The effects of Covid-19 on Evanston's small businesses are not over. Many of them are still struggling to stay open and depend on all of us to visit and try new things, purchase, and spread the word if you love their product. Sometimes, they need our financial support simply to tide them over rough patches. All this is especially true of Black-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color.
That's why I'm sharing a GoFundMe for 4 Suns Fresh Juice, a cool spot at 1906 Main Street with a funky vibe and outstanding healthy juices and smoothies that opened several months ago -- a long-time dream of lifelong Evanston resident Gabriella JP Walker.
Please support her generously. Donate here.
Here's Gabi's message:
Some of you may know that I took a leap of faith and opened my business, 4 Suns Fresh Juice, during a time when most were shutting down. I also stuck to my plan and decided to open my shop in a neighborhood that I knew could benefit from healthful juices and whole foods, and where people also looked like me - a person of color.
Many people in my family have died of preventable disease, including my mother who died of a heart attack while making breakfast at the age of 60. My life mission became to share the importance of a nutritious whole foods diet, and I eventually started operating pop-up juice bars at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center. When an old friend offered a small investment to open up a storefront, I knew I had to take the chance.
Although we opened 4 Suns during the pandemic, the Evanston community slowly learned of our existence and shared our story. A small rainbow was emerging through the looming grey clouds of Covid; our nutritious smoothies and nourishing fresh juices were creating a true buzz in Evanston and beyond. I felt more motivated than ever to keep pushing forward with my dream.
But the painful truth of the matter is that the effects of Covid are still ravaging most industries, including ours. Produce prices are skyrocketing, packaging materials have been inconsistently available, and sales are fluctuating to the point of not being able to accurately forecast the next few months. Sales are declining, and my heart is heavy as I have had to cut payroll with a staff I have grown to love like family. To boot, 4 Suns also didn’t qualify for the Federal funding that so many existing businesses had. So while our social media presence is strong and people love our offerings, many folks don’t realize that we are holding on by a thin straw. Making it to our one-year anniversary on December 4 is a dream I will not let go until I know I have given this my ALL.
I share my story with you as a humble plea. My plea is that you do whatever you can to help keep this dream of mine alive - for me, and for Evanston. Even a click the ‘share’ button is more meaningful than you may know. The sun is not ready to go down; please help me keep the light shining on for 4 Suns, for my family and staff, and for the Evanston community that needs these healthful options to not only increase longevity, but to be a bright spot during an incredibly hard time for us all.
With love, gratitude and so much appreciation,
4 Suns’ Mama, Gabi
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