Little Village Chambers supports construction of Community Hub

March 2, 2024

Little Village Community Hub to Connect Local Entrepreneurs to Resources, Programming

https://news.wttw.com/2024/01/11/little-village-community-hub-connect-local-entrepreneurs-resources-programming

Little Village is known for its business corridor and its Latino entrepreneurship. A space coming to the heart of the neighborhood is designed to help those without access to resources kickstart a business.

On the corner of 26th Street and Drake Avenue stands an empty three-story building.

“We took a building that was built in 1880 and instead of tearing it down, we decided to reinvest in the building and revitalize this building to save it,” said Kim Close, the executive director of the Foundation of Little Village, the team behind rehabbing the building and converting it into a community hub.

“It’s on a corner, which is why it’s called Xquina, but it’s really about investing in the resources already that exist here and bringing a new life to them,” Close said. “That’s why we are working with local operators.”

The space is set to become Xquina Incubator & Café. Close said it will be home to La Catedral Café and to Food Hero, a Latino-led culinary school, but also a space for entrepreneurs to explore their ideas.

“The idea is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that brings together resources, programming, local partnership to help everybody grow,” Close said.

Little Village has a long history of entrepreneurship. Close said the co-working space will give people more opportunities to elevate their businesses and work together.

“This has been created in partnership with the business community,” Close said, “which is why we have the commercial kitchen, because 80-90% of the entrepreneurs working in Little Village are interested in food business — like, ‘I want to bring a salsa to market’ — and that’s why we included a communal kitchen in Little Village to meet the needs.”

In partnership with the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, the city and a private collaboration funded the project. The hub will also include a multimedia room, an artist gallery and an event space.

“Long term, it’s a project based on corridor revitalization, cultural preservation and community wealth building,” Close said.

Phrase one of the project will be completed by the summer, when the community can access the cafe and the communal kitchen.

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