CHICAGO (WLS) -- Magic Inc., a nearly 100-year-old Chicago magic shop that's been a staple of the city, has been pulled back from the brink of closure after magicians from around the country came together to keep the doors open.
"We have been around since 1926. Since that time we have taken care of generation after generation of professional and hobbyist magicians," said manager Pedro Nieves.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a drastic toll on the shop, which relies on more hands-on and traditional forms of commerce than perhaps some other businesses.
"It's been very difficult for us over the past nine months," Nieves said. "We've had a reduction of foot traffic."
Faced with a 75 percent reduction in revenue, Nieves said he didn't know if the shop would be able to make rent. Magic Inc. started a GoFundMe, but it wasn't enough.
But when magicians in Chicago and across the country heard about their need, they stepped up for a benefit show this week.
Megastar magicians Penn and Teller, David Copperfield, and others from Chicago and elsewhere joined together to help the shop that's known from coast to coast.
"It means the world. You know, so many of those magicians came to Magic Inc. at some point and it affected their lives," said Magic Inc. owner Sandy Marshall
And the benefit worked, raising about $20,000.
"To be able to see all of these people come together just to keep Magic Inc. open and running, it was, it was absolutely mind boggling," Nieves said.
Nieves and Marshall still expect 2021 to be a hard year for the shop, but they're determined to keep the doors open and the legacy alive.
"That generational connection is amazing. We can't risk losing that," Nieves said.
And right now, they won't. You can learn how to see the benefit and get involved to help at magicinc.net.
94-year-old Chicago magic shop saved by megastar magician benefit featuring David Copperfield, Penn and Teller