Charity-giving Glencoe resale shop owner wins $50K award

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The owner of North Shore Exchange, an upscale resale shop that donates all of its proceeds to charity, won the $50,000 James Tyree Award during the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Before the announcement, Wendy Serrino, president of North Shore Exchange in Glencoe, said the award would allow the shop to "open up that pop up shop in the city, spend a much higher level on marketing so more people know about us and send some money on infrastructure so we can operate much more efficiently and those are things we wouldn't be able to do without winning the award."

The shop has already given $700,000 away to charity but by October they hope to hit the $1 million mark. For them winning the award is about expanding and helping more people.

The competition began with more than 30 applicants. Twelve advanced to a "Shark Tank"-like pitch and just six businesses were presented to the Tyree judging panel before selecting three finalists.

The other finalists included Dan Mahoney, founder of Fort Knox Studios, and Roman Kuropas, the founder & CEO of Innova E-V.

"Fort Knox Studios itself is a 140-room music rehearsal, recording and music business facility," Mahoney said.

Inside Fort Knox Studios in the city's Old Irving Park neighborhood is a business incubator called 21-12.

Mahoney said 21-12 is giving younger people coming out of college the opportunity to be exposed to bands and music businesses. He hoped that winning the award will help continue that.

"We do a lot of scholarships and programs in 21-12 in particular that I think would be a big help in order to bring some kids in here that may not be able to afford the basic memberships and give them that same opportunity and I think that would god a long way towards that," Mahoney said.

Innova E-V is a Burr Ridge-based company hoping to expand the mini-car service to the city's South Side to help underserved neighborhoods.

"Innova EV is a first and last mile mobility service so we provide short rides, short commutes between 3 and 4 miles max," Kuropas said.

As a finalist, Kuropas said: "If we do win and I'm praying that we do we're going to take that and invest in Bronzeville and other neighborhoods around it to hire people and let them know that we care about them. Provide love and jobs and purpose to get those areas access and mobility."
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