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the Irish shop Oak Park logoWith the return of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parades, many small businesses are in a celebratory mood this St. Patrick’s Day. One small business we’d like to celebrate this year: Imported food and gift purveyor the Irish Shop, a mainstay of the Oak Park retail community for 30 years. Owner Anne August, a Byline Bank client, offers her customers a longstanding relationship and personal connection—and we love that she feels like she gets the same from her team at Byline Bank.

The last couple of St. Patrick’s Days have been anything but business as usual—but at least the Irish Shop was able to stay open.

During the onset of the pandemic, the Irish Shop was able to stay open as an essential business because of its food license. The store offered one-on-one appointments, delivery and curbside pickup to continue to serve customers. Now business has rebounded as Oak Park residents have returned to shop their favorite local retailers in person.

“People are supportive of small business in the area. It’s important to our community as a whole,” said August, who made the switch to Byline several years ago to follow Oak Park Market President Susie Goldschmidt, a trusted advisor to her business. “Susie is a great advocate for any small business. She helped us get our PPP loan twice last year. We couldn’t have survived without it.”

Small business owners have demonstrated resilience, ingenuity and commitment during a uniquely challenging period for locally focused retail businesses. Byline Bank understands the needs of the small business sector, offering specialized programs and advisory services to this often overlooked yet crucial segment of our Chicago economy.

“Small businesses are not only an economic engine for our communities, but a cultural driver as well,” said Goldschmidt. “The Irish Shop and our other customers in Oak Park exemplify what it means to be invested in the community and meet recent historic challenges with grace, perseverance and even humor.”

As a leading small business bank, we’re proud to support all the small businesses and community organizations that are the heart of our communities and help our neighborhoods grow.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!