CHICAGO (CBS) — We hear often about businesses struggling to survive – thousands that could close any day in the coronavirus pandemic.
But CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov found one restaurant that is making it work.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Record Warmth Possible Next 2 Days
Times are definitely tough for many restaurants and food counters. But three establishments in a food court in Pullman are still making a go of it.
All three opened in the last two years or so. But one of the three – AndySunflower Café – took the bold step of opening a mere two weeks ago at the One Eleven Food Hall, 756 E. 111th St.
“I was scared, very nervous,” said AndySunflower Café owner Andy Robinson. “But I have confidence in my brand; confidence in my staff, so definitely was willing to take a chance.”
And that is exactly what Robinson, 47, did the day before Thanksgiving. She opened AndySunflower Café – a coffee shop – when restaurants by the hundreds are shutting down temporarily – or for good.
A loan from the nonprofit Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives helped her do it.
“It gave me the confidence to just do it – even during a pandemic,” Robinson said.READ MORE: Illinois Department Of Employment Security Admits To Monthlong Callback Wait Times; State Rep. Says Methods Must Change
“This is what we do what we do,” said Eric King, president of the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives’ Micro Finance Group, which gave Robinson and the other two restaurant owners loans to get off the ground.
King said 92 percent of their loans go to minority-owned businesses. A majority of them are earmarked to open businesses in low-income areas.
“We don’t see this often on the South Side of Chicago, on the West Side of Chicago – all those neighborhoods that our organization really works to serve,” King said.
In this case, the shared space gives all an extra boost – and Robinson’s café was a recent bonus.
“Besides there not being any coffee anywhere in Pullman, she’s just a breath of fresh air,” said Dominique Leach, owner of Lexington Betty’s Smokehouse.
“I’m excited to bring my brand to this community – small business, African-American, one of the first – so I’m excited about that,” Robinson said.MORE NEWS: The United Center COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site: An Inside Look
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