Justice Wakefield and Michelle Morales speak to a customer at Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St., on Aug. 29, 2023 as the cafe celebrates its 10th year of serving the community. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

ENGLEWOOD — With the holiday season swiftly approaching, South Side businesses are showcasing their most delicious desserts, colorful threads and friendly aquatic creatures to make gift-giving fun and fast. 

Kusanya Cafe, now in its tenth year, has freshly roasted coffee and branded mugs up for grabs. Justice of the Pies, new to Chatham, has “unorthodox” flavored pies and unisex crewnecks. 

Block Club gathered a range of gift choices to help you celebrate your neighborhood while tackling your holiday shopping list.

Here’s where you can shop:


Credit: Englewood Branded

Englewood Branded, 1546 W. 63rd St. Website.

Whether opening a new pop-up plaza for neighbors to relax after a hectic day or hosting a festival to direct people to local resources, Englewood native Corrie Luckett always shows love for his community. He continues that work daily as the founder of Englewood Branded, a South Side shop with clothes boasting the neighborhood’s name. 

This holiday season, shoppers can buy gold and black checkered shirts with the brand’s name ($75) or bright purple snapbacks with the store’s logo on the front ($40). 

Shoppers can pair the hat with a matching hoodie ($70) or a “Love, Respect, Honor, Dedication” top ($35). 

Most items are available online. Luckett’s store is also open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-6 p.m. Saturdays. 773-912-6721. 

Halliman PC Company, Instagram, Website.

While teaching remotely during the pandemic, Englewood STEM High School teacher Calvin Halliman found himself connecting with his students while talking about video games. The kids were impressed by his computer gaming set up — so he decided to teach them how to build their own. Now, Halliman is helping Chicagoans create custom gaming computers. His builds can be used for esports competitions, or just for gamers looking to take their play to the next level. 

Beginner eSports PC builds start at $1,150, and a Monitor x Keeb/Mouse x Headset Bundle is $500. Find out more here.

A coffee at Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St., on Aug. 29, 2023 as the cafe celebrates its 10th year of serving the community. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St. Website.

Kusanya Cafe, an Englewood cafe that doubles as a nonprofit, celebrated its tenth anniversary in September, solidifying its status as a neighborhood staple. 

Next door to the shop is the “Roasting Room,” where owner Phil Sipka roasts small batches of their beloved coffee on site. 

Freshly roasted coffee is available in 12-ounce whole bean and ground bags ($13). An Ethiopia blend offers smooth, fruity flavors, while a Wolf Blend is bright, fruity and floral. Adventurous coffee lovers searching for an exciting new cup of joe each morning can choose the Origin of the Week flavor. 

Kusanya Cafe also sells mugs and T-shirts for those who want to show their love for the shop. The cafe also accepts online donations to support the nonprofit’s work on the South Side.

Coffee bags are available in the coffee shop or online. T-shirts and mugs are available in-store only. Donations can be made “to-go” or “for here” online

Open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday. 773-675-4758. 

Handbags for sale at Marie | Wesley at the ribbon cutting ceremony for E.G. Woode, 1122 W. 63rd St., in Englewood on Aug. 25, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Marie | Wesley, 1122 W. 63rd St. Website.

Marie | Wesley owner Nanette Tucker celebrated one year in business in October with a Cajun crawfish boil, where locals could eat then shop the store’s colorful threads.

If you missed the celebration, no worries. You can still shop for handmade bags, designer clothes, accessories and other fashionable wear at the Englewood consignment shop. 

You can shop online at Marie|Wesley’s website or visit in person to browse through vintage clothes and catch a glimpse of art by local creators on the walls. 

Open noon-7 p.m. Tuesday- Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. 312-877-6747.

Credit: Englewood Aquatics/Facebook

Englewood Aquatics, 1015 W. 63rd St. Website.

Pet supply store Englewood Aquatics is new to the community, but they’re already punching up the laughs with comedic promotional videos

If you need a new addition to your household — like a freshwater fish or a reptile — the store has everything you need to build a healthy aquarium and terrarium. The shop also has adorable pet supplies for pups and cats. 

Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. 866-773-8625.

Flower bouquet grown by Southside Blooms Credit: Provided.

Southside Blooms, 6250 S. Morgan St. Website.

Every purchase at founder Quilen Blackwell’s flower shop, Southside Blooms, goes towards job creation for at-risk young people in the city. The farm-to-vase shop doesn’t use pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on its flowers, and every arrangement is designed with style. 

Add sunshine to your your loved one’s life this winter with a $45 bouquet subscription, or order a colorful assortment online. 773-358-4227.


Patrons peruse the snack stand at the newly opened Cinema Chatham, 210 W. 87th St. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Cinema Chatham, 210 W. 87th St. Website.

The Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, the union for film and TV actors, strikes are over, meaning productions are rolling again, actors can begin promoting their work, and people can expect living wages. As they say, the movies are back! 

If you’re looking to get back in the theater and catch a flick or two, Cinema Chatham Powered by Emagine is the place to be — and they’ve got cheesy popcorn, luxury seats and a bar to compliment the experience. 

Shoppers can buy gift cards at the Chatham theater or purchase an eGift card worth $20-$200.

Open noon-10 p.m. daily. 773-322-1450.

Fish swim in a display at Aquatic Oasis, 1700 E. 87th St., in Avalon Park on Aug. 25, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Aquatic Oasis, 1700 E. 87th St. Website.

Brandon Holmes never thought he’d own a fish shop, but two years later, his shop, Aquatic Oasis, is still a beloved destination for plant life, aquarium supplies and vibrant fish. 

You can head to Holmes’ shop to purchase freshwater plants and corals to spruce up your loved one’s at-home aquarium or purchase a custom tank to add a new look to your home.

Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon.-5 p.m. Sundays. 773-595-3176.

A treat available at the Justice of the Pies shop. Credit: Dan Goldberg

Justice of the Pies, 8655 S. Blackstone Ave., Website.

Maya-Camille Broussard opened a storefront for Justice of the Pies, her beloved pie brand, earlier this year. Neighbors can visit her shop for delicious treats made with “unorthodox flavor pairings,” like a German chocolate bourbon pecan pie.

You can curb your sweet tooth — and satisfy a few others, too — with an online order at Broussard’s website. If you want new clothing to go with your pie order, Broussard also sells merchandise celebrating the brand. You can snag a Hey Cutie Pie unisex shirt ($20) or stay warm with a Justice of the Pies crewneck ($72.50). 

Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. info@justiceofthepies.com.

Various bean pies sit waiting to be packaged at Imani’s Original Bean Pies and Fine Foods, Inc., in South Shore on Oct. 25, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Imani’s Original Bean Pies, 2423 E. 75th St., Website.

After nearly 20 years of selling her sweet bean pies at grocery stores, Imani Muhammad opened her shop, Imani’s Original Bean Pies, on 75th Street last winter. 

Between the original bean pie ($9.99) and a cream cheese bean pie ($9.99), it’s hard to choose which dessert is the best, but you can let the pie-lover in your life be the decider. 

Muhammad’s treats are available for nationwide online shipping or in-person browsing. 

Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 773-716-7007.

Founder Chez Smith poses for a portrait at the newly opened Gyrls in the H.O.O.D. Reproductive Health Services Center, 605 E. 71st St., in Greater Grand Crossing on Feb. 13, 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Gyrls In The H.O.O.D., 605 E. 71st St., Website.

Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. Foundation founder Chez Smith has long provided on-the-go care services and products for young people on the South and West sides. She expanded her reach earlier this year when she opened the Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. Reproductive Health Services Center for people to receive menstruation supplies and hygiene products to “experience a period with dignity.” 

You can support Smith’s work this holiday season with an online donation in someone’s name. Smith also sells merchandise, like H.O.O.D mugs ($16.99) and Gyrls in The H.O.O.D Matter hoodies ($38.99) online. All proceeds benefit Smith’s efforts. 

Open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays. 773-675-4317.

Caramel cakes for sale at Brown Sugar Bakery. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Brown Sugar Bakery, 328 E. 75th St., Website

Owner Stephanie Hart has long been known for whipping up some of the best cakes at her South Side shop, Brown Sugar Bakery. She’ll soon bake even more of those cakes — and some chocolates, too — at her new manufacturing facility in Ashburn

Hart’s desserts often sell out ahead of the holiday season, so if you want your loved ones to try some of the best caramel cake in the city, now’s the time to order. 

Four-layer turtle cakes ($84.95) and 8-inch caramel cakes ($79.99) are only a few treats you can order online for nationwide shipping. You can also shop in person at Hart’s Chatham bakery.

Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. 773-224-6262.

Auburn Gresham

Chicago historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas gives a group of high school students a tour of Bronzeville on Feb. 23, 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Chicago Mahogany. Website.

When Tiktok historian and Auburn Gresham native Shermann “Dilla” Thomas isn’t filming educational videos for his social media followers, he’s taking Chicagoans on local history tours on his new bus

Thomas isn’t shy about his love for the Windy City, and he’s got the Chicago-themed gear to prove it. 

For your favorite local, snag an Everything Dope About America Comes From Chicago hoodie ($20) from Thomas’ online shop. Thomas recently added his coined slogan in Spanish to T-shirts ($20). 

Previous guides:

Do you want your business added to our gift guide? Sponsored spots are still available! Email zack@blockclubchi.org for more information.

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Atavia Reed is a reporter for Block Club Chicago, covering the Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Chatham neighborhoods. Twitter @ataviawrotethis