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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

‘Ladies Of Logan Square’ Events Aim To Unite, Empower Neighborhood’s Small Business Owners

"There [are] a lot of women who own awesome businesses in Logan Square. ... This is a great way to get those people in front of more people," co-founder Mary Nisi said.

(from left) Kelly Marie Thompson, owner of Fleur, and Mary Nisi, owner of Ampersand co-working and DJ company Toast and Jam, are behind the new event series.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — Calling all Logan Square-based female small business owners.

Longtime friends Kelly Marie Thompson, owner of flower and gift shop Fleur, and Mary Nisi, co-owner of Ampersand cowork and the DJ company Toast & Jam, recently launched “Ladies of Logan Square,” a series of events that put Logan Square’s female small business owners, or “lady bosses,” in the spotlight.

“There [are] a lot of women who own awesome businesses in Logan Square — some have brick-and-mortars and some don’t. This is a great way to get those people in front of more people,” Nisi said.

The first-ever “Ladies of Logan Square” event is set for 6-9 p.m. July 11 at Ampersand Cowork at 3317 W. Fullerton Ave.

The event will function much like your typical craft fair with vendor booths and food and drink options. It’ll be a place for Logan Square women to show off their wares and network with other women.

More than a dozen women-led businesses centered on everything from tarot card reading to acupuncture are slated to attend the first event. If all goes according to the plan, the two would like to host two or three of the events per year with a rotating lineup of small businesses.

It was important to Nisi and Thompson that the event is open to woman who run all kinds of businesses – and not just retailers.

“I know weddings and retail, but when I’m talking to someone else who runs a bakery or acupuncture [business] there’s a whole different mindset that has helped me become a better business owner,” Thompson said.

The two are also encouraging women who run smaller businesses — either out of their homes or in other spaces — to get involved.

“Especially when you’re a woman business owner, you tend to have imposter syndrome and you think you’re not big enough to have a brick-and-mortar or you don’t take yourself as seriously as you actually are,” Nisi said. “This gives women who have smaller companies. … an opportunity to get their name out there.”

Thompson and Nisi said they both have trouble finding the time to network and collaborate with other business owners on top of all of their work and family obligations. With “Ladies of Logan Square,” they hope to make those things easier for other women in the neighborhood, and to create a community of “badass” women in the process.

“It’s really hard sometimes to get together for lunch or to network as small business owners because you’re wearing so many hats,” Thompson said.

“I’ve been invited to book clubs that I couldn’t join, to getting drinks after work.”

Added Nisi: “I would love to do that sometimes and it just isn’t’ a possibility, so I’m creating the bar and the snacks. …”

Anyone who is interested in participating should email Thompson at info@fleurchicago.com and Nisi at info@ampersandlogansquare.com.

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