By: Jack Eisenhuth (Loyola Sophomore)
Loyola University Chicago students both influence and care about local businesses in the Rogers Park and Edgewater communities, especially during a pandemic.
Chicago has recently put a stay-home advisory and with it many businesses have to prepare for a difficult winter. But still, these Mom and Pops have found several ways to keep the lights on. Concert venues sell T-shirts, bars sell to-go cocktails, and restaurants invest in tents and outdoor heaters.
Though the burden falls mainly on the patrons to actively support the businesses they hold dear. For many businesses in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods, that burden falls, in part, on Loyola University students.
Some students contribute to smaller businesses by avoiding large corporations.
Sophomore Alley Neary said, “I make a conscious effort to stray from large corporations such as Target and Amazon… buying from local restaurants is the most convenient way to do so.”
For Brigid Stewart, a 19 year old from Chicago, that means buying coffee from “a local coffee shop… a few times a week” instead of Starbucks or Dunkin’. That coffee shop is Ellipsis Coffeehouse located on W Devon and is quoted as having “kind and welcoming” baristas.
Long Island native Sean Cunnane helped his favorite restaurants back home by getting “takeout food in an effort to help keep restaurants which could not have regular dining afloat.” Here in Chicago, Sean likes to support Pressure Billiards and Cafe (N Clark) for their “very nice staff… variety of games” and “great food!”
The reasons why some patron certain establishments vary. For Lucy Highland, a 19 year old sophomore, it is the “environmentally friendly” nature of Sol Cafe located on W Howard.
For some the uniqueness and diversity of a business often brings customers back for more.
Ava Leathers of Nashville cites the “upcycle[d] and handcraft[ed] home decor” of the black-woman-owned Recycled Modern on W Diversey.
This is the same kind of craft that sophomore Alley Neary found in Andersonville Galleria on N Clark.
As with most things, empathizing over shared experience drives us closer with those in need.
Caitlin Aquila, an 18 year old Chicago native, said of Pho’s Spicier Thai Cuisine (W Devon), “I feel for them, as a restaurant worker, the frustration of not being able to have dine-in customers during the pandemic.”
No matter what your situation is in this crisis, student or resident, it is important to keep the culture of your community thriving through locally owned businesses. Look into some of these businesses and continue supporting your favorites. As 20 year old Cincinatian, Kyle Smith put it: “it is more important than ever to let your money have a voice in who is able to stay open during this tumultuous time.”