- August 30, 2021
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by: Micah Materre, Kelly Barnicle
CHICAGO — While many small businesses shuttered for good during the COVID-19 pandemic, one local real estate investor defied the odds by investing in her community and opening for business with a plan that includes giving back and beautifying her community. Dwan “Dee” Stevens is one of Chicago’s Very Own.
Stevens is a long way from corporate America.
“I figured I know how to rent and lease out space so figured a salon would be a good fit. Plus I like all things beauty,” she said.
And now Stevens is her own boss in her own community.
She’s the owner of Urban Luxe Beauty on land that she bought last march.
“The day that we walked in here to kind of map out everything that we wanted to do, the very next day the city got shut down,” she said.
But the pandemic shutdowns didn’t stop her, in fact she said a little prayer and stayed on course, because she said the Englewood community needed this.
“I understand there are some needs here in the area. It’s a soft spot for me because I was here all up and down these streets even up and down the streets of Halsted, I used to shop there as a little girl,” she said.
Now, a real estate investor, Stevens reached out to fellow businesses on 68th Street and Ashland Avenue in an effort to connect and build relationships.
“It’s important to take pride in where we live and where we work, and being the example in doing that work,” she said. “Just hoping that our neighbors and residential business owners as well would follow suit.”
And they did. Last month employees at the Urban Luxe Salon were joined by neighboring businesses and residents in an effort to “beautify the block.” Together they cleaned a stretch of Ashland Avenue to 68th to 69th streets.
Friend and fellow female business owner Immaculata Stepanek said Stevens is someone with genuine care for the community.
“She is true of heart in everything that she is trying to do here is what really needs to be done,” she said. “She’s bring other businesses together to get the area cleaned up and invest.”
Stevens didn’t stop there. Last month with money left over from the clean ups fundraising account, she bought beauty supplies to donate to a nearby women’s shelter.
“Everything from manicure sets, pedicure sets, lipsticks and also journals for them to write in,” Stevens said. “To reflect on wherever it is that they are and would like to be.”
And in the 30 packaged kits she included handwritten messages of hope.
Longtime friend and business partner Reluv Nails said there are bigger philanthropic plans in the works as the world waits to return to normalcy.
“We are hoping COVID will subside and then we could move on to community giveaways as far as giving food baskets and book supplies, prom dresses we just have an expansive amount of ideas that she’s keeps in this book she carry’s everywhere,” Nails said.
Stevens plans to expand her salon business. And her mission to give back no matter what community, will always remain.
“It’s important because I don’t personally want to be and I don’t want my business to be a taker,” Stevens said.
Stevens is currently in the process of opening two additional salons in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late Monday, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.
Hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the U.S. war, Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport. Thousands of troops had spent a harrowing two weeks protecting a hurried and risky airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by Taliban militants.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rescuers set out in hundreds of boats and helicopters to reach people trapped by floodwaters and utility crews mobilized Monday after a furious Hurricane Ida swamped the Louisiana coast and made a shambles of the electrical grid in New Orleans and beyond in the sweltering, late-summer heat.
One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland weakened into a tropical storm overnight as it pushed inland over Mississippi with torrential rain and shrieking winds, its danger far from over.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A man was sentenced to life in prison Monday in the stabbing death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, three years after she disappeared while out for an evening run.
Judge Joel Yates sentenced Cristhian Bahena Rivera to life without the possibility of parole, the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Iowa, which does not have the death penalty. The 27-year-old former farmhand, who testified that he came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico as a teenager, has been jailed since his arrest in August 2018.