Pain, loss, hope, whoopee cushions

Opinion: Dan Haley

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Over the moon: Pumpkin Moon, the North Boulevard shop that celebrates "I Love Lucy," whoopee cushions, and the best refrigerator magnets, is suffering during the COVID-19 shutdown. Now with its eye on still being in business this October to celebrate its 25th anniversary, its owner has turned to GoFundMe.

As of Memorial Day morning, 93 donors had ponied up $6,910 toward a goal of $50,000. OK, make that $7,156 and 139 donors. Gail Eisner, who owns both Pumpkin Moon and Scratch 'n' Sniff on Marion Street, said the shop has so far failed in obtaining a federal PPP loan and so it was turning to its customers for help.

All I can say is that when retail stores are finally able to reopen, we're all going to need some Pumpkin Moon in our lives. Let's help them get from here to there.

Before it was Pieritz Bros.: If I'm doing the math right, the Pieritz Bros. office supply store was open at Lake and Laramie from 1895 to 1970. That's when it moved down the Green Line tracks to South Boulevard and Ridgeland. That's 50 years ago.

But before it was Pieritz and if my memory serves, that location was a fancy dress store called Peck & Peck. At least they looked like fancy dresses to me as we drove by in the 1955 Ford.

Major Wright cuts: The pandemic has caused a lot of pain for many local businesses and some nonprofits, including the Journal and Growing Community Media. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, owner of the Home & Studio, has felt acutely vulnerable almost from Day 1.

Hasn't helped that the Wright Plus housewalk was delayed twice before it was fully punted into 2021. Spring and summer tour admissions at both the Home & Studio and the Robie House in the city are critical.

Last week in an email to volunteers, Celeste Adams, CEO, announced that 13 full-time and part-time staffers had been let go. And it does not sound as if they will be coming back. In the email, Adams wrote, "The trust has been changed by this crisis. We face a long and challenging recovery."

The newsroom ecosystem: Newsrooms across Chicago have never been more fragile. From the Tribune, about to be plundered by new venture capital owners, to neighborhood papers, ethnic papers, digital startups to Growing Community Media, the nonprofit that now owns Wednesday Journal, we're all feeling it. Advertising hit a wall in this pandemic and the challenges were all too real back in the glory days of February.

So I'm asking you to consider making a donation, if you are able, to a newsroom collaboration we're part of called the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. We've got $40,000 matching dollars from Chicago foundations and among our 43 partners we're pushing $40,000 from individual donors.  

The fundraiser runs through early June, so the days are getting short. Find out more at

Email: Twitter: @OPEditor

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