Edgeville Buzz

Sifu Design Studio Saved By Online Donations

sifuIt is a story way too many businesses face. You put your faith and trust in an accountant that is supposed to steer your finances in the right direction and you later find out you were a victim of terrible neglect. That is just what happened to Sifu design studio. However, this story has a silver lining and positivity that will put your faith in community.

Sifu Design Studio is a participation-centric knitting store that has been in the Edgewater neighborhood for four¬†years. They moved to their current location at 6054 N. Broadway two years ago and have continued an inspirational open door policy to all who want to learn the art. Store owner Lisa Whiting explains, “We are not just retail, we are also about community involvement. Our store is a place where people can be creative and interact with others doing the same thing.” Ms. Whiting added, “We want our customers to continually learn new things. I even find myself, after knitting for 27 years, finding something new I have not learned before.”

The studio which has very diverse retail options and vibrant classes, faced a huge crisis that may have shut its doors for good. After moving to their new location a couple years back, Lisa lost communication with her accountant. After months of no contact, she decided to hire a new financial person.

The new accountant put her finances together in a more organized way, only to discover that the old accountant had never filed any of Sifu’s sales tax returns. The shop quickly contacted the IRS and discovered they owed just under $28,000 in back taxes. After working with them on a payment plan, it was announced that unless they coughed up 25% of the amount owed in ten days, their business license would be revoked.

Sifu was in a terrible situation and with not knowing what to do, Ms. Whiting turned to the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. They were able to get Illinois State Senator Heather Steans involved to speak with the Illinois Department of Revenue on her behalf. The plan is to get the store extra time to organize a plan.

But the story gets better. Unknown to Sifu’s owner, one of the customers organized an online donation page at GoFundMe.com with a $4,000 goal. And just like that, the community the studio built was giving back! Currently they have reached $3500 of the goal and Ms. Whiting could not be more thrilled, “This is so overwhelming and amazing. These are not just friends, they are family. I went from one of the worst moments in my life to one of the best, in just 24 hours. I truly feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world.”

It sounds as though the community of knitters here are as strong as the knots they create.

To help Sifu Design Studio reach its final goal, DONATE HERE!

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