Andersonville Cares

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Andersonville Cares

The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is striving to keep our community safe throughout what will be a very long winter. We anticipate a lot of folks will be facing different forms of depression and anxiety around the election, seasonal change, holidays, etc. We want to make sure that they can connect and have access by providing resources to both businesses and residents that help connect them with mental health resources, flu shots, and COVID testing. 

Flu Shots

Flu Basics

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.  (Centers for Disease Control)

  • Flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks in January or February.
  • Getting a flu shot is your best protection against the flu.

If you have symptoms of flu and are worried about your illness contact your health care provider.  Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions). (A full list of people at higher risk of flu related complications is available at People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.)

Flu signs and symptoms usually include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  For more helpful advice and a national perspective on preparations for the 2019-2020 flu season, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as www.flu.gov.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is hosting over 50 community flu clinics where Chicago residents can get their annual flu shot at no cost regardless of their immigration status. If you have insurance, please bring a copy of your insurance card. Walk-ins are welcome and the pre-registration page is coming soon.

10/15 : 12-6PM

10/17 : 9AM-3PM

11/11 : 12-6PM

11/12 : 12-6PM

11/14 : 9AM-3PM

Other Options:

There are a number of nearby NorthShore/Swedish Immediate Care Clinics offering walk-in flu shots.

Additionally, community members can get a flu vaccination shot by visiting a Swedish Primary Care Physician (PCP) or our GMP Pharmacy on Swedish Hospital’s Campus:

  • To find a primary care physician, please call 773-878-6888
  • Flu shots at our GMP Pharmacy are available by appointment Monday – Friday from noon to 5PM. Appointments can be booked at 773-989-3980.

Walgreens on Clark and Catalpa

Website and appointment information

Print Vaccine Consent Form Here

Howard Brown Health Center
https://howardbrown.org/service/primary-care/

Swedish Hospital/ The Clark
theclarkmed.com

 

Keep Andersonville Covid-Safe with Great Lakes Clinical Trials

The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Great Lakes Clinical Trials, is broadening access to COVID-19 screening, antibody testing, and guidance for necessary care for bar and restaurant folks. Testing will be done at Great Lakes Clinical Trials located at 5113 N Clark. Walk-ins welcome

Dates: October Dates: 12 & 26 November Dates: 9 &23 December Dates: 7 & 21

Testing site:

Great Lakes Clinical Trials

5113 N Clark Street

Sign Up Here

Print out flyer here for your staff

Additional Resources:

COVID testing in the 40th Ward – FREE outdoor COVID testing is available at 2322 W Peterson Avenue. To make an appointment, visit Prism Health Lab’s website,  call 800-325-1812. Flu vaccinations are also available for $20 with insurance.

MENTAL HEALTH

Depression and Anxiety can be debilitating especially during high stress times like seasonal changes, elections, holidays, navigating a pandemic, and other high stress factors. Below are some of your local resources that you can reach out to for the support you need. 

Andersonville Behavioral Health

abhchicago.com

 

Andersonville Psychology

andersonvillepsychology.com

 

Art & Soul

artandsoulchicago.com

 

Bonn Wade LCSW

wadebonn@gmail.com

 

Caroline Steelberg, Psy.D.

carolinesteelberg.com

 

Chicago Center for Relationship 

Counseling – Northside

chicagocenterforrelationshipcounseling.com

 

Andersonville Psychology

andersonvillepsychology.com

 

Chicago Therapy Collective

chicagotherapycollective.org

 

Jon Chencinski, LCSW

jonc431@yahoo.com

 

IntraSpectrum Counseling

intraspectrum-chicago.com

 

Revolution Counseling & Wellness

revolutioncw.com

 

Sara Dittoe Barrett, PhD

sdbarrettphd.com

 

SpringPsych Services LLC
springpsychservices.com

 

Starla Sholl, LCSW, PC

starlasholl.com

 

Trilogy Behavioral Health

trilogyinc.org

 

Valerie Friedlander Coaching
Valeriefriedlander.com

Whole Hearted Psychotherapy

Jacques Gourguechon, LPC

wholeheartedtherapy.net

 

ALTERNATIVE HEALING

Opalek Frontier, Inc:

The Center

terryopalek.com

michaelfrontier.com

 

The Sacred Ways: Dave 

Rasmussen, Reiki Practitioner

Thesacredways.com

 

Whole Body Kinetics
http://wholebodykinetics.com

 

MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

Bender Martial Arts and Fitness

bendermartialarts.com

 

EKF Martial Arts
ekfmartialarts.com

Olympic Karate of Chicago

Olympickarateofchicago.com

MASSAGE THERAPY

Bless This Body

blessthisbody.com

 

Marilyn Fumagalli, Massage Therapist, Facelift Massage Specialist

marilynfumagalli.amtamembers.com

Revive Massage Therapy & MedSpa

Revivemassagechicago.com

 

PERSONAL TRAINING/GYMS

Bezz Training

Bezztraining.com

Cheetah Gym
cheetahgym.com

 

Hardware Crossfit

hardwarecrossfit.com

 

Orange Shoe Personal Fitness

orangeshoe.com/chicagoandersonville

 

Powered by Movement Crossfit

Pxmcrossfit.com

 

Heather Riordan Wellness

Facebook@HeatherRiordanWellness

 

PILATES

Sirron Pilates Studio

Sirronpilates.com

 

YOGA

Be Yoga Andersonville

hotyogachicago.com

 

Metro Yoga Chicago
Metroyogachicago.com

Yoga Tree

yogatreechicago.com


Andersonville Cares Campaign

Andersonville Cares Campaign

The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is striving to keep our community safe throughout what will be a very long winter. We anticipate a lot of folks will be facing different forms of depression and anxiety around the election, seasonal change, holidays, etc. We want to make sure that they can connect and have access by providing resources to both businesses and residents that help connect them with mental health resources, flu shots, and COVID testing.

