Carla Eason, owner of Body Works by Carla, received her massage license two decades ago and practiced out of her home for years before relocating in October 2022. Credit: Isabelle Reiniger

Since I’ve started writing about GoFundMe pages, readers have begun sharing information about more local businesses using this online crowdfunding tool.

Carla Eason, a massage therapist, owns a small business, Body Works by Carla, that has recently faced adversity. Her GoFundMe page was set up by acupuncturist and colleague Amy Landolt.

Eason has practiced out of her home for much of her 20 years in Evanston. Last year her lease was not renewed. “My customers wanted me to stay in Evanston,” she shared with me. In October, she moved into 705 Madison St. in south Evanston, across from Evanston Fire Station No. 2. “This is my first commercial/residential location,” she said. 

Carla Eason’s massage business, Body Works by Carla, has moved to this building at 705 Madison St. Credit: Isabelle Reiniger

“I took my first massage class in 1995,” Eason said, adding that she got her license in 2003, after having studied massage at First Choice Academy in Glenview, which has since closed.

Eason stayed afloat during the pandemic, but said she faces renovation costs in her new space that her landlord is not covering, including ripping out an old carpet and fixing the floors.

The bathroom also needs work. “My brother had been doing construction since he was 12 years old,” she said, so she has help. Her daughter also assisted with her website, but there’s more to be done.

A massage table at Body Works by Carla. Credit: Isabelle Reiniger

Her GoFundMe page is well short of its $10,000 fundraising goal and Eason is considering throwing a “business shower” for which people could give money for very specific things. That way “people know specifically what they are investing in,” she said.

Eason has been a lifelong resident of Evanston. For part of her childhood, she lived across the street from the high school. She is one of seven siblings, most of whom live in Evanston. Her sister Jennifer owns Jennifer’s Edibles and her brother John is a professor at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

Eason is used to facing adversity. She was born with blockages in her ears and was 7 years old before it was properly diagnosed. “That is why I am a good massage therapist,” she said, explaining that her hearing challenges allowed her to hone the skill of reading the body language of others. Despite being forced to move and business being slow right now, Eason is optimistic: ”I’m gonna take lemons to make lemonade.”

Edzo’s Burger Shop

Via a reader, I also found out that Edzo’s Burger Shop (which I wrote about last October) started a GoFundMe page Dec. 29, when its exhaust fan broke down. Owner Eddie Lakin wrote on the page that “we were forced to shut down four of the five days” the fan was broken. This meant lost revenue in addition to repair costs. In a little over three weeks, Lakin has managed to initially get the fan to work, but its new motor broke down. In addition to bringing his HVAC contractor in for the exhaust problem, he has had to update electrical wiring and ran into struggles with a contractor. On a more positive note, in less than a month Lakin has managed to raise more than $18,000, almost half his goal, which shows that he has customers who want him to succeed.

However, as he explained in a lengthy update on Jan. 18, one thing has led to another and his difficulties with his contractors have continued. As of Friday night, the business was not allowing in-house dining and then had to turn people away after running out of meat. This left some customers frustrated.

Meanwhile, Lakin has raised his fundraising goal to $40,000 and is hoping that this will cover his financial costs. He writes in his update: “I thank you all in advance, for any support you can muster, whether it’s a donation, sharing our posts on social media, or just ordering for take-out or delivery.”  

Bookends & Beginnings

Bookends & Beginnings owner NIna Barrett. Credit: Bookends & Beginnings

Finally, I have written about Bookends & Beginnings needing to move. A glance at its GoFundMe page shows it has been able to raise about two-fifths of its $250,000 goal.

Owner Nina Barrett expressed her gratitude in a recent update to the page: ”I feel personally incredibly touched that the community feels strongly enough about Bookends & Beginnings to show this kind of support and enthusiasm for our move and what is going to happen at our new location.

“And I have also been personally very moved by many of the comments you all have left on the GFM home page. It means everything to me to know that you feel the same way about B&B that I have felt about my favorite bookstores, the ones that have been touchstones for me at so many times and in so many places during my life.”

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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