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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

TipsySpace, A West Town Bakery And Event Venue, Closes Due To Coronavirus

Customers can still order treats or make a donation, which will help pay bills and staff.

Naomi Levine is the owner of TipsySpace, a bakery, art gallery and event venue, at 1223 W. Grand Ave. in West Town.
Hannah Alani/Block Club Chicago
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WEST TOWN — Another locally owned business is closing its doors due to the coroanvirus pandemic.

TipsySpace, 1223 W. Grand Ave., will close Friday, owner Naomi Levine announced in an email to her mailing list on Tuesday.

Levine said she hopes the closure is temporary and she will be able to reopen her event venue and bakery after the pandemic.

“It’s with great sadness that I’m writing to you today that TipsySpace is shutting down our operations Friday, May 22nd,” Levine said. “While we are feeling brokenhearted over this decision, we are first and foremost survivors and optimistic about what the future holds.”

Credit: TipsySpace / Facebook / Provided
A COVID-19-inspired toilet paper cake from TipsySpace.

Levine couldn’t immediately be reached for further comment.

Customers can still place online orders for cookies, pastries and cakes — including Levine’s famous toilet paper cake — before Friday. Cookies can ship nationwide.

Levine said customers can also help by making a donation.

“…There are vendor bills and staff to pay; and with our limited operations we don’t have enough to cover the costs to keep the business alive,” Levine said. “We are asking for your help one final time, no matter how big or small.”

Levine emigrated from Sydney, Australia to Chicago in 1999. Her first job was in sales at a toy company, near the corner Erie and Orleans streets. 

Levine opened the original TipsyCake in Humboldt Park in 2006. After selling the business in 2013, she decided to dive back in and start it up again — along with an event space — in 2019.

The new TipsySpace opened in the former Sip Coffeehouse.

In her career, Levine has baked for Indy Car champion Danica Patrick and renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. She made 30th birthday red velvet cupcakes for Kanye West, a 40th birthday vanilla cake for Gov. JB Pritzker and a sprinkle-covered birthday confection for model Kate Upton.

RELATED: TipsySpace, A Bakery, Art Gallery And Event Venue, Replaces Sip Coffeehouse In West Town

Credit: Hannah Alani/Block Club Chicago
Naomi Levine is the owner of TipsySpace, a bakery, art gallery and event venue, at 1223 W. Grand Ave. in West Town. Before TipsySpace, Levine owned TipsyCake.

Since the creation of TipsySpace, Levine has played a role in activism; earlier this year, Levine and other Australian-Americans organized a fundraiser for bushfire relief. A majority of proceeds benefited BlazeAid, a volunteer organization rebuilding fences and other structures in rural Australia.

During the shutdown, Levine applied for funds through the federal government’s Payment Protection Program as well as the city’s Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. She received neither.

Levine said her payroll costs increased during the shutdown while doing takeout and delivery orders, but her sales decreased. She was unable to secure a business loan or get a rent discount, she said. 

RELATED: Chicago Small Businesses Shut Out Of Federal Government’s Loan Program: ‘We Don’t Matter To Them’

“We have not taken any loans and have bootstrapped this business and I cannot continue to finance without a salary coming in any longer,” she said Tuesday. “However you, our clients, and friends, have kept us afloat for over two months when others shut their doors and collected funds and their staff collected unemployment.”

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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