Trolley to transport shoppers in Jefferson Park, 6 Corners, Austin-Irving this Saturday
by BRIAN NADIG
A free holiday trolley service on “Small Business Saturday” is designed to highlight the unique, independent small businesses in the Six Corners, Jefferson Park and Austin-Irving communities.
American Express started the nationwide event 10 years ago in an effort to bring more attention to small businesses on the Saturday after “Black Friday,” when big-box retailers traditionally capture the headlines by opening their stores in the early morning hours. The credit card giant estimates that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in that community.
The trolley will remind residents not to forget about the independently owned stores in their neighborhood and will make it as easy as possible for them to get to local stores, not having to worry about traffic and parking, said trolley organizer Stephanie Rybandt, owner of Fannie’s Café, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave.
“I was working with the Six Corners Association to try to do something creative for Small Business Saturday … that would eliminate all those excuses, that would bring people literally to the front door of the small businesses,” Rybandt said.
The trolley will run every 15 to 20 minutes with 10 stops from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, with the first pickups at 11 a.m. at Milwaukee and Belle Plaine avenues and at the Gale Street Inn, 4914 N. Milwaukee Ave., where a breakfast with Santa will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will end with a gift wrapping party at 5 p.m. at the Foundation Tavern, 5007 W. Irving Park Road.
In addition, from 1 to 4 p.m. the Northwest Arts Connection will sponsor a “Winter Wonderland” at City News Café, 4018 N. Cicero Ave., which is a stop on the trolley route. It will include caroling, Mrs. Santa, storytelling, face painting, roasted marshmallows, hot cocoa and homemade truffles. Free admission.
The last full loop of the trolley service will start at 4 p.m., and riders are asked to plan accordingly so that they don’t miss their final destination. The Milwaukee-Montrose, Austin-Irving and Austin-Irving intersections are among the other scheduled pickup and drop-off locations, which will be marked with decorative signage.
About 35 businesses are participating in the “Northwest Side Holiday Trolley” celebration, which is being organized by the Six Corners Association, Jefferson Park Forward, Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce and Irving-Austin Business District.
A volunteer on each of the two trolleys will have information about the participating businesses at each stop, Rybandt said.
In addition to the organizers of the trolley, the following also are participating or sponsoring: Jefferson Park — Gale Street Inn, Weston’s Coffee, Love My Lucky Dress, Jefferson Park Sunday Market and Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association; Montrose/Milwaukee — REP CHI, Usborne Books, Cosmic Bikes, Fearless Cooking, Tone Deaf Records, Third Place Chicago Pop-Up and Lake Effect Brewing; Six Corners — Distinct Bath and Body, Fannie’s Café, Fischman Public House/Eris Brewery, House Pop-Up Shop, Fantasy Costumes, Today’s Avon, City Newsstand, Wildlight Yoga, Foundation Tavern and Culver’s; Irving/Austin — Amara’s Resale Shop, Collectiv, Kasia’s Bridal, Occasion Boutique, Thrift & Thrive, Perkolator, Portage Park Tea, Dahlia Blooms Design, Bistro 6050 and Patio Theater; and Austin/Lawrence — Delightful Pastries.