Edgeville Buzz

What Does the Edgewater Chamber, Edgewater Workbench and Kitchen Sink Have In Common? Ally Brisbin!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAK_AAAAJGViZWQwNGIzLWRmNTYtNDIxYy05ZGZiLTVkZTZhNGRlZmViMgYou probably have already met Ally Brisbin. Extremely active in the community,  not only is she the Marketing and Events Manager for the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, she is also the co-owner of Edgewater Workbench, a 3D printing and lasercutting studio on Thorndale. She also currently sits on the Local School Council for Swift Elementary School.

Ally got involved in the community through business ownership. From 2010 through the end of 2013, Ally was co-owner of Kitchen Sink, a coffee and sandwich shop on Berwyn.

One thing is for sure, she really loves Edgewater! We asked her the following questions:

1. Edgewater has really thrived in the last 20 years. What two changes were the most dramatic to you?

AB: The first dramatic change that comes to mind is how Whole Foods has activated Broadway between Glenlake and Thorndale. I live on Glenlake and work on Thorndale and Rosedale, so I walk that stretch at least four times a day. During the time between Dominick’s closure and Whole Foods’ opening, that walk was incredibly bleak. With the outdoor seating and mural, plus the increased food traffic, it feels like a new block.

A dramatic change in the making, that I am excited about, is the development happening along Devon between Broadway and Clark. We have some great anchors there, with Uncommon Ground and Clark Devon Hardware, which have helped set the stage for unique small independent boutiques like Audio Archaeology and Maddiebird Bakery. There is a lot of opportunity on Devon, and with it being so accessible for Loyola Students, I think we can attract some great retail and food businesses.

2. You helped start Edgewater Workbench, What has been the most successful use of the space so far?

AB: We love to open our doors to the community. Last May we partnered with Pivot Arts to host community puppet making workshops for their inaugural Celebrate Community Parade, which was fun. We have befriended some Swift Elementary School students, and I love to return to Edgewater Workbench after my day at the Chamber office and see them hanging out with my partner Stu. Every month we host a free repair clinic with Community Glue Workshop, an initiative my friend Carla and I started a few years ago when I was at Kitchen Sink. We have a lot of tools at Edgewater Workbench, so it’s the perfect place to hold the event. 

3. You also helped spearhead the ‘Shop Local’ campaign in Edgewater,  What was the most rewarding part of it?

AB: The most rewarding part of the Shop Local/#shopedgewater campaign is when I see people in the community embracing it. Whether it’s a business owner tagging a social media post #shopedgewater, or a neighbor using their EdgeFest bag that they found during our EdgeFest Survival Kit scavenger hunt over the summer, it feels really good to see my work and ideas in motion. 

4. Name three local businesses you like to shop at for the Holidays and why?

AB: – Independent Spirits, Inc. is one of my favorite stores in the neighborhood year-round. Scott has built a great team and environment in his shop, and they’ve taught me a lot about wine and led me to buy too many delicious bottles! 

AB: – Audio Archaeology on Devon is another place that has a great team and a great vibe in their shop. They sell more than just records, too! 

AB: – Blue Buddha Boutique on Granville is not only the chainmaille jewelry capital of the world, but they have a great retail boutique with work by local artisans. I like to pick up jewelry there for my nieces and funny greeting cards for my family.

5. What is your favorite part of the Holiday season?

AB: My favorite part of the holiday season is slowing down to enjoy good food and spend quality time with my family. My partner’s family comes to Chicago for Thanksgiving, so we usually go out for dinner at Ethiopian Diamond or Mas Alla Del Sol, which is always special! And for Christmas holiday, I usually go back to upstate New York to see my gigantic, crazy family!

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