Sweet Temptations Bake Shop
607 W Howard St.
Growing up in Mexico, co-owner of Sweet Temptations Bake Shop Yuri Oropeza remembers her mother baking sweet treats for her family. That tradition continued after her family immigrated to the U.S., and in 2016, Oropeza and her mother opened their dream bakery.
“We’re a family-owned, women-owned business, and we try to give as much back to the community, and the community gives it back,” Oropeza says.
Sweet Temptations specializes in custom event cakes while also serving coffee and Mexican-inspired baked goods.
niceLena & Friends
1235 Chicago Ave.
It’s hard to miss niceLena & Friends’ bright yellow exterior and festive window display. Owner Lena Kim opened the store in 2018 and sells jewelry, candles, printed mugs and coasters, among other homegoods. Kim’s items are handmade with designs inspired by her childhood in South Korea.
“Being a retail owner is kind of like being a bartender but during the day,” Kim says. “People come through, and there’s a lot of small talk, deep talk.”
Nargis Beauty Spot
607 Dempster St.
Co-owner Nargis Fatima has owned Nargis Beauty Spot with her husband for nearly 14 years. The business specializes in hair treatments, facials and brow styling.
When it comes to the business, Fatima says she tries to make her customers happy before focusing on money.
607 Dempster St.
Owner Tashi Tsering Phuri opened TIBETgift in 1998 to bring Tibetan traditions to Evanston. Over the last 30 years, Phuri says the store has promoted Tibetan culture and Buddhism by selling artifacts and hosting classes about the Buddhist faith. The store also strives to unite Evanston’s community by holding events like visits from monks and lamas as well as performances, art exhibitions and book showings for Tibetan creatives.
Stepping Out on Faith
1632 Orrington Ave.
Owner Vivian Killebrew fulfilled her dream of owning a consignment store when she opened Stepping Out on Faith in 2008. The shop sells a range of clothing, jewelry and accessory items.
While Killebrew and the items’ previous owners keep part of the profits, a portion is donated to Connections for the Homeless, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness and helping homeless individuals find housing.
Killebrew emphasized her positivity and efforts to empower women by giving them a step up. “If you look good, you feel good, right?” she says.
YoFresh Yogurt Cafe
635 Chicago Ave. #7
Though the self-serve yogurt and sweet toppings may be the main attraction for many customers, for co-owner Larry Murphy, community service is YoFresh Yogurt Cafe’s top priority.
Murphy and his wife Jean opened the store in 2014. A year later, they and the owners of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor established the Black Business Consortium of Evanston/Northshore, which provides resources for and a network among Black business owners. In March 2022, the duo launched L&J’s YoFresh Foundation for Expanding Youth Horizons, which awards grants to students for international travel.