Monthly Archives: January 2021

Fries Anyone?

Many businesses have made a huge loss this year and even more have had to close.  One of the hardest hit has been the restaurant industry and seeing more and more closures has been very hard.

But one eatery has actually done even better and is now looking to expand.  Craig Batiste of Mr. Fries Man began selling his fries from his backyard four years ago with just $400 to make a go of it.  He got a lot of local (and familial) support and sometime later

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses hard, the restaurant Mr. Fries Man has been able to expand and franchise.

With $400 and support from his family and the community, Batiste and his wife Dorothy  got to work selling fries. Around a year later they were able to open their first location in 2017 in Gardena, California without any bank loans or investors.

now there is a franchise in Los Angeles. Located at 3844 S Figueroa Street, this is part of the expansion that has resulted in an opening of 21 locations in 7 months.  Batiste puts his success down to support from family and community and the work he does on social media which has resulted in 350,000 Instagram followers.

Local Small Business and Chicago Urban Main Market

The coronavirus pandemic has taken an economic toll on everyone, individually, community, and especially with businesses, more specifically small businesses and their owners.  Chicago has been no different.

But there has been one organization that has been trying to ease the strain for these people and their companies.  That is Cakewalk Chicago, a company offering dessert and candy decorating kits for any person (or company) that wishes to enhance their an attempt to bolster its own business downtown, Cakewalk has been using an organization – Chicago Urban Main Market – to promote local small businesses.  This has resulted in increasing awareness about Cakewalk.   Likewise, Sweet Freaks and Beverly Dry Goods has been using the organization and also reaping the benefits.

Urban Main is under the National Main Street Center (NMSC) umbrella which seeks to offer help to local communities and districts lacking the resources needed to grow their businesses.  With a focus on “economic vitality” and “quality of life” the nonprofit organization has been working for over four decades in such revitalization efforts.

Giving Back, Especially Now

The Chicago Bulls have always had a reputation for giving generously to the community. This year – especially with COVID 19 and despite its challenges – they did so even more.

What better time to engage in the selfless act of gift giving to those less fortunate than ourselves than during Christmas?  This has been a tradition of the Chicago Bulls for many years and with the full and generous support of its players and partners, the team embraced many locals with gifts.

These 1,000 Chicagoans received an array of gifts.  Different people received different packages which had one or more of the following:

  1. Annual Holiday Meal
  2. Bulls sweatshirts
  3. Thanksgiving meal baskets
  4. Gift Cards
  5. Holiday meals for youth
  6. Holiday care packages
  7. Grocery Gift Cards
  8. Bulls gears

Some of those involved in the generosity were:

  1. Zach LaVine
  2. Jewel-Osco
  3. Otto Porter Jr.
  4. Thaddeus Young
  5. Operation Warm
  6. I Grow Chicago
  7. The Dovetail Project
  8. Wendell Carter Jr.
  9. Lauri Markkanen
  10. Denzel Valentine
  11. Chi Gives Back

It was a real team effort.  In addition, for some time now already since the pandemic started to hit, Hyde Park restaurants got together with Feeding Frontliners and Kenwood Food Project to give first responders and medical workers meals. Others participating in these endeavors include: Amer Abdullah of Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen which has already fed more than 2,000 first responders, 10 hospitals and four police districts.