring and rebuilding damaged pieces 

“I can remove the stones from an existing piece and redesign something wearable and functional for the customer. I’ve made pendants and rings, and we can even handpick new stones to accompany the original stones,” she said.  

Lett works with trusted goldsmiths and designers to ensure the perfect vision is carried out.  

“Jewelry is unique to every person and it’s fun to explore all options. Everything that I do is special because it is special to my client. My favorite thing about my job is working one-on-one and creating a special relationship that’s not just about jewelry,” Lett said. “I’m satisfied when I can take an overwhelming and emotional experience and instill confidence and fun into the process.” 

To find out more or schedule an appointment, contact Lett Shine, or 773-332-0119. 

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.  

City Grange to Open Holiday Pop-up Shop  

Shop Will Offer Holiday Decorating and Shopping Opportunities Inspired by Nature 


City Grange, Chicago’s only independent social-enterprise gardening center focusing on education and organic and sustainable plants, will open its first pop-up destination just in time for the holiday decorating and shopping season. 

Located at Joplin Marley Studios at 9911 S. Walden Pkwy., the City Grange Holiday Pop-up Shop will offer seasonal greens, wreaths, garlands, cut floral, holiday containers and other décor items, as well as holiday decorating demos and classes. Select merchandise can be ordered for delivery. 

City Grange Founder and President LaManda Joyan Illinois Extension Master Gardener and founder of Peterson Garden Project, is excited to bring City Grange to a new part of the city. “I believe the world would be a better place with more gardeners,” she says. “I started City Grange to inspire, motivate and help more people garden successfully. Our first location on the north side has been an overwhelming success, and I look forward to welcoming everyone in Beverly and the surrounding communities for holiday decorating and shopping at City Grange.” 

The City Grange Beverly Holiday Pop-Up store will be open on Fridays, 4 to 8 p.m., 

Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun., Nov. 22 through Sun., Dec. 22.  

City Grange is America’s first independent social enterprise gardening destination focusing on organic and pesticide-free plant material, education and community-building. City Grange sells organic and pesticide-free plants, garden tools and supplies, hosts gardening workshops and offers a job-training program for at-risk individuals called United We Blossom. City Grange takes inspiration from the historic Grange movement of the 1800s to advance modern-day urban gardening for everyone and promote the social and economic needs of communities. 

City Grange plans to open its second location in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood in springFor more information, visit