New Maywood Store A Haven For Hungry Entrepreneurs

Sunday, June 23, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Featured image: Tami Yarbrough, right, with siblings Henderson Yarbrough Jr. and Carmen Yarbrough during Tami’s monthly popup shop in Maywood on June 15. | Shanel Romain

For the last six months — thanks to the vision of an intrepid local entrepreneur — Maywood has attracted a steady stream of business owners looking for an opportunity to network and sell their products.

Tami Yarbrough, the owner of Cheryl Renee’s Things, 1027 S. 17th Ave. in Maywood, said that she’s been hosting popup shops at her boutique since she opened earlier this year.

“Small businesses need support,” she said during a popup shop that took place during a rainy Saturday afternoon on June 15. The rain, however, didn’t deter several dozen dedicated shoppers.

“That’s why I do this,” Yarbrough said. “I want to bring the community out, so they can see we’re supporting small businesses. They need our support.”

Yarbrough said that her store is named after her late sister, who died from asthma and heart disease at 21.

“All this is in honor of her,” she said, adding that she’s been designing and making the jewelry that lines the display cases in her Maywood shop since 2005.  

Yarbrough’s popups have attracted vendors from around Proviso Township and beyond.

Missy Robinson — a licensed cosmetologist and the founder of Rooted, a company that sells natural hair products and handmade wares, such as satin bonnets and bracelets —  traveled from Oak Park to exhibit at Yarbrough’s popup shop.

Missy Robinson shows off her handmade satin bonnet during Yarbrough’s popup shop on June 15. | Shanel Romain

“I was online looking at different popup shops and I came across this,” said Robinson, 29. “It’s close to home. This is my first popup shop.”

For Carla Johnson, a Maywood designer and proud Proviso East graduate, Yarbrough’s popup shop allowed her to display and sell La Carr, her sleek line of active wear that originated from her passion for making her own clothes.

“One day, I said I’m just going to do this,” Johnson recalled, adding that she debuted her line a month ago on Facebook and Instagram—selling out in five days.

Some vendors made the popup shop into a family affair. Paula Hobbs, 54, and from Chicago’s West Side, sold her homemade baked goods while her son, Emanuel Williams, 30, of South Chicago Heights, sold t-shirts. Meanwhile, Hobbs’s 19-year-old daughter, Kiana, sold handmade jewelry.

“It’s been a really good turnout so far,” Kiana said. “So far, so good.”

Despite the rain, Wrasulin Taylor, 47, of Lagrange, was still able to sale some of her inventory in her outdoor tent. Taylor owns Be Posh Bath.

Like Robinson, Yarbrough’s popup shop was the first such event for Brehia Walton-Love, who founded 773 Accessories along with her husband. Walton-Love, who lives on the West Side, said that she also learned of the event on Facebook. She said attending Yarbrough’s popup shop was as much about connecting with other people as it was about making sells.  

“Sells for me today are going great, but it’s more about networking,” she said. “I love the networking. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily about making money, but meeting other people and getting your brand out.”

Although all of the vendors had stories to tell, for some, this was quite literally the case.

Authors Sherelle Green, Nicole Falls, Anita Davis and Angela Seals are the rarest of entrepreneurs — they’re all African American women who are published romance novelists. They were at Yarbrough’s popup shop selling their many titles (Green has authored some two dozen books).

Nicole Falls, Anita Davis, Angela Seals and Sherelle Green — all of whom are members of Chicago Book Euphoria — during the popup shop on June 15. | Shanel Romain

The four women are members of the Chicago Book Euphoria — a group of 12 published African American women authors founded in 2015 to promote literacy by convening workshops, panel discussions and other initiatives.

“We’re our own publishers and some of us write for other publishers,” said Greene, 33, who both publishes her own work and writes for Harlequin.

The four published authors who showed up in Maywood had advice that applies to entrepreneurs across the board.

Carla Johnson and Rajeska Jackson model Johnson’s Le Carr line of active wear on June 15 in Maywood. | Shanel Romain

Everybody has a story, they said. Find a tribe, because if you don’t it’s easy to get discouraged and stop. Most importantly, they said, keep writing.

Keep at it, whatever it is — which is what Yarbrough said she plans to do. Her next event is Saturday, July 13, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more info, click here. VFP

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