Flu Shots

Flu Basics
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year (CDC). 
Flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks in January or February.
Getting a flu shot is your best protection against the flu.

If you have symptoms of flu and are worried about your illness contact your health care provider. Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions). (A full list of people at higher risk of flu related complications is available at People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.)

Flu signs and symptoms usually include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. For more helpful advice and a national perspective on preparations for the 2019-2020 flu season, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as www.flu.gov.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is hosting over 50 community flu clinics where Chicago residents can get their annual flu shot at no cost regardless of their immigration status. If you have insurance, please bring a copy of your insurance card.

Walk-ins are welcome and the pre-registration page is coming soon.
10/15 from 12-6PM
10/17  from 9AM-3PM
11/11 from 12-6PM
11/12 from 12-6PM
11/14 from 9AM-3PM

Other Options:
There are a number of nearby NorthShore/Swedish Immediate Care Clinics offering walk-in flu shots.


#Always Andersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 117 with Nancye Rivera of Plus Bookkeeping Services

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Nancye Rivera, owner of Plus Bookkeeping Services, where the goal is to help small businesses understand their financials and use them as a planning tool to grow their business. Tune in for an inspiring and motivational conversation with Nancye all about planning for success, even in the middle of a pandemic.

Nancye Rivera, owner of Plus Bookkeeping Services

Nancye Rivera, owner of Plus Bookkeeping Services

“Plus means to add value and advantage, and that’s what I want to do for my clients.” – Nancye Rivera

Listen to Episode 117 with Nancye Rivera!

Top podcast highlights, and where to find them (by timestamp):

  • 0:50 –  Nancye remarks on why Chambers of Commerce have proven to be very resourceful for her business
  • 1:30  – Nancye shares with us her background, why she chose to go the bookkeeping route vs. the accounting route (she thinks accounting is a little too dry.)
  • 3:45 – Nancye comments on the importance of entrepreneurship and her observation that the younger generation is starting businesses earlier than her generation.
  • 5:40 – What to expect when working with Nancye as a first-time client 
Listen in at the 12:28 mark of this episode for a helpful formula on saving money.

Listen in at the 12:28 mark of this episode for a helpful formula on saving money.

  • 8:10 – Nanyce explains to us her financial coaching services and talks about the importance of  understanding how money is coming in and out.
  • 10:15 – Have a savings account! Nancye’s advice is to have at least 6 months worth of business expenses in your business savings.
  • 12:28 – Tune in here for a formula on successfully saving money!
  • 13:25 – Nancye discusses how her has business has changed and grown with COVID, and gives advice on doing new business and having financials in order.
  • 18:00 – We discuss Nancye’s Latin American clientele and she shares a informative story about a local tamale seller she frequents. 

“It’s a thrill and a privilege  for me to speak the language of finance in Spanish.” 

  • 22:00 – What is the 80/20 formula? Any business should be 80% marketing and 20% operations. Nancye recommends a book called E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
  • 23:30 – Nancye discusses small business pitfalls, including making sure to set up a separate checking account for your small business 
  • 28:00 – We ask Nancye about the difference between individual filing, small businesses filing and freelancer filing. Learn why you should pay your taxes quarterly!
  • 30:00 – Rapid fire questions! Nancye’s first job was a paper route, but her first job in the industry was with a CPA who was also an attorney for small businesses in San Francisco while working on her Master’s at Golden Gate University.
  • 32:40: Nancye reflects on her mentors and coaches and who has influenced her over the years. 

    “A mentor is  someone who you can be very candid with and someone who can put you back on track, and that’s so important.” 

  • 34:25: New hobbies during the pandemic: Adding more value to her clients! Nancye has worked on her Marketing skills and QuickBooks during COVID. She does weekly training on QuickBooks and wants to be considered a “QuickBooks Master.”
  • 35:30: Free marketing tools recommended by Nancye: Canva and MailChimp – Everyone MUST have a database.
  • 38:00 – If she weren’t a bookkeeper, Nancye would have aspirations to be a full-time writer or teacher. 
  • 38:50: Nancye has goals, and in 4 years, she has another plan to follow her dreams! 

    “Focus requires time to think. Only 5% of the population things and the other 95% would rather die than take the time to think.” 

  • 40:35: Nancye reflects that people don’t know what they want. They haven’t taken the time to tap into their soul and desires and figure out what they truly want.

“We only live once, so it’s just so important to do what you want to do.” 

Follow Nancye and Plus Bookkeeping Services on the following platforms:
Online: plusbookkeepingservices.com
Facebook: facebook.com/PlusBookkeepingServicesInc
Twitter: @nancyefrivera
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nancyer


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 115 with Scott and Jill Freeman of Bryn Mawr Jewelry, Co.

