LOGAN SQUARE — West of Western is ready for its close-up.
Documentary crews filmed for two days in Humboldt Park last week, highlighting independent shop An Orange Moon as the star of what has been dubbed the WOW (West of Western) District, a burgeoning local business strip along North Avenue.
Lynn McDaniel, co-owner of the vintage and mid-century modern furniture store, had received several emails and phone calls pitching the project before she returned the call. It turns out her business had been highly recommended for a slot as one of 100 small businesses featured as part of a film about the small business revolution across the country.
"I didn't respond because I thought it was just spam," McDaniel said. "It wasn't until my husband said, 'Lynn, they've called five times. You should call back.'"
Mauricio Pena says the owner originally thought the film crew was spamming her:
After a return call, McDaniel learned a friend from Texas had recommended the Humboldt Park furniture store at 2418 W. North Ave. for the project.
McDaniel agreed to the weekend shoot that will culminate in a 3-4 minute short film highlighting how the "Goddess of WOW is pulling together businesses in the West of Western district."
Since June, at least two new art and vintage shops have made a move to the strip of North Avenue that was previously lined with vacant storefronts. Apartment 528, 2620 W. North Ave., showcases vintage and reclaimed goods and the upcoming Mo Faux, 2519 W. North Ave., will feature arts and crafts alongside a workspace.
That's in addition to a group of recent newcomers, such as Cup and Spoon, and longtime businesses, like Dreambox Foto Studio, that have formed around the West of Western banner — turning what was once a dire warning into a point of pride along the stretch of North between Western and Rockwell avenues.
With all the new shops and community plans in place, Logan Square business owner Nurhy Beatriz, wasn't surprised An Orange Moon was selected as Chicago's only shop in the short documentary project.
McDaniel "forms a relationship with her clients," said Beatriz, a regular at An Orange Moon. "She picks out pieces suited for different client's personalities. She really listens to customers, gets to know you and embraces what you have to say."
The documentary project is set go live early next year and aims to look at the small business revolution across the country, said one of the film's creative directors.
Details are being kept close for now but the film series will feature 100 small businesses, 12 mini-docs and 88 photo essays highlighting the move away from big-box business. An emphasis will be placed on supporting small businesses and small business owners, the director said, because "behind every small business is an incredible story."
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