The Great South Loop Business Festival, hosted by True Rock Ministries, aims to bring customers back to small businesses.

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CHICAGO (WLS) – After observing small businesses in the Southern Rim struggling to survive the pandemic, the pastor is hosting a festival to raise awareness and bring customers back.

“They are always helping us, so let the believers come together and bless the business community,” said Pastor Earl Grandberry.

The pastor of his True Rock Ministries church hosts the Great South Loop Business Fest, a pop-up highlighting local businesses in the church’s parking lot.

“Everything is free, just to start a business,” explained Grandberry. “We’ll have food, music and a stage.”

The economic tracker Opportunity Insights reported that as of May, the number of small businesses open in the Chicago metro area was still down nearly 41% from January 2020.

The Urban Paws Dog Care Center opened just after the city closed due to COVID-19. For them, the business holiday is just in time, because people can go out, but they don’t have to come back.

“It means so much to us because it really just helps us make a name for ourselves and help everyone, because everything we do, we do for the whole area,” said Robert Poe, retail manager at Urban Paw. …

Issues Barber and Beauty Salon is one of dozens of businesses planning to attend the festival. Evenetta “Midge” Welch said she lost more than half of her business to her business, leading to staff layoffs.

“Pop-up stores are a blessing for many small start-ups,” she said.

To participate, all the neighboring business needs to do is register. The public enrollment fee is proof of vaccination or negative COVID test result.

The festival will take place on June 26 from 9 am to 4 pm.

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