This week, Laura and Heather are joined by Scott and Jill Freeman of Bryn Mawr Jewelry, Co. Bryn Mawr Jewelry is a luxury diamond jewelry house known for its exceptional fine jewelry and timeless designs. Their exquisite pieces showcase rare diamonds and gemstones, brought to life through distinguished craftsmanship with uncompromising attention to detail. Having relocated to Andersonville in February of this year, you can have them help you create a custom jewelry piece of your dreams at 5139 N Clark.

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Scott and Jill Freeman. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis

“None of this is stopping anyone from getting married. Love will always win.”
– Scott Freeman

Listen to Episode 115 with Scott & Jill Freeman!

Top podcast highlights, and where to find them (by timestamp):

  • 0:55 – Scott’s currently working on a bat-themed custom claddagh ring and talks about the custom jewelry process
  • 4:50 – Learn about jewelry casting with molds!
  • 6:05 – Tune in here to listen to Bryn Mawr Jewelry’s history as a shop
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The mural Scott had painted in the Andersonville shop by artist John Airo. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis.

  • 9:05 – Scott speaks to the beautiful Chicago/Andersonville/Phish-themed mural in he had done for the shop by artist John Airo 
  • 11:20 – Learn more about how Bryn Mawr Jewelry has handled the initial COVID closure only 3 weeks after their Andersonville Grand Opening. This section also speaks to the origins of Scott’s alter alias, the Dancing Jeweler on Instagram
  • 14:36- Jill’s share’s her history with the jewelry business, having worked in the industry since age 15 and alongside Scott at Bryn Mawr Jewelry since 2015. She also runs the store’s marketing and operations.
  • 16:50 – Scott and Jill discuss their COVID safety protocols including 6-8 people in the store at one time, with appointments or walk in options available, sanitizing the jewelry pieces in between and social-distance markers in shape of diamonds
  • 17:45 – Scott gives us the origin of wedding and engagement rings

“We made it through quarantine, why not get hitched?
– Scott Freeman

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JIll and Scott Freeman. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis.

  • 20:23 – Jill and Scott share their favorite custom stories including a customer with dragon earrings!
  • 24:50 – Scott gives us jewelry best care tips: Don’t sleep in it! Don’t shower in it! Don’t swim in it!
  • 27:00 – If you’re trapped in your ring, don’t go to an emergency room or fire department, but head to Scott at Bryn Mawr or another jeweler to cut the ring off in a way that it can be fixed and saved
  • 29:00 – Scott has seen Phish over 70 times! Tune in here for fun discussion on all things Phish
  • 34:53 – Jill and Scott share their own engagement story!
  • 39:50 – Laura and Heather close the episode with fun rapid fire questions for both Scott and Jill
Zoom Recording

This is how our podcast recordings look these days on Zoom!

“Everything’s going to be okay.”
– Scott Freeman

Follow Bryn Mawr Jewelry, Co. on the following platforms:
Online: brynmawrjewelry.com
Facebook: facebook.com/brynmawrjewelry
Instagram: @brynmawrjewelry
Pinterest: pinterest.com/bryn_mawr


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 114 with Shaily Hakimian, the Social Media Sherpa

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by social media sherpa, motivational math tutor, speaker, connector, and reality competition show fan, Shaily Hakimian. Shaily started doing social media for her hobby community in high school on MySpace. Now she guides businesses on how to stay top of mind with their community and referral network using social media. We connected with Shaily recently for two TikTok for Business led webinars in the Andersonville Chamber network. 

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“Put a little personal wherever you go. They are buying into you.”
– Shaily Hakimian

Listen to Episode 114 with Shaily Hakimian!

Here are some references from Episode 114 that you may want to check out:

  • Shaily is no stranger to podcasts! She’s been interviewed on more than 10! Check them out here. 
  • For our icebreaker question, Shaily would choose to be an actor on the old show Happy Endings! We spend a lot of time talking about this show…mostly to figure out what it was called!
  • With 23 jobs listed on her LinkedIn profile, we asked Shaily how she started down this social media sherpa path. She studied education in college and sort of fell into teaching social media. She also wanted to be a matchmaker at one point. 

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“I’m going to be in the business of being in the business of a lot of things.”

  • She has taught in Jewish Education, worked with student teaching, has taught in Australia and more. 
  • She also occasionally tutors kids in math! Shaily recommends Khan Academy and Tutor.com, and many libraries actually pay for a subscription, so it’s free to use if you’re a member of the library. Shaily also mentions that she is a member currently of the Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors.
  • Collaborations between groups is happening now that never would have happened in the past, and “I love that because of Cornoa, we’ve been able to partner with organizations that we never would have in the past.” 
  • Virtual is a great way to do programming, and she references the Inbound Conference, happening completely virtually for the first time this week. 

“It’s hard to make a connection with a brand without putting a face behind it.”

