Patch: Entrepreneurs Transform Vacant Englewood Space

Originally Published on Entrepreneurs Transform Vacant Englewood Space

Business entrepreneurs have created ‘E.G. Woode,’ a multi-business space that will soon open at the corner of 63rd and May.

CHICAGO — A long vacant space in the heart of the city’s Englewood neighborhood could soon be the site of thriving businesses and the birth of a business model that just may catch on elsewhere. Three businesses expect to open in a newly rehabbed building at the corner of 63rd and May this spring.

The owners of the Beehyyve Design Studio, Powell’s Barbershop and Marie Wesley Consignment Shop all own a portion of the “E.G. Woode” entity, a name that’s a nod to the strength of the neighborhood itself.

Once in operation, E.G. Woode will “provide critical resources, like marketing and real estate, to entrepreneurs who traditionally lack access to much-needed capital and other support that would aid in the development of their businesses,” according to a blog post on the LISC-Chicago website.

It was a $500,000 grant LISC-Chicago helped acquire from the city of Chicago to develop two sites in Englewood: the planned E.G. Woode building at 63rd and May and a second site to be acquired elsewhere on 63rd Street.

“We’ve been working for 10 years to drive investment into the neighborhood to support the community’s vision,” said Meghan Harte, executive director of LISC Chicago. “What we’ve seen is that when investments come, they don’t always create maximum opportunities for wealth for people in the neighborhood. This particular investment does just that, it takes a building that was unused and unkempt and puts it into productive use, it supports a local developer, and it supports his vision of creating more community wealth through a social enterprise.”

The three businesses themselves will also operate out of the space, which could also be used as a community resource area during non-business hours.

Deon Lucas, owner of the Beehyyve design firm, came up with the name E.G. Woode and the business concept it represents. He said all businesses approved to be part of the collaborative must have some community benefit other than profit for the business owner.

“We wanted to start something people could love and understand,” Lucas said. “Our name pays homage to the residents, business owners and community members who have participated.”

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