50 Wards in 50 Weekdays: 19th Ward’s Jean Marie Quigley felt like ‘fish out of water’ living on ‘dense’ North Side

July 19, 2012

(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Jean Marie Quigley out in front of her bakery/cupcake/coffee shop in Beverly.

Jean Marie Quigley has lived in Beverly for all but one year of her life. One – apparently difficult – year right after she got married.

“We went up to the North Side. No parking, felt like a fish out of water up there,” Quigley says. “It was nice. It’s nice to go visit, but it’s nice to come home. Because it’s just too dense, too dense.”

 

By contrast, she says, the Southwest side’s Beverly neighborhood has big backyards and big front yards. She's just more comfortable.

“It is a very family-orientated neighborhood with people with good values and considerate people in our neighborhood. It’s not quite trendy enough for a lot, but we’re doing the best we can.”

 

Quigley is doing her best to put more trendy in Beverly. The owner of Beverly Bakery, she recently opened a second location near the 103rd Street Rock Island District Metra station. That's where we're talking, at a table in the front.

“We now have a cupcake shop. We are like the North Side now,” Quigley says with a wry smile. “We are trendy now, because we have all the different kinds of cupcakes at a better price than the North Side.”

Nice plug. She just snuck that one right past me. Okay, one more.

“We are the place for baby buggies."

Say again?

“We count how many baby buggies and see how many baby buggies we have in a day," she says. "Sometimes we get up to 15 baby buggies [at the] Western [Avenue location]. We were at ten [here] the other day.”

Expansion, no matter how baby-friendly you are, is no sure bet. But business is looking up from a few years ago. They opened in 2005, and made it through 2008.

“When the recession started, it was horrible...We were a new business, so we didn’t know the difference,” she says. “I guess it was the thing that kept us moving, is that we didn’t realize that it was really that bad.”

Now Quigley has got two daughters and five nieces and nephews working for her, along with some kids from the neighborhood.

“The sales always go up. It’s the bottom line that you have to work for.”

Chicago’s relatively new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, promised to make things easier for small business. One part of that: shrinking the number of business license categories. Quigley’s a fan of that.

Before, she says, it was “really difficult for business people to know which license they needed. And just even hanging them on the wall. I mean, you go into some of these places, they have six, seven licenses. It’s like, it’s time to consolidate. So I guess that’s one of the good plans.”

Quigley’s only complaint about Beverly is the kind of complaint that will make some folks in other parts of the city laugh. Or roll their eyes.

“I don’t like the parking tickets coming down to the South Side,” she says. “I never had a parking ticket until the meters went in.”

Former Mayor Richard Daley’s 75-year lease of the parking meters is the culprit, Quigley says. Ticket writers – from the city or the meter company – are just more efficient these days.

“We’re just not used to getting parking tickets down here,” she says. “I just think that we were kind of hidden.”