In Celebration of Black History Month – We Salute West Side Business Owners!

MacArthur Alexander, Owner, MacArthur’s Restaurant

Mac, the youngest in a family of eleven children, attended Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He served his country honorably during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat.

Mac is an accomplished businessman with a distinct sense of self and community.  He opened Mac’s Records in 1972.  He quickly became known for his honesty in dealing with his customers, his pride in his business and in his neighborhood.  MacArthur’s Restaurant, a cafeteria-style soul-food restaurant, opened in 1997 and has become a staple in the West Madison-Austin area.  Since first going into business, Mac has provided a quality product at a reasonable price and employment for a number of neighborhood residents.  He is a regular contributor & supporter of churches, schools, and other institutions in the surrounding area and participates in several community organizations.

Mac is a member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and also the Austin African American Business Network Association (AAABNA).  Mac was included in Alex Kotlowitz’s book, Never a City So Real, published in 2004 in which the author introduces “some of Chicago’s most interesting, if not always celebrated, people”; he is also profiled in Senator Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope. He is a member of Canaan AME Church in Maywood, Illinois; was married to his wife, Albertine, for 50 years until her passing in July 2019, and has one daughter, Vanessa.  He enjoys boating and home remodeling.

Michelle Scott, Chef & Owner, Thank God 4 Raw Vegan Treats

Michelle Scott with her Mother

My name is Michelle Scott and I’m the Founder/CEO of Thank God 4 Raw & Vegan Treats. October 2000, Senior yr. of College, I took 21 credits hours in one semester. I worked as a License Hairstylist, with two children. That’s the month I began to feel heavy cramps in my abdominal area, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I tried every remedy and holistic healing that I could afford and was aware of. I visited a physician when my bowels became bloody, uncontrollable, and I experienced excessive amounts of weight loss. It was hurtful to hear that out of nowhere, no family history in my genetics that I researched, I was diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease. This inflammatory bowels disease wasn’t something that I had never even heard of. At that time, African Americans did not possess this illness, almost at all. I was blessed to find one of the best GI’s, Dr. Markye, who assisted me with this disease for 12 yrs. He taught me through a diet that I would be able to control this debilitating disease. I fought for 12 long years to keep this disease at bay.

Becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Personal trainer, and currently, a Future Master’s Degree Student in Dietetics, at Dominican University has been enough to keep me determined in trying to find a cure. I was motivated by my need to research enough data to collect and create a formula to heal myself while assisting individuals who are a part of the IBS and Colitis Family. In 2015 I was prescribed 26 pills to combat this disease and receive intravenous injections every 6 weeks in an infusion lab for four long hours. God blessed me to meet a fitness instructor in 2015, Trinia Yvette, who changed my life forever.

Trinia took my daughter and me step by step through the Raw Vegan detox diet. We began the journey with nutritional literature and how to successfully improve our lives. My life took a radical turn from there. I learned how to see & smell nature differently, build a better relationship with my daughter, worked on my inner being, learned how to cook entirely different from my ancestors, and got off all prescription medication.

I mastered my craft in healthy cooking in eating. I mastered my newly invented Thank God 4 Raw & Vegan Treats. I’ve decided to become a Dietitian to help people in a way that’s never been done. I’m walking in my calling, helping individuals with the psychological effect of eating disorders, the way to heal your body, mind, and soul through healthy eating.  

Jean Jennings, Owner, OMG! What A Vacation & Inventor

 Hidden Hurts Revealed: Biography of a Woman

by A. Jean White Jennings explores how to heal from past trauma

CHICAGO – Hidden Hurts Revealed: Biography of a Woman by A. Jean White Jennings argues for victims of abuse and incest to come forward and unburden their secret pasts for a more fulfilling life.

Far too often, incest and rape victims keep silent about the abuse in their life, says Jennings, but in her new memoir, she argues against secrecy and against letting bygones be bygones.  Instead, she urges victims to examine and cast off the cancerous memories of the past. Jennings reveals her own years of terrifying abuse and rape.  But instead of giving in and giving up on life, she becomes determined to find a way out of her nightmare. She shows how she becomes a loving partner and parent, and how turning to God helps her face her demons and begin to live life on her own terms. “No one has to remain a victim,” asserts the author. Jennings shows how being abused does not preclude the ability to have a relationship that is based on love and respect. Aimed at victims of abuse, Hidden Hurts Revealed intends to inspire, heal and give new hope for the future.

