(Editor’s note: Please welcome our new business columnist Isabelle Reiniger, who is making Evanston’s businesses, her business. Feel free to send Isabelle a tip, a tidbit or whatever information you have about Evanston’s businesses. She will check it out. Thank you! Send it to email@example.com)
This new column will highlight business developments in Evanston. Usually we’ll focus on new businesses but we’ll also look at businesses that are closing.
Hispanic American Heritage Month and the Evanston Public Library
I want to start with highlighting an Evanston Library program that runs Sept. 21 to Oct. 15. It is designed to draw attention to and support Latinx businesses in Evanston in honor of National Hispanic American Heritage Month. As of Wednesday, Sept. 21, you will be able to pick up a punch card at one of our two library locations.
The card will list Hispanic American businesses and you are asked to visit at least three of these, purchase something and ask to have your card signed. Alternatively you can ask staff a trivia question and jot down the answer. Once you have visited three businesses, return to the library with your card and you can enter a raffle to win a $25 gift card.
5411 Gourmet Empanadas at 809 Davis St. is a new business that is participating in the library program. It opened in May in the Sherman Plaza between ATI Physical Therapy and the parking garage. “Business was good in the beginning,” according to Nicolas Ibarzabal, one of the owners, “it slowed down over the summer, but has started to pick-up over the past two weeks.”
The Evanston location is focused on take out but provides a few tables if people want to sit and eat. 5411 was named after the code used to call Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both Ibarzabal and co-owner Mariano Lanfranconi are from Argentina and came to the Chicago area for graduate school. But they knew each other before coming to the U.S. The initial location was on Clark Street in Chicago. Prior to the pandemic they had five Chicago locations, but closed two during the pandemic.
The move to Evanston was in part related to Ibarzabal attending graduate school at Northwestern University. “I find the community really welcoming,” he said about Evanston and added that he was excited about being part of the library program.
Unrelated to the library program, we wanted to mention that EGEA spa has closed. Apparently, the closure happened on such short notice that some patrons went there for an appointment to find the doors closed. I was not able to get in touch with the owner. However, there is a message on the website from the owner who took over the business late last year. The owner notes both health problems and financial liabilities that have led to the closing. It appears that there are negotiations with three potential new owners.