Encouraged by the city’s invitation to support small businesses, I headed over to Central Street last week to celebrate small businesses. I got there around 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the foot traffic was already busy. There was a line for Backlot Coffee, 2006 Central St.

Paper Source, 2100 Central St. Credit: Isabelle Reiniger

And the newly reopened Paper Source, 2100 Central St. store was bustling with customers.

Paper Source was recently purchased by Barnes & Noble so technically it doesn’t really fall under a small local business anymore.

However, founded in 1983 by Sue Lindstrom in Chicago, Paper Source still carries local paper goods that are designed and made in the Chicago area. Today it has 129 stores across the U.S. with more than 200 employees. 

Google had the location listed as permanently closed, but the Central Street location was merely closed for two months due to a remodel. It reopened about three weeks ago.

Paper Source, 2100 Central St. Credit: Isabelle Reiniger

“The refresh feels so good,” market manager Maggie Lazard said. “We’re still waiting for a wrapping station to be set up and we used to do craft workshops on Saturdays,” she added and explained that for now they will have demos at what they call an “activation table” on Saturdays to show “more uses for our gift wrap.”

Lazard then gave some background on the Paper Source products that will now be available at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard. “That store is not staffed by Paper Source employees,” she explained, emphasizing a difference in quality of the staff’s service. 

Credit: @instagram

Then Again. I then attempted to stop by a newly opened store that sells “clothing and other objects” that are “new, used & recycled” according to the store’s business card. Business owner Kellie Poulos was busy and in the middle of setting up the store to open.

She noted that she had a store in Evanston for 20 years and only recently has reopened. In fact, a quick check and we found that she used to run Coucou & Olive, which closed in 2020, and another store, Asinamali, which closed in 2014.

Both were interesting, with unique selections and even with just a quick look, this one appears to follow that pattern.

Blended, 2002 Central St., is a “Health & Smoothie Bar” according to its menu.

Co-owner Samantha Dexter greets Santa at Blended on Central Street.

Owner April Doremus shared that the Evanston location opened May 1. “This is our second location, our first location is in Glenview and opened June 2020 early in the pandemic.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Doremus said.” People wanted to be healthy and we were able to build a strong community support. We had a lot of people coming from Evanston.” This led her and co-owner Sam Dexter to seek out the Central Street location.

“The Evanston community is so great,” she said. She also seems to get a kick out of the different customer preferences in each community. “In Glenview the coffee smoothie is the most popular, whereas in Evanston, the green smoothies sell more. People here just want to put something healthy in their body,” she said. 

Even the social media for @BlendedEvanston is filled with positive comments. The Instagram account describes the store this way: “Rooted in kindness & running on humor, welcome to our BLENDED Family! Smoothies, Açaí bowls, Cold Pressed Juice & Shots, & the original WAFFLE BOWL!”

Isabelle Reiniger

Isabelle Reiniger, LCSW is a writer and psychotherapist in private practice in Evanston. She reports on local businesses opening and closing for the Evanston RoundTable. Reach Isabelle at isabelle@evanstonroundtable.com

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  1. Thanks for the excellent scoop, Isabelle! I used to love shopping at Asinamali and Cocou, so I’m thrilled to hear Kellie has opened Then Again on Central.
    While I was at Hewn on Central yesterday, I discovered they have delicious hot cider (as well as irresitable baked goods) when you need a shopping refuel. And I couldn’t resist stopping in Evanston Art Center next door to see all the beautiful arts and crafts at their Winter Expo sale thru Dec. 20. Here’s hoping that all of Evanston’s shopping districts feel the love from locals this holiday season!