SOUTH SHORE — The South Shore Chamber of Commerce won a $5,000 2018 Neighborhood Change Seed Grant for its proposal to create a semi-permanent storefront for South Shore vendors and artisans to sell their products and services.
Sponsored by Groupon and organized by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago, the 2018 Neighborhood Change Seed Grant Awards gave groups focused on growing business districts the opportunity to receive seed funding for innovative ideas that would support economic development in their respective neighborhoods.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce will use the grant to launch the South Shore Artisan Collective, a storefront that will feature local businesses at 1735 E. 71st St. along South Shore’s 71st Street business corridor. If all goes well, the chamber hopes to open the space by Nov. 22.
Tonya Triche, president of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, said the grant will allow local makers to reach new customers without increasing overhead.
Tameeka Christian, program officer for Local Initiatives, said the program launched in 2015 has trained 50 community organizations about best practices in commercial corridors, redevelopment and leadership development.
“Not only will this help the businesses and the artists, but it will also help property owners who have vacant storefronts,” Triche said. “This program is designed to help identify viable businesses that can occupy some of the vacant retail space available on 71st Street.”
The chamber is currently reviewing proposals from South Shore-based brands and products who want to be featured in the storefront. Businesses interested in being featured can email email@example.com for more information.
“After this group of artisans complete the program hopefully we will help them identify an independent retail space of their own and we will take in a new class of participants in the pop-up space,” Trice said.
Two other neighborhood chambers also received grants as part of the 2018 Neighborhood Change Seed Grant Awards. The Edgewater Chamber of Commerce received $2,500 for the “We All Live Here Photo Project” and the Rogers Park Business Alliance received $2,500 for the “Vision Clark Street Plan”.
Matt Kruse, head of social responsibility at Groupon, said the company believes in giving back to Chicago’s neighborhoods.
“One of our focus areas here at Groupon is local community development so that really helps us live into our core value of building engaging communities,” Kruse said.
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