WEST TOWN — A Bucktown store dedicated to selling handmade crafts and art is expanding to West Town and Wicker Park.
The Chicago Makers Pop-Up Shop opens its second storefront Wednesday at the West Town Chamber of Commerce’s Pop-Up Project Space, 1821 W. Chicago Ave.
In early November, the business will open a third location in Wicker Park at 1279 N. Damen Ave. Each storefront will showcase about 30 small business owners from the Chicago area.
Co-owners Anna Romo and Monica Little launched the first iteration of their pop-up during the 2020 holiday season, then started a semi-permanent site in Bucktown early this year. Romo said the latest expansion was driven by a steady interest from local artisans and creatives eager to sell their wares.
“There are so many creative small business owners in Chicago, and we really try to keep competition down within our store. And so because of that, we have a massive waitlist,” she said.
Romo and Little also run a Facebook group of around 700 local small businesses and makers, which serves as way for them to network and create partnerships.
“We’ve just been getting to know more and more people. Our goal is to help as many small businesses as possible,” Romo said.
Romo’s and Little’s own products are also for sale at the stores. Romo began making candles after losing her job as a massage therapist at the beginning of the pandemic. After connecting with Little, who runs an organic skincare line, they came up with the idea for the pop-up shop.
“Neither of us have any experience in retail, or this level of marketing or PR, or management or merchandising, but we’ve just been learning along the way,” Romo said. “I just think both of us feel very strongly that everyone should follow what lights them up. And learn as much as they can along the way.”
Romo and Little signed a yearlong lease in January on their Bucktown location, 2064 N. Damen Ave. Each storefront will operate until Dec. 23, selling everything from leatherwork to jewelry to prints and paintings.
To get involved, artisans and small business owners can fill out a form of interest here.
All three Chicago Makers Pop-Up locations will be open noon-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sundays.
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