Jan Baxter Memorial Fund for Andersonville Entrepreneurs
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce established the Jan Baxter Memorial Fund in 2018 to honor the legacy of Jan Baxter, owner of the Landmark of Andersonville shop from 1987-2014. Jan’s irrepressible spirit and passion for entrepreneurship helped drive the revitalization of the Andersonville commercial district.
The Jan Baxter Memorial Fund for Andersonville Entrepreneurs provides free business education, technical assistance, mentoring and pop-up space to one awardee per year. The program is tailored to the awardee’s sector and specific needs and pulls from a variety of resources, organizations and people with demonstrable success in business.
About Jan and Her Impact
Jan was a longtime Andersonville resident and the founder of a successful wholesale business that provided dozens of small artisans with their first connections to major retailers. In the mid-1980s, the Andersonville business district had many vacancies. In 1987, Jan decided to open a retail storefront at the corner of Clark and Berwyn. She called it the Landmark of Andersonville.
Jan’s genius was to operate the Landmark as a cooperative, where individual entrepreneurs could share space and expenses. The Landmark acted as a remarkably effective small business incubator, spinning off multiple businesses that set up shop in their own storefronts. As vacancies filled throughout the neighborhood, excitement about Andersonville grew, attracting even more businesses and more residents. By the early 90’s, Clark Street’s stretch of locally-owned and women-owned businesses, inspired and nurtured by Jan, was gaining citywide media attention. Today, Andersonville enjoys national renown for its vibrant, historic business district filled predominantly with locally-owned businesses.
Throughout her career, Jan continued to act as a mentor to business owners. Jan viewed new retailers as assets, not competition, and she gave counsel freely. She also encouraged her customers to patronize other Andersonville stores, recognizing that the success of her own business depended on the health of the district as a whole.
Jan served on the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce board for nearly thirty years. She was fiercely committed to the organization’s work, distributing event flyers and neighborhood guides from her store, volunteering to help produce and run events, and serving on countless committees. She was endlessly generous, but she was also smart; she knew that being engaged was simply good business.
Jan loved Andersonville, and the neighborhood loved her back. In 2004, when the Landmark was threatened with losing its lease, business owners and residents flocked to her in droves with support. Luckily, Jan and her children were able to purchase the building at 5245 N. Clark, and the Landmark moved to that location, where it remained an Andersonville institution until Jan retired in 2014.
Andersonville grieved collectively when Jan passed away in February, 2017. Jan’s daughter Jennifer Baxter continues the family tradition of providing great service to the Andersonville community by operating her Salon 10 business out of Jan’s building and now provides individual studio and office space for bourgeoning business owners.
Quick Facts about the Jan Baxter Memorial Fund for Andersonville Entrepreneurs:
The Memorial Fund is aimed at nurturing and launching entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing a business in the Andersonville community.
Applications will be available Friday, February 15th at andersonville.org
The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 8th at 5PM CST
The program supports one awardee per year from April 1 – March 31
The program is tailored to support the unique business model and needs of each awardee and will include, but is not limited to the following:
Classes at the Women’s Business Development Center or other business training center
Technical assistance in the areas of incorporating, financing, legal and licensing
Free chamber membership, including listing in the Neighborhood Guide
Six one-on-one mentor sessions with a seasoned business owner
Pop-up space in the Andersonville neighborhood (location and duration TBD.)
Less than three years in business and/or just starting a business
Business is locally and independently owned
Owner has interest in a long-term presence in the Andersonville community
Business type provides a good and/or service beneficial to the Andersonville community
Owner commits to a full year of participation in the program
People of color, women, persons with disabilities, and persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming or intersex are encouraged to apply.
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce fosters a vibrant environment in which Andersonville businesses can thrive by attracting a diverse customer base; providing business support services and advocacy; and engaging in business attraction, long-range planning, and economic development. Learn more at andersonville.org.