  • Show people your personal story on your business profiles to allow folks to connect with your brand. Delicately merge your worlds, but if part of personal story is about building your business, tell it! Shaily also recommends putting a line about fun things you’re interested in on your LinkedIn profile because you’ll never know who it’ll connect you with.
  • Fun fact: Shaily LOVES competitive reality shows, and just competed on an online reality show called Sequester with an all Jewish cast from all over the world.
  • The Chamber staff recently met Shaily virtually through two TikTok for Business workshops she hosts for both Andersonville Chamber Members and also fellow Chambers. Shaily’s advice: “Get on TikTok because it is so much content that you’ll love and relate. TikTok’s magical algorithm has put so many wonderful people in front of me that I never would have met.”
  • Experiment with different social media platforms and where your audience can find you and show them you’re an expert in whatever you do.

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“Social Media is something you have to have a plan for.” 

  • When a business meets with Shaily initially, she sees often that businesses aren’t prepared with a social media plan, so often they start there. What she likes to ask her clients is, “do you have a referral network already?” as they are the people to most likely send business your way. As a social media manager, she’s not going to magically find your audience for you from scratch. It’s important to do a social media audit in advance and to give the business feedback on what an audience is finding.
  • Shaily is a member of Chicago Magic Lounge and advises don’t be scared of virtual magic, and definitely check out Chicago Magic Lounge’s virtual cocktail hour
  • Shaily’s hobby is standup comedy and she has previously been part of comedy groups that let her practice her skill of speaking in front of people. It has all helped build her public speaking skills to apply directly to her business. 
  • One of Shaily’s hobbies during the pandemic has been creating dot art – check it out below!
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Shaily’s pandemic dot art.

Follow Shaily on the following platforms:
Online: shailyhakimian.com
Facebook: facebook.com/hakimian45
Instagram: @hakimian45
LinkedIn: Shaily Hakimian
Twitter: @hakimian45
TikTok: @hakimian45


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 112 with Karin Moen Abercrombie & Emily England from the Swedish American Museum

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Karin Moen Abercrombie and Emily England of the Swedish American Museum. Karin who has joined us on the podcast before is the Executive Director of this beloved institution and community hub in the heart of Andersonville, and Emily as the Museum curator manages the permanent collection as well as exhibits at 5211 N Clark.

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The current Swedish American Museum Staff: (from left) Karin, Caroline, Elise, Angelica, Catherine, Emily & Stacey. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis for the 2021-22 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.

“Museums were doing social distancing before it was cool.” – Emily England

“In one way, the world has become much smaller because it’s via the click of the computer.” – Karin Moen Abercrombie

Listen to Episode 112 with Karin & Emily! 

Here are some references from Episode 112 that you may want to check out:

Book Club Graphic

The graphic used for virtual Book Club at the Museum.

  • Karin reflects on moving a lot of the Museum’s programming online to virtual formats due to COVID-19. In particular, Scandinavian Jam and the Book Club and TV Series discussions have been very popular online. She notes that it’s been a lot of fun for folks to sit and connect over discussion, whether it be movies, books or a TV Series. Check out the Museum’s event calendar here for upcoming virtual offerings 
  • One of the benefits of COVID has been the ability to connect with other Museums around the country and around the world via virtual meetings and to learn from each other. 
  • Karin talks a little bit about the Museum’s “Travel the World” Summer camp, which went virtual this summer, and was a big success! The Museum also hosted a virtual Viking Party back on August 26. 
  • Karin also reflects on being able to still connect with the community via curbside pickup for the Museum store, since they provide food items as an essential service. Place your own order-to-go here

“We are convinced we can teach everyone how a Swedish cinnamon roll can taste vs. an American cinnamon roll.” – Karin 

  • The Museum is currently testing programming of hosting live baking tutorials for up to six people in their large gallery space, but are doing virtual baking tutorials for kids, available on the website
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Example of the Museum safety signage throughout the Museum.

  • In general, the Museum has participated in a lot of the COVID training that is available, particularly anything the Andersonville Chamber offered. They have put up plenty of signage, but not so much as to be a “sign city.” Their lobby is closed right now because of the fabric chairs, and their coat closet is also closed. 
  • Emily found blue and yellow footprints to use around the galleries as a guide in case of any potential gatherings of more than one family group or household. She comments that museums are nice in the fact that patrons are not allowed to touch the artifacts! The staff sends an internal text to notify other staff members when guests are arriving in the Museum.
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Swedish American Museum Kerstin Andersson Museum Store. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis.

  • The Museum store is even offering gloves so shoppers can still touch items they are interested in. Shop the store online here. 
  • High touch points are sanitized after each group leaves the Museum. They are currently allowing 10-15 people per floor in the Museum at a time. The elevator use is minimized to only 2 people at a time, or per family, but the Museum is encouraging use of both staircases. 
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“Swedish Dads” is on display at the Museum through November 29

  • The current exhibit at the Museum is called “Swedish Dads” by photographer Johan Bävman. His focus is on photographs of Dads who take more than 6 months of paternity leave. Sweden allows parents up to 480 days of combined parental leave, so the artist wanted to capture Dads in action during their domestic lives. 
  • There are 15 portraits for “Swedish Dads” coupled with short vignettes on why each Dad chose to do the extra leave and their perspective on raising their children. Learn more about the exhibit here.
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“Swedish Dads” through November 29 at the Museum.

  • The Museum will be hanging a few of the images on vinyl banners in their parking lot to allow visitors to experience some of the work without having to go inside the space.
  • The Museum has two different people working in Marketing right now, and they have worked hard to make the graphics on signage and social media more fun and playful. Store Manager, Catherine, has also gotten very creative with the store marketing too! Check out Catherine’s Featured Top Friday Instagram takeover for the Chamber last week.
Cinnamon Roll Graphic

One of the Cinnamon Roll graphics found on the Museum’s Instagram page for Friday pickup.

