It’s Meet a Mom Monday! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Emily Helfrich, a mom of two kids and founder of Cinnamon Boutique in Roscoe Village. Cinnamon Boutique offers women’s apparel, jewelry, and accessories, for both casual looks and dressy attire. Read below to learn more about the store and what she loves about owning a boutique. She also shares some of her of favorite businesses in the Roscoe Village area!
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Hi Emily! Thank you for speaking with us today!
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Chicago?
I am from upstate NY, near Albany. I attended school in the Midwest: undergrad in Michigan then graduate school in St. Louis. I wanted to live in a bigger city, so Chicago was a great choice!
Tell us about your family! What is your favorite part about the kids’ ages?
I have a son, Sully, who is 14 years old and a daughter, Riley, who is 11. I’ve been married to my husband, Joe, for 22 years this August. He owns and operates Roscoe Village Guesthouse (offering fully furnished vacation rentals), so we are truly a Roscoe Village small business family!
I love the ages of my kids right now because they are often independent, but still need me for so many things.
What are some things you enjoy doing together in the city?
We spend a lot of family time at various sporting activities (for the kids). My son plays hockey & baseball and my daughter plays volleyball. We love going out to dinner, especially when we can sit outside as the weather finally cooperates!
How and when did you decide to open a boutique and can you tell us how you came up with its name?
I opened Cinnamon in 2006, so 17 years ago! It has gone by so fast! Before Cinnamon, I was a school social worker for several years. Even when I worked full-time as a social worker, I worked evenings and weekends in small boutiques and always dreamed of having my own. When the time came, I contemplated several names, but I kept coming back to Cinnamon Boutique. I love the feeling and mood cinnamon seems to invoke: it’s warm, sweet, and a little spicy all mixed together. It’s comforting and playful at the same time, which fit the vibe I was going for!
Cinnamon is in such a great area! What made you choose Roscoe Village for the location of your shop and what do you love about LRV?
Actually, I have to give the credit to my husband, Joe. He loved this area and saw so much potential. There were not many boutiques here when we opened, which made me nervous. I thought there wouldn’t be enough foot traffic to sustain a clothing boutique. But, I was wrong and he was right (I admit it!). What made me originally hesitant is now what I love most about Roscoe Village–it has this “neighborhood in the city” vibe. I know many of my customers by name and so much about them. In a way, many of us have grown up together. We have celebrated birthdays of their children, grieved the loss of parents together, and I am still in contact with some of my wonderful clients who have moved to the suburbs and even out of state. I feel so honored when they drive in from the burbs (or even stop in when back in Chicago) for a visit.
What are some of your favorite local businesses?
Sparkl! It’s a mobile carwash that cleans your car wherever you have it parked. It was created and is owned by a woman who lives in Roscoe Village. It’s saved me many times when I haven’t had time to get a car wash (think in-laws coming to town and you’ve been carpooling for hockey for the past month!). They do an AMAZING job!
Some of my favorite local restaurants are Lush, Amor & Tequila, John’s Place, & Le Sud.
Best advice you have for other moms?
Whatever parenting issue might come up (anything I’m struggling with), if I open up and share the situation with friends, I always get great advice and feel so much better about it. Likely, one of my friends has experienced a similar situation at some point and just the process of sharing in and of itself is helpful. So, my advice would be to share your parenting struggles with your support network. I’ve never regretted doing that!
Rapid Fire Round!
Where would you live if not in Chicago: Palmetto, SC–but only Jan-April; I can’t imagine not living in Chicago!
Favorite Brunch Spot: Eden
Something people would be surprised to know about you: I’m an 11 year breast cancer survivor!
Best concert you’ve been to: Tom Petty at Wrigley
If you could work at another Roscoe Village spot for a day, it would be: Reach Pilates because I enjoy going there for weekly work outs!
How do you start your day: Coffee!!
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving because we celebrate twice–once with my family in upstate New York and once with my in-laws here in Chicago