Laced with humor, heartache, and the murkier sides of keeping family secrets, Hidden Hurts Revealed: Biography of A Woman by A. Jean White-Jennings is an explosive portrait of how children of rape and incest can survive what haunts them. Boldly transparent, this candid memoir reads like a convincing soap opera, though the levels of depravity and indifference towards children are utterly shocking. With chapter titles like “Inside, I Cried: Enough Is Enough, “The Son That Wasn’t Mine,” and “Responding to a Sister’s Plea for Help,” the author shares what it is like to move past childhood incidences of incest and rape in order to become a good parent and a loving partner. As she recounts her harrowing journey and how it is she was able to ultimately face her demons so that she might begin to live life on her own terms, her message is not at all about letting bygones be bygones, but to examine, biopsy, and cast off the cancerous memories of one’s past.

Hidden Hurts Revealed Biography of a Woman is available for sale online at

About This Renaissance Woman

A native Chicagoan, A. Jean White Jennings has been the mistress of ceremonies at various events and award shows in the gospel and jazz arenas across the country. An author, entrepreneur, teacher, and motivator, she currently lives in Chicago. Hidden Hurts Revealed; Biography of a Woman is her first book.

Ms. Jennings has gone on to become an advent world traveler as the owner of OMG What A Vacation. She is also a Certified Cruise Consultant with CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia.

And if that weren’t enough Ms. Jennings has worked for the past seven (7) years, pre-covid on an invention for a Hand Sanitation System where she has been awarded a patent by the US Patent Office. Sani Pro Hand Care System. SaniPro Hand Care Center is designed to help eliminate the spread and prevention of bacteria. As our knowledge regarding bacteria and how it spreads grows, we become increasingly more aware that we need to replace our current sanitizing systems both in our personal and public restrooms. Currently, 65% of women and 31% of men according to the CDC wash their hands after using the restroom.  

(US Patent 10,660,983) Currently, Ms. Jennings is seeking manufacturers in the US to move her invention forward.

More than anything else, Ms. Jennings or Minister Jennings, loves to interact with people. She is a Life Coach and currently teaches Small Group sessions at her church. Her love of life and her passion to see people, especially women grow even in the face of adversity is what makes this unrecognized woman preserver.

Brian P. Pickett, Owner, Pickett Funeral Home

Brian P. Pickett Funeral Group was founded and established in November of 2002, by Mr.
Brian P. Pickett, after acquiring the original, Jos. Johnson Funeral Home located at 409 W.
North Ave., on Chicago’s Near North Side. The original owner was Mr. Joseph Johnson, who
founded and established it in 1944.

Brian P. Pickett Funeral Group serves as a corporate/umbrella company to individually
acquired establishments globally. It caters to the needs of bereaved families needing to make arrangements for their deceased loved ones to be funeralized and/or properly disposed of in a respectable and dignified manner. Brian P. Pickett Funeral Group is where all rules, regulations, ethics, and guidelines are established, distributed to all its locations, and the enforcing structure that meets the quality of services; making them above reproach and met equally at every location. Five-star and VIP service are provided to every client no matter their status, race, or religion, assuring the final arrangements made by families for their loved ones are lasting and truly rememberable and helping our families’ grieving process become easier and bearable.
“Where Your Family Becomes Our Family”
To provide the most professional and highest quality of VIP service to every client no matter
their status, race, or religion, assuring the final arrangements made by our families for their
loved ones are lasting and truly rememberable, and helping our families’ grieving process
become easier and bearable.

Jasmon Harper, JasmonTheArtist

The emerging artist from the Westside of Chicago brings an innovative twist to the art scene by addressing political, social, and emotional issues from throughout history. Jasmon Harper, more commonly known as JasmonTheArtist, is an advocate for social equality and spiritual growth.  She is known for her use of vibrant imagery to portray underlying messages. Her work brings awareness to black culture by highlighting experiences in America both past and present – identifying social issues, historical highlights, subliminal media messaging, myths, and truths about the black community.

Liz Abunaw, Owner, Forty-Acres Fresh Market

Liz Abunaw is the founder and operator of Forty Acres Fresh Market, a grocery
startup launched in January 2018. Alarmed by the lack of fresh food options on
Chicago’s west side, after leaving her sales job at Microsoft in November 2017,
Liz committed to opening an affordable specialty grocery store with a bountiful
fresh food selection on Chicago’s Westside. Using an innovative mobile strategy
centered on full-selection pop up produce markets to test and develop the right
business model, she has grown Forty Acres from idea to a social impact small
business built to scale.