  • Every Friday, the Museum bakes fresh cinnamon rolls. It’s not that different from an American Cinnamon Roll, but it has pearl sugar on top instead of frosting and it isn’t quite as sweet. Karin has been able to test new cookies and pastries too in preparation for the eventual opening of the Swedish American Museum cafe, which will open sometime in the future! Order baked goods to-go here. 
  • The Museum is currently working on renovations between 5211 N Clark and 5217 N Clark. They purchased 5217 N Clark Street about three years ago in order to expand the retail store into the 5217 storefront to allow the cafe to move into the current Museum store space. They are also working to expand their second floor conference room, and create an outdoor courtyard space that will connect directly to the main gallery space. The Museum will use the gallery space/courtyard for their own events, but also for private events.
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The Museum Staff. Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis.

  • Karin takes a moment to thank all of her staff members: Emily, Elise, Angelica, Caroline, Stacey, and Catherine. Check out the staff here. 
  • If given a chance to switch places with other Andersonville businesses for a day, Emily would choose to switch places with the Edgewater Historical Society (5358 N Ashland) and Karin would switch places with Defloured: A Gluten Free Bakery (1477 W Balmoral) so that Karin could learn to adjust some of the traditional Swedish baked goods with gluten free alternatives.
  • The best way to support the Museum right now is to continue or start a membership, visit (even though the children’s museum is closed), and participate in various fundraising events and campaigns, including upcoming events. There is a Family Festival in the Museum parking lot on September 12 from 11AM-3PM, and then on September 13 there is a virtual ABBA concert! And on November 7 is the annual Aspire Gala fundraiser, but virtual this year including a silent auction. And then of course, the Museum store is open! Come visit for fun Swedish gifts and Swedish snacks. 

Follow the Swedish American Museum of the following platforms:
Online: swedishamericanmuseum.org
Facebook: facebook.com/SwedishAmericanMuseum
Instagram: @swedishamericanmuseum
Twitter: @SwedeAmerican

 


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 111 with Ann Kienzle of *play toys, books & games

This week, Laura, Heather and Joelle are joined by Ann Kienzle, owner of *play toys, books & gifts which opened in the former Toys Et Cetera space this past March. With locations in Logan Square and Lincoln Park, the Andersonville location marks the third neighborhood for *Play. With more than 20 years of experience in the toy industry, Ann took her love for community and a reverence for childhood and created well-designed space that inspires awe in children and adults. You can visit this community-minded shop at 5311 N Clark.

Ann at Lincoln Park opening

Ann at the *play opening in Lincoln Park.

“I was so excited, I really felt like Andersonville was a good fit for us.” – Ann Kienzle

Listen to Episode 111 with Ann Kienzle!

Here are some references from Episode 111 that you may want to check out:

  • Ann joins the interview today from her Logan Square shop, her first location. She also has locations in Lincoln Park, and now Andersonville! 
  • Ann was born in the suburbs of Chicago, but grew up in Wisconsin. She went to school out in LA and started in the toy industry in 1996 working for Brio, a wooden train company, in customer service. She’s worked her way around the industry as a manufacturer, toy representative, and finally a consultant when she moved back to Chicago 13 years ago. Read Ann’s *play origin story here. Or, check out all of the *play press! 
  • After a few years working as a consultant for toy stores in Chicago, she looked around Logan Square and decided it was time to embark on a toy store of her own.
  • Ann had just taken ownership of the *play space in Andersonville before COVID hit. They opened February 29 and were open only five days before closing to renovate. Then, upon opening again, they were only open three days before COVID forced closures. She feels like they have their work cut out for them in reintroducing themselves to the Andersonville neighborhood, but she’s up for it.
Andersonville Play interior

The interior at *play Andersonville

  • Fans and customers of Toys Et Cetera can expect several changes to the physical storefront at 5311 N Clark upon visiting for the first time. The carpet is gone, and Ann has installed the *play fixtures, white cabinets, and new lighting. They are also known for mixing in fun display items, like old doors as tables. She feels like 90% of the merchandise is the same, but the display is brighter and airier. 
  • The same Toys Et Cetera staff is in place at *play, as well as the free gift wrapping!
  • During the first few weeks of COVID shutdown, Ann got creative and started putting together Easter Boxes which she posted on the *play Instagram account. She got so much positive reaction to the custom gift boxes, that she started personal shopping phone appointments with folks to put together Easter gift boxes.
Play gift wrapping

Customers can still expect FREE gift wrapping at *play!

  • While *play does rely heavily on birthday parties in the original model, they are still seeing some neighborhood traffic for birthday parties that are family-based. While it’s slower, Ann is trying to stay smart to carry the shop through COVID to the other side. *play will still offer to create custom party favors too! 
Party Favors for Zoom bday party

Party favors created for a Zoom birthday party.

“Until there are birthday parties again, our business is just not going to be what it was.” 

