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Inspiring Stories from the South Side

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Chicago’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out the South Side’s rising stars below.

Diana Canto-Sims

The doors of Buena Vista Optical opened as a labor of love on February 14th, 2005 in the south-side of Chicago, IL. Founded by Diana Canto-Sims and her husband Dr. Todd W. Sims because they saw how the Spanish Speaking population was under served in Chicago for their Vision needs. Read more>>

John Stoops

Improvisational theater was born on the corner of 55th Street and University Avenue. In 1955, the Compass Players performed at this location and initially presented short, scripted “plays” at the back of a bar. One night, the theater was performing for a capacity crowd. The bartender, Fred Wranovics, pulled director Paul Sills aside and asked him to extend the show so he could sell another round of drinks. Read more>>

Hannah Wilhite

Crossroads Dance was created out of a need for more accessible performance opportunities in our community. The dance scene in Indianapolis is growing rapidly, but often it is difficult to make your way into the scene unless you have connections and excessive time on your hands. Read more>>

Janessa Martin

I’ve always played in jewelry. When most girls went for the makeup, I went for the pearls, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. I always wanted my own jewelry line. So at 31, when I found myself homeless with two children and a cosmetology license, I took my last $32.46 and started my line. Read more>>

Carrie and Bill Durnell

After focusing on building our corporate careers and starting a family, we changed our focus in 2016 to be more focused on being healthy, being in the community, and being authentic. When Carrie and I bought Roots Organic Juice Cafê, we knew the product was great!  We were customers long before we were owners. Read more>>

Fred Parks

In the late 80’s I was working as a Supervisor at Union Carbide and lost my job as the company was downsizing. I was interested in starting my own business. I went to a franchise show in Chicago and found a Sports Photography Franchise that I was interested in. Read more>>

Rahel Mwitula Williams

In December 2009, I had an opportunity to travel to Kenya for three weeks through a study abroad program for my Master of Science degree in International Public Service from DePaul University. When considering why I chose Kenya, I must be honest and say that it was because I knew that it was only 6 hours away from my homeland, Tanzania and more importantly I will have an opportunity to visit my grandmother. Read more>>

Thad Donovan

Creative Director, Thad Donovan, has always dreamed of making films, but it was only recently that the technology for high-quality production became available to the masses. Mindbend Films was created to pursue the dream of making films and episodic media (i.e. TV, streaming content). Read more>>

Paulette Hill

In the year 1988, I became a mother with my first-born child. While being a new mother I also maintained a computer programming position. I ran into a few struggles between a mother and trying to work. It was very hard for me to get time off work to care for my child. Read more>>

Erik Michor

Energy Nutrition, LLC (“Energy Nutrition”) was founded with the purpose of bringing personalized customer service back to the nutrition industry. The Company has always taken extra care to fulfill its customers’ health supplement and nutrition needs, as well as suggesting products to help with future needs. Read more>>

Jeff Surdej

I attended Purdue University where I got a Pharmacy degree and worked as a pharmacist for 6 years out of college. I started helping in the family business in 2004 as it was growing into the prom world. Read more>>

Jonise Peloza

I started baking with my grandmother about 18 years ago. She taught me how to make her popular lemon pound cake. I progressed to making birthday cakes for friends and family. One day my mother suggested that I take my pound cakes to the local farmer’s market. Read more>>

Jeremy “Vessel” Holmes

I grew up in the tough village of Robbins, (south suburb), the youngest of 5 kids to John and Marion Holmes, retired Police Chief and School Teacher respectively. My entire life, back to my earliest memories included basketball and music, the two platforms that showed me the world and allowed me to see beyond the chaos of my small neighborhood. Read more>>

Brian Morton

Brian and Greg wanted to create healthier alternative for fast food in our community. So we came up with Just Turkey with everything on the menu being Turkey based ,with a wide range of options including our BBQ Turkey tips witch we originated. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Grant Niebergall

    August 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I had an opportunity to browse some of the interviews. I am very excited to have been chosen for one of the future interviews as well !
    I think it’s absolutely fabulous that a magazine of your caliber has done as well as it has only because the non-corporate companies are the ones who have the true stories that are not hidden by corporate rules. At the end of the day it’s about struggle and survival compassion and success and I tip my hat to every business owner out there and every genre of work! 1 Fine Tune is excited to bring the music industry together on stages as well as in the communities of Chicago in the nation !

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