Since its inception, Forty Acres Fresh Market has serviced over 1000 customers
residing in underserved communities. It continues to expand its reach through a
delivery service option and participation in Veggie Rx programs. Forty Acres’
impact on Chicago’s Westside has garnered investment from the University of
Chicago Booth School of Business, the USDA Healthy Food Financing Initiative,
the American Heart Association Social Impact Fund, and other funders.
Prior to launching Forty Acres Fresh Market Liz was a partner manager in
Microsoft’s sales division and before that spent ten years at General Mills, Inc. A

native of New York state, Abunaw moved to Chicago in 2012 when awarded a
full-tuition fellowship to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, from
which she graduated in 2014. Liz is a 2002 Cornell University graduate with a
Bachelor of Science in Policy Analysis and Management. She holds the staunch
position that while Chicago deep dish is delicious, it is not pizza. It is casserole
Pizza folds.

Veah Larde, Owner, 2 Sisters Catering & Restaurant



Chicago, IL – February 18, 2022 – Becoming an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau is an honor not accorded to all businesses, because not all businesses meet eligibility standards. (your company name) is pleased to announce today that it has met all BBB standards and is now an Accredited Business. “Accreditation in the BBB is by invitation only,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “And only those businesses that meet our high standards and pass the review process are approved by our Board of Directors.”

As with all businesses that are Accredited by the BBB, Two Sisters Catering has committed to the BBB Code of Business Practices.  The Code is a comprehensive set of policies, procedures, and best practices on how businesses treat consumers. These standards call for building trust, embodying integrity, advertising honestly, and being truthful. Bernas adds “To maintain their Accreditation a business must be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, and safeguard their privacy.”

“We are proud to be a BBB Accredited Business,” said Veah Larde, CEO, Owner, and Chef of Two Sisters Catering. “In today’s world, it is imperative that our customers know how seriously we take our commitment to excellence and good customer service. Our achieving BBB Accreditation exemplifies that goal.”

Two Sisters Catering has been in business for 10 years offering consumers the best in Soul Food catering and now a grab-and-go restaurant. “Our desire is to stay focused on what we do best; provide outstanding products and unsurpassed customer service,” said Veah Larde.

For more information contact: Veah Larde (773) 887-5625,

About the Better Business Bureau: As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices, and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.

Chris Thomas, Founder & Executive Director, Your Passion 1st

A former Marine (MP), with 15+ years of entrepreneurial and leadership experience with 12 years in HR with the last 3 focused on human-centered engagement strategies. He continues to cultivate and follow his true passion – empowering young adults as well as mentoring and coaching organizations on how to create more equitable hiring processes and strategies. His greatest aspirations in life are to provoke change in the world, help people live out their passion, and improve the way communities live and work.

Chris is the Founder and CEO of YourPassion1st, a mentoring program for young adults that focuses on inspiring young adults to find, define, and follow their passion into the workforce through mentoring, coaching, community engagement, workshops, events, and festivals. As Partner for Working Better Together Chris is a mentor, coach, and community connector for organizations and community members with a focus on human-centered engagement strategies around hiring and retention. He also is the creator/host of the Principles of Passion Podcast. Chris uses this platform to host guests that have overcome adversity while finding, defining, and following their passion into the workforce.

Tony Crawford, Owner, Gloss Boss


Mr. Tony Crawford is the founder of Gloss Boss Chicago, LLC a provider of automotive detailing services in the Austin Community. He has over 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, and consulting. He is a graduate of George W. Collins High School, Jackson State University, University of Phoenix, MBA/Global Management, and recently completed the Westside Forward Entrepreneurial training cohort.

His aspirations are to create a training program that would prepare young adults in the Austin community to start and operate their own businesses. He is planning to open a brick-and-mortar Gloss Boss Chicago Detailing salon, and online superstore ( marketing detailing products and supplies globally.

According to Mr. Crawford changes in basic assumptions are happening in the Austin business community. “Our focus is on doing for self and building generational wealth. We are reviving the pride of ownership, unsurpassed quality, and second to none customer service. To accomplish this objective, we must facilitate the next generation, of entrepreneurs on how to utilize social media and the Internet in unprecedented ways”.