  • Ann comments that the toy supply chain has really been affected by COVID, and while not super evident now, come the holidays, last minute orders from manufacturers won’t be possible. It’s more important than ever to shop now and shop early. Ann is trying to stock up on evergreen items now to be ready. She does comment that they’ve sold way more outdoor toys (scooters, bows and arrows, etc) this summer than ever before since folks aren’t vacationing. 
  • Manufacturers have also adapted, allowing for drop shipping to customers and working with their retailers on new models of service. 
  • Currently, *play is only able to allow 5 people physically in the store at a time at the Andersonville location.
  • Ann launched a Summer Camp Kit series this summer in lieu of actual summer camps (since so many were canceled). She and her designer had so much fun coming up with four different Summer Camp Kits that customers purchased in advance to give Ann time to merchandise. The kits were designed to give parents a step-by-step kit with toys, workbooks, and more to give kids the Summer Camp experience. While not still available for purchase, you can view the kits complete with badges here: Summer 101, Rainy Day Brainy Play, Outdoor Explorer, and Experiment Academy
Example personal shopping gift from Ann

An example of a personal shopping package put together by Ann at *play for a customer.

  • Services that *play is offering right now includes free gift wrapping, curbside pickup, personal shopping via phone call, free delivery within the neighborhood, and shipping for a flat rate via USPS. The *play merchandise website should be live in the next few weeks – sometime this September. The website will allow customers to shop to ship or to shop for local pickup. View *play services. 
  • For the holidays, *play is working on shopping parties for family or friends to shop for a few hours together (capacity of 5 people in Andersonville). They are also working on gift holding options, so sneaky kids don’t discover the gifts at home too early. 
  • *play is currently open in Andersonville Tuesday – Sunday from 10AM-4PM in order to limit staff exposure. Ann is hopeful they’ll open 7 days a week again ideally in September, but they’ll have to assess the risk to keep their staff safe.
Rock n Roll Piano

An example of merchandise Ann highlights on the *play Instagram account!

“It’s a fine balance of letting kids play on their own and when as the parent to step in.”

  • The Andersonville community can support *play during this time by spreading the word that *Play is open! Talk to others about your experience, and share or comment on social media. Word of mouth is priceless right now. The Andersonville Chamber is still hopeful to do a socially-distanced ribbon cutting for *play once the front of the shop has been painted.
  • If given the chance to trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, Ann would choose Lost Larson (5318 N Clark) across the street, as she’s in love with the decor: “It’s so perfectly done, I just want to soak it up.”

Follow *play on the following platforms:
Online: playtoysandbooks.com
Facebook: facebook.com/playtoysandbooks
Instagram: @playtoysandbooks
Twitter: @playlogansquare
Pinterest: pinterest.com/playtoysandbooks


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 110 with Chef Kelley Davison of Bettie Lou’s

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Chef Kelley Davison of Bettie Lou’s in Andersonville. Focusing on American cuisine with an urban twist, Chef Kelley’s menu pulls inspiration from European, Asian and Island dishes. A fan favorite, the Soul Rolls, have made their appearance at several Andersonville events now, including last year’s Farmers Market Dinner and Taste of Andersonville. Chef Kelley has an unrelenting positive outlook on life and drive to spread love within the community, which is evident in her warm and welcoming approach at Bettie Lou’s location at 5633 N Ashland.

Chef Kelley Davison (center) celebrates her grand opening last summer with Alderman Andre Vasquez (right)

Chef Kelley Davison (center) celebrates her grand opening last summer.

“My idea is for you to feel like you are at Grandma’s house, where everything is freshly made.” – Chef Kelley Davison

Listen to Episode 110 with Chef Kelley!

Here are some references from Episode 110 that you may want to check out:
-Chef Kelley always created cool food, but she never set out to be a Chef. She had worked in restaurants in the past, but only in the front of house capacity.
– Before working in restaurants, Kelley worked in fashion as a stylist and seamstress. She even designed her own clothing line and also worked with celebrities as a stylist.
– Bettie Lou’s takes its name from Chef Kelley’s mom who kept the entire family well-fed and healthy growing up. While her mom specialized in soul food, Chef Kelley has altered many of the original recipes for healthier eating, including vegetarian options. A photo of Kelley’s mom, Bettie Lou, is the logo for the restaurant and t-shirt.
– Chef Kelley found herself hanging out in Andersonville a lot, and while she was catering on the side, opening a restaurant was a little bit of a pipe dream that just kind of happened. There were a lot of people involved with opening and investing, of which she is so grateful. 

Soul Rolls

The famous Soul Rolls!

“I’m saving everyone one plate at a time.” – Chef Kelley Davison

-The famous soul roll is made from three of Chef Kelley’s favorite things: collard greens, candied yams and six cheese mac and cheese and all rolled into an egg roll, as easy to eat as a walking taco.
– The restaurant is decorated in a cozy manner where you can come in and relax while slowing down and having a home cooked meal.

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– Chef Kelley believes in starting her day with a positive attitude, despite the current COVID situation. She was able to bring back a select number of staff to help, but not many. She’s optimistic, though, that the support of the neighborhood will see them through.
– Chef Kelley points out that the City of Chicago will fine a small business $2500 if they do not mandate wearing a mask inside. Because she and her staff have had issues with customers not complying, they are not serving the 25% indoor capacity, but have instead set up some tables outside and continue to offer pickup and delivery.
– Chef Kelley’s been able to employ her staff as her delivery drivers offering free delivery within a 2-3 mile radius of the restaurant. Order directly through Bettie Lou’s instead of using the delivery apps.

