This holiday season was a particularly special time for small businesses in Humboldt Park. The 2021 holiday season kicked off with Small Business Saturday and a Shop Small social media campaign that ran from November 27th (Small Business Saturday) to January 6th (Three Kings Day). The campaign, run by the SBDC at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, was a hugely successful series of video interviews highlighting small businesses in Humboldt Park. The videos shined light on the deep roots of some of the most iconic Humboldt Park institutions like Café Colao and Municipal Market. They also promoted newer additions like Succulent City, Freshly Touched Salon, and Honeycomb Network. Videos showed images of Municipal Market from 40 years ago when they were the first Latin Frutería in Chicago, as owner Murad Farhan urges viewers to “keep your business where your family lives to support jobs, culture, and real people”. Marcus Kirby, owner of Succulent City, talks about his plant shop and the importance of shopping small, so your money goes back to the local economy rather than corporations who hoard profits. The SBDC at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center filmed, edited, produced, and promoted the videos for the business owners completely free of charge. If you are thinking of starting a business or are already a business owner, please contact the SBDC at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (+1 773-698-7233) for free business advising and resources!
Another highlight of this holiday brought to the community by the SBDC at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center was the first ever Paseo Boricua Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and holiday market at ¡WEPA! Mercado del Pueblo. This tree lighting ceremony was a special event with traditional parranda music, cupcake decorating with holiday images led by local baker Reina’s Cakes, and vejigante ornament making for youth led by local artisan Meadow’s Arte en Papel. The whole day was filled with children’s laughter as they learned about Boricua culture, the vejigante, parranda music, and other unique Puerto Rican holiday traditions. At the same time, families enjoyed the holiday market at ¡WEPA! Mercado del Pueblo thereby supporting local small businesses while getting all their holiday gifts such as organic hair/body care, raw honey, terrariums, Boricua handcrafted art, and much more. Small businesses are the soul of the Humboldt Park community, and it was a powerful show of solidarity this entire holiday season to see community members and organizations shop small.