Ready to pop: Berwyn Shops add some color before opening day in June

Sherwin Williams  employees including Xavier Martinez of Chicago help paint the Berwyn pop up shops April 16.

As the days count down to the opening of the new Berwyn Shops: A Homegrown Project, the new retailers joined Berwyn residents and city staff to add some color to the shops that will house 12 temporary businesses this summer.

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves for Paint Day on April 16, adding fresh coats of colorful paint to the 12 small cottage-style buildings at 6931 Roosevelt Road. Berwyn Shops is an incubator project, giving small business owners a taste of having their own retail space for their products and services while adding new vibrancy to the Roosevelt shopping corridor.

Kendra Shaw, project manager of economic development and planning services for the Berwyn Development Corporation, said she continues to be impressed by the local support and interest in what will serve as a business incubator space for homegrown businesses.

“Everyone is super excited,” Shaw said.

The 12 businesses that will be featured in the inaugural year of Berwyn Shops were selected by a team of volunteers, including residents and local business owners. Shaw said she received 30 applications for the 12 opportunities. These applications, which included store information and business plans, were reviewed before narrowing down to the 20 finalists who had an opportunity to go before the 13-person review team in a “Shark Tank” style presentation with questions.

The 12 selected businesses include two bakeries – with one specializing in vegan treats – a pet accessory store, a jewelry store and a flower shop that crafts balloon arches and party décor.

“I’m really impressed with the wide variety of products that will be offered,” Shaw said.

The 12 selected business include cosmetics business Date Nite Beaute; Flores by Alba, a small Latina-owned flower bouquet and balloon arrangement business; Juicey Gems jewelry; K Shulada, featuring handmade clothing and accessories from Mexico and Latin America; Los Amigos Books, featuring bilingual and Spanish language books; Makrame Green with handmade decor; Poocha Pets, a Chicago-area Mexican crafted pet apparel, food and accessories store; Ritual Theory featuring holistic candle and bath products; So Soft Beauty, an environmentally conscious line of skin care products and more; Sofia and Valentina with handcrafted jewelry and apparel; Sugar Sweet Dreams cakes, pastries and desserts; and The Vulgar Vegan Cupcakes.

As the physical transformation of the site continues, these budding entrepreneurs are meeting with members of the Women’s Business Development Center to work on financial aspects including using software to run their businesses. By the end of April, each business will have access to their space and can begin adding their personal touch and display space, Shaw said.

Opening day is set for June 3 and the shops will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December.

Shaw said there’s been incredible support from the community, from those volunteering their time to paint to a local design firm helping with interior designs and another resident lending time and materials to help with flooring.

“So many people want to be involved,” Shaw said.

Paint Day was supported by Sherwin Williams, which provided paint, supplies and sent its staff to help, Shaw said.

The community can follow the progress on the Berwyn Shops on its website, as well as through its social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.