Chef Kelley's team preps servings at the 2019 Andersonville Farmers Market Chefs' Dinner

Chef Kelley’s team preps servings at the 2019 Andersonville Farmers Market Chefs’ Dinner

– Everything at Bettie Lou’s is made fresh, so expect to wait at least 20 minutes if you walk in to order. The two most popular dishes on the menu Jerk Chicken and Soul Rolls. Every side item on the menu is a vegetarian item. The vegetarian items are all quicker to make at only 10 minutes. Check out the menu here. Chef Kelley has even had vegetarians bring the food back thinking they couldn’t eat it because it tasted too good to not include meat!
– Chef Kelley is still catering for outdoor family gatherings and hosting small private events (10 people or less) in the restaurant’s private room. For more information about either option, call the restaurant at 312-725-2247.

Chef Kelley and customers

Chef Kelley and her customers

– More than anything, Chef Kelley misses people – giving people a hug – and the social interaction. As a Chef, she feels like she washes her hands 1,000 times a day anyway.
– Chef Kelley so appreciates all of the people who thought about her on her birthday on August 6 and left kind reviews.
– The best way to support Bettie Lou’s during this time is to consider catering, private parties, or just keep Bettie Lou’s in mind for a meal out or in, and tell a friend. Always ask what specials are on the menu.
– Chef Kelley would switch places with one of the clothing boutiques on Clark Street if given the chance to switch places with an Andersonville business for a day.
– View Bettie Lou’s hours of operation, Wednesday – Sunday, on the website.

Chef Kelley at the Bettie Lou's Grand Opening in Summer 2019.

Chef Kelley at the Bettie Lou’s Grand Opening in Summer 2019.

“Andersonville was the only choice.” – Chef Kelley Davison

Follow Bettie Lou’s on the following platforms:
Online: bettielous.com
Facebook: facebook.com/bettielous
Instagram: @bettielous


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes for Episode 109 with Lisa Beacom of School of Rock Andersonville

This week, Heather and Joelle are joined by Lisa Beacom, General Manager of School of Rock Andersonville, which opens soon in the neighborhood. All of their music programs for kids, teens, and adults are designed to help students gain amazing musical proficiency, and to get students performing in a band. Students can take virtual, one-on-one music instruction from the comfort of their homes with a  Remote Program containing weekly one-on-one instruction conducted by expert School of Rock instructors in a safe virtual lesson room.

Jim Sellers (left) and Lisa Beacom (right) will manage School of Rock Andersonville. This photo introduced them to the School of Rock community!

Jim Sellers (left) and Lisa Beacom (right) will manage School of Rock Andersonville. This photo introduced them to the School of Rock community!

“School of Rock is song first…the kids might not know how to read music yet, they might not know theory, but they’ll start with a song.”
– Lisa Beacom

Listen to Episode 109 with Lisa Beacom!

Here are some references from Episode 109 that you may want to check out:

  • Lisa’s background is actually in theatre and musical theatre, but she met her husband Jim Sellers through a music class. He’s a musician, specifically a pianist, and they are embarking on their own franchise of School of Rock together. 
  • Jim was the one who saw an email or Facebook ad about School of Rock franchise opportunities last August 2019. They started considering the option, began meeting with the School or Rock team, and signed the franchise agreement at the end of January 2020, and then COVID hit!
  • The School of Rock model is not virtual, but the corporate office created an entire online class model in a matter of weeks.
  • Lisa and Jim are considering a hybrid model once the Andersonville location does open, but right now, the Andersonville school is open for any students to sign up virtually. Their goal is to have enough students signed up soon to offer virtual performance classes, but currently most students are in one-on-one lessons. View virtual options here. Lisa’s goal is eventually to have the group classes happen in the building, but will still offer the one-on-one lessons virtually.
  • School or Rock’s curriculum starts as young as age 3. Beginners ages 3-5 start in School or Rock’s “Little Wing” program, and start playing music such as the Beatles and other rock classics. The program is designed to get them feeling the music in their body. The next level up is “Rookies” for ages 6-8  to allow kids to start experimenting with different instruments. Around age 8, kids are moved to “Rock 101” once they understand which instrument they want to pursue. 

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  • In normal times, the goal is to get kids performing on a stage at least once a quarter. Shows are cast in a manner so that students can work with multiple students in rotation. The shows are real concerts at real venues with a paying audience.
  • What came first – School or Rock the school or the movie? Lisa fills us in. It all started in 1996 with a musician named Paul Green in Philadelphia. He brought his private students to play with his band one night, but they didn’t do well with the adult musicians. He started bringing his various students together to play together and found they learned much faster. His school was called the Paul Green School of Rock Music. He had a documentary filmed about the school which finally released in 2005 called Rock School, but when the Jack Black The School of Rock movie came out in 2003, Paul noticed quite a few similarities between himself and the Jack Black character. This was only to his advantage, so he bought the schoolofrock.com domain and eventually sold it to the current ownership in the 2010s or so. 
  • When COVID hit, School of Rock corporate hired a doctor to advise them on best practices for continuing lessons virtually. As some states have opened a bit more, some of the School of Rock locations have even performed at drive-in theatres! Lisa is hopeful by the time Andersonville’s school has a performance class that they’ll be able to do a safe socially distant performance.
  • Although she cannot limit it to a Top 5, some of Lisa’s favorite artists include Ella Fitzgerald and Alanis Morissette, Susan Tedeschi and Nina Simone. “That’s just the women!” 
  • In advice to Joelle for spicing up music variety with an infant, Lisa recommends Sandra Boynton for a silly, fun, refreshed “kid music” alternative. 
  • Lisa’s side hustle is as a narrator of audio books! 
  • If given the chance to trade places with an Andersonville business, Lisa would choose to trade with First Slice Pie Cafe (5357 N Ashland). 
  • When anyone buys into the School or Rock franchise, they are given a territory. Their territory goes from the Eden’s to the Lake and from Toughy to Foster. They are very familiar with our area, so they started exploring the options for real estate, but when they drove down Clark Street, they fell in love, and “there was no other option.” 
  • Lisa and Jim have just signed a lease for School of Rock Andersonville, but the location is still not quite public yet. Stay tuned!

