“New Indoor Mall Provides Opportunity and Community Services”
By Deborah Bayliss
Situated on the busy stretch of east 79th Street, just across from the old Regal Theater, a grey two-flat houses the newly opened 79th Street Indoor Mall, a black-owned joint venture that provides African American entrepreneurs with a place to launch and area residents a place to receive community services.
Kamala Hodges-Ronan, managing broker of Accomplished Realty Group, and Community Activist Harold Davis, president of Amer-I-Can Enterprise II, an organization that offers services and support to youth and the community, partnered to create the Indoor Mall concept that provides training, new and used clothing, accessories, toiletries, reading materials and free Wi-Fi.
“Harold and I met a couple of years ago when I was a guest on his radio show, “The Booty Butt Naked Truth” radio talk show. I was a guest on the show to talk about my nonprofit organization, Mission Accomplished Corp., NFP,” said Ronan told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper.
The Mall right now is a pending 501c3 nonprofit organization and accepts donations and perhaps will apply for grant funding in the future.
“Technically, we’re a nonprofit and Harold and I are doing business as the 79th Street Indoor Mall which is separate from the other businesses we each own,” Ronan clarified.
With 6,000 square feet of space occupying two floors, the Indoor Mall at 1708 W. 79th St., also houses flea market booth space as well as office/booth space for anyone looking to launch a new business or other ventures.
The community is encouraged to use the Indoor Mall’s free WIFI, participate in the upcoming on-site exercise classes, pay utility (gas and electric) and prepaid telephone bills, and most importantly, shop.
The shopping center also keeps a supply of books on hand, that are available for on-site reading.
“We also have free books for children, we’re going to get the computers up so children can do their homework, Ronan said. “We have free clothing that people can just take if they’re in need. We have free reading classes facilitated by a retired school principal and a former GED teacher. Whatever resources people in the community need, we’re here to serve them. As a nonprofit, our proceeds fund the vast services and resources offered at the Indoor Mall. Resume writing is also offered.
The Mall currently operates with two employees and 4-7 volunteers that do a range of work, from clean-up to greeting shoppers and providing instruction for adult education classes. Ronan, arrives at the store each day for three hours and is there the entire day on weekends.
Davis has been meeting with African American entrepreneurs for several months and discovered that many of them often face challenges in terms of being able to afford rental space.
“Those people who had businesses, had to virtually shut them down,” Davis explained. “With the indoor mall concept they could come in get a booth and get visibility (for themselves and their t product) in a flea market concept. On the weekend we’ve had three or four people at booths. We put about 20 booths around the store and it gives them the opportunity to sell products and put their business back out there. With a small minimum expense, they’re able to grow their business”
Davis said though Chicago has the largest number of African American businesses in the country, the average revenue for those businesses is only $60,000 year.
“That says a lot but at the same time it says nothing. You have businesses right here on this strip that don’t look like us and are making $60,000 a month selling alcohol, hair and doing whatever they want to do,” Davis said. “So for us to have more businesses than anybody else in America, says we have the numbers but the numbers don’t mean anything if it’s not lucrative enough where you can make a profit and stay.”
The Indoor Mall accepts donated items, clothing, books, etc.
Business hours: are 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat; and 9 a.m. to 1p.m., Sun.
For more information, please visit the website at www.indoormall.org or call (773) 704-4768.
“A Movement Is Born From “The Butt Naked Truth Radio Show”
By James Potter
“Undisputed,uncut,unapologetic untold,,uncensored,unbought,straight forward down the middle butt naked truth….we say the things most of you are afraid to think about or dream about,liberation without continuation of the miseducation and misinformation to the black man and black woman,down with the accommodators up with the liberators,trade with those who trade with you,buy black bring your dollars back to your own community!”
Chicago talk radio is being shaken up by a small but increasingly powerful radio show called “The Butt Naked Truth.” The talk/call-in show airs on Gospel Station WBGX 1570am, 2pm to 4pm, Tuesday thru Friday. The fiery talk show is hosted by longtime Chicago community activist and Michigan blueberry farmer, Harold Davis and the charming Kamla Ronan, owner of the 79th st. Indoor Mall at 1708 E. 79th St. The two hosts are often joined by Chicago Cable TV show hosts, Boyse Edwards and “Red” forming the nucleus for a power packed two hours of independent talk radio every Tuesday thru Friday. The premise of the show is to promote black owned businesses and black owned products as well as provide a forum for independent black political causes, and to fight the unemployment, gentrification, crime, and police brutality affecting Chicago’s black community.
During 2013, many callers to the show urged the hosts to actually convene meetings so the listeners could start campaigns of direct action. In other words, it’s no longer just talk. The movement is called the “1570 Movement ” because “The Butt Naked Truth” airs on Gospel 1570am.
The “1570 Movement” members are made up of Chicago Clergy, construction companies, security firms, social agencies, media professionals, educators, black owned hair care, and even a few law enforcement folk with one goal and that is to SAVE OUR BLACK YOUTH.
The “1570 Movement” starts 2014 offering real hope and change for Chicago’s Black community. Next meeting of the 1570 Movement is scheduled for Saturday, January 4th.
“The Butt Naked Truth” radio show can be heard Tuesday thru Friday 2pm to 4pm. You can also listen to the live stream at Gospel1570.com
James Potter, Publisher of The Gospel Truth Blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org