While many small businesses were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the five business sectors most affected by COVID-19 generate almost 50% of the revenues of all Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses and individuals are 65% of Hispanics and Latinos work in these sectors, according to McKinsey. Many of these businesses and individuals are still trying to get back to their pre-pandemic normal.
The Chicago Association of REALTORS® Foundation and The 77 Diversity Committee continue to help local small business owners affected by the pandemic through small business grants. During Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 to October 15 every year, we awarded two grants to Hispanic, locally owned businesses: a plant shop and retail store.
Make sure to stop by and support their establishments.
3056 W. Diversey Ave.
Fernando Cotto is passionate about plants. He worked at a greenhouse for many years but was unhappy with the shifts in the company when the COVID-19 pandemic began. So, he took matters into his own hands. Cotto left his job in 2020 to open his own retail nursery, Terracotto Plants, in Logan Square.
Terracotto Plants is a neighborhood plant store that prides itself on having a knowledgeable staff and everything a plant parent could need to ensure their customers’ new plants feel at home. Beyond plants and pots, the store also offers plant repotting services, in-home consultations, classes and events like yoga and plant exchanges. And, for free, the store offers a community cutting wall, where people can come in and take, or leave, cuttings whenever they would like.
Terracotto Plants plays an integral role in the community, specifically when it comes to residents’ furry friends. It honors their customer’s dogs, who are welcome at the store, by showcasing them on the Wall of Good Boys. The store also donated a Monstera plant and gift card to One Tail At A Time’s Houndstooth Ball, a dog-friendly gala which supports its no-kill rescues initiatives.
According to Cotto, the grant will go towards business operations that will help the young business keep their doors open.
The Made Shop
4440 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Made Shop is a local retail store that sells handmade items from entrepreneurs, artists and other creatives from across Chicago.
Owner Christina Parker based the store around the idea of pop-up shops. She was also inspired by her desire to sell her own work, which was a journey plagued with many barriers. She knew she wasn’t alone in his struggle, so she opened a place where others could sell their goods.
At The Made Store, you can find earrings, clothes, home goods, candles and much more. Every three months, Parker rotates products to give as many artists as possible the opportunity to sell their products.
Over the last year, the store has given back to those in need. When Ukraine was attacked, Parker made shirts in-house and donated the proceeds to the children of Ukraine who were affected by the tragedy.
This grant will help with business operations, as the store has been forced to close its doors over the last few years periodically due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 exposure.
We will continue to support other Chicago-based, minority-owned small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year. Keep an eye out for our small business grant application announcements and share them with those who qualify. Together, we will continue to uplift our communities and those who keep them thriving