“There has never been a time that this didn’t make sense for us…and the more we find out, the more we love about the School of Rock community.”
– Lisa Beacom

Visit School of Rock Andersonville on the following platforms:
Online: locations.schoolofrock.com/andersonville
Facebook: facebook.com/SchoolofRockAndersonville
Instagram: @schoolofrockandersonville


#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 108 with Dan Nelson, Baird & Warner Real Estate Broker

This week, Laura & Heather are joined by Baird & Warner Real Estate Broker, Dan Nelson. Dan loves houses and has spent the last twenty years running a real estate company with his wife. Dan uses negotiating skills, market analysis, and his vast understanding of buying and selling property to help people find homes they will love. Reach Dan directly at 312-477-9594.

Dan Nelson, Baird & Warner Real Estate Broker

Dan Nelson, Baird & Warner Real Estate Broker

“I want every experience with my clients to be a great experience. It’s so fun to get in there, pick a house and see your life change.” – Dan Nelson

Listen to Episode 108 with Dan Nelson!

Here are some references from Episode 108 that you may want to check out:

  • Dan grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and went to school at Wichita State. He was tired of living in a community where chain stores were the norm, so packed up his car and headed to New York City for three years. Upon visiting a friend in Chicago, he discovered he much preferred this city!
  • Dan has a secret talent as a longtime poker player, and earned a lot of money a few years back during a big poker boom in which, “all these people were playing poker for the first time in their lives.” He and his wife decided to use the money toward flipping houses, as his wife had discovered a passion for rehabbing homes when she undertook the task of doing theirs.
  • Dan often looks to engage with other real estate agents to “tip their hand” and find out how desperate the seller or buyer is to sell or purchase the house. He finds his poker skills come in very handy here and can often get the other agent to disclose.
  • Interest rates right now are the lowest they’ve been in a long time with 2.4-2.9% rates and they may be above 4% again by this time next year.
  • Dan currently has his customers wear new gloves each time they enter a new house, and is careful to keep 6 feet distance at all times. He says it’s been difficult to navigate COVID-19 clauses in contracts which state a buyer or seller can walk away at any time for any reason.
  • Right now, agents don’t show up to closings, and truly, everything can be virtual right now. There is more of a delay when it comes to the loan process especially, since everyone is maintaining less hours in general.
  • Dan says the biggest change he’s seen is potential buyers are no longer able to show up with their entire families to check out a property they are considering. He’s tried to prepare the client as much as possible (buyer or seller).
  • Because of his knowledge flipping houses, Dan has a very long list of subcontractors he’s able to provide to his clients as he coaches them through potential home upgrades they could do with a property under consideration.
  • Dan recalls the worst property renovation he and his wife ever did: they purchased a property in Ravenswood, and all electrical, all plumbing, all flooring had to be replaced. They did almost all of the work themselves, and did not have a good experience with they contractor they did hire. “It was a terrible, terrible experience, but also a great experience because it taught us how to handle things like that.”
  • Qualities that make a good real estate agent according to Dan: “You have to like to help people and it’s hard work, I work all the time.”
  • Dan’s wife does home staging! So, working with him guarantees a great staging and home presentation. Dan also comes ready with a team of contractors, lawyers, plumbers etc, that he can draw from.
  • For those looking to get into real estate, there is a test to pass, and it’s gotten much harder. Many of the things that come up on the exam don’t come up in real life, but the most important thing is to choose the right office where a team is available for coaching and guidance.
  • Dan is affiliated with Baird & Warner. He likes working with a big company for the resources and team members connected, including marketing, technology, etc. He thinks it provides a great support system. The real reason Dan chose Baird & Warner, though, is because they were the first real estate company that fought to change Chicago’s horrific history of housing segregation. He feels they are providing great education and equity training around the current Black Lives Matter movement, as well.
  • Had he not fallen into real estate, Dan probably would have continued in the IT field in which he started.
  • If given the opportunity to trade places with an Andersonville business for the day, Dan would switch with In Fine Spirits.

“The market is as hot as it’s ever been – it’s crazy hot. As long as you’re comfortable selling now, we may not see this happen again for a long, long time. Interest rates are so low.” – Dan Nelson

Follow Dan Loves Houses on these platforms:
Online: danloveshouse.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DanLovesHouses
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/dannelson100/