2024 Women-Owned Businesses in Old Town

This Women’s History Month, OTMRA has compiled a list of some of our women-owned and women-led member businesses to check out and support; not just this month, but all throughout the year! Make sure to pay them a visit and learn a little more about their businesses below:

An Old Town staple for many years, Sara Plocker, the proprietor of Sara Jane on Wells Street, shows her passion for her community through her boutique, and in her every day life.

In June 2001, Sara Jane opened and made an immediate impact in the vast landscape of traditional, homogenous Chicago boutiques. Sara Jane’s unique twist on boutique shopping, offering unique items, high fashion styles at affordable prices and unparalleled customer service in an unpretentious setting quickly set itself apart from the competition.

Sara Jane carries an eclectic array of dresses in all styles and sizes, jewelry priced to fit any budget, standout tops, great denim lines and hottest new accessories. With new merchandise arriving daily, you never know what you will find.

Sara loves curating novelty items for her boutique that will make you laugh, smile, and help you find the perfect gift for loved ones. The items she chooses are a window into the sweet, funny, and wonderful person she is.


Another long-time resident of Old town, Lori Allen is a renowned Midwestern photographer best known for her work for the hit NBC TV show Chicago PD. She has worked in the film industry for the past 25 years on major motion pictures including My Best Friend’s Wedding, Miracle on 34th Street ,Dennis the Menace, Home Alone, While You Were Sleeping, Amityville Horror, Derailed, and Fred Claus – to name a few. For these films, her work ranged from set decor to work in wardrobe, props and make-up departments.

Lori is proud to continue working on her passion project entitled “a beautiful vibe” With a mission to empower women and connect them with their inner beauty, Lori has done a number of photography projects designed to capture a woman’s spirit in a feminine, empowering and tasteful way. Lori also has a personal connection to OTMRA, snapping shots at countless neighborhood events. If you need a photographer for a wedding, family photos, an updated headshot, or for any other of the countless experiences to be captured, look no further than Lori.

At Elevate Dental Wellness, Dr. Suzie Larsen approaches each patient’s dental health with total

wellness in mind. When it comes to oral issues, Dr. Larsen treats the underlying cause rather than just the symptoms, with a focus on prevention and education to help patients live their happiest, healthiest life.

Elevate Dental Wellness is a female-owned group of dental professionals who take pride in providing the most comfortable and anxiety free dental visit. Dr. Suzie Larsen went into dentistry after working in market research and legal field because she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by transforming their oral health. Dr. Larsen started her career treating pediatric patients and served her community by helping populations that lacked access and affordability. Dr. Larsen truly enjoys creating long term relationships with patients and their families and friends.

Dr. Larsen lives in the Old Town neighborhood and visits the Lincoln Park Zoo or the farmer’s market with her husband and two kids. Happy smiles stem from the whole-body health, so call her today to book an appointment!

Coming this summer to 1543 N Wells…

A new and used bookstore owned by Old Town resident Jessica Murach — a former English teacher and eternal book lover. This garden-level community space will serve as an enclave for open discussions, quiet reading by the fire, and casual book browsing. It will be a place of curiosity and creativity for folks of all ages. The inventory will feature secondhand (used) books as a means of promoting environmental sustainability. (There is also something magical about combing through the stacks to find a gem!) Additionally, the store will showcase recycled paper products and local gift items.

The store is set to open June 2024.


Happy International Women‘s Month!

Vision Boutique in Old Town is proud to spotlight Dr. Helen Tzanetakos, co-owner of Vision Boutique. Her dedication, passion, and leadership at Vision Boutique inspire us all. Vision Boutique is proud to highlight and celebrate Dr. Helen and the countless other  women entrepreneurs shaping our world. Here’s to empowering women and their remarkable contributions!

Need a vision exam? Come see their team at 1224 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610.

Kamehachi – Chicago’s oldest sushi restaurant – has been run by three generations of women, starting with Marion Konishi who opened the restaurant in 1967 with her cousin at its first location in Old Town. Marion settled in Chicago after World War II and made daily trips to O’Hare Airport to pick up fish that had been flown in. She was later honored for her remarkable impact on the community in 2008 with a street dedication of “Marion Konishi Way” at the corner of Schiller & Wells. Now, her daughter and grand-daughter are still running the restaurant – and carrying on Marion’s tradition.

Barbara Glunz-Donovan, a member of the third generation of House of Glunz, grew up on the second floor of the historical House of Glunz building at 1206 N. Wells. According to Chicago Architecture Center, the House of Glunz has been family-operated for 135 years, making it the oldest business in Old Town and oldest wine and spirits store in the US.


In 2012, her son and partner, Christopher spearheaded the reopening of the neighboring Glunz Tavern, closed since Prohibition. Historic decor and artifacts, many of which are over 100 years old, were re-discovered when the tavern was restored and reopened. The Tasting Room is a treasure trove of hand-carved furniture and drinkware from the neighborhood’s German past. It serves as a time machine that immerses you into the journey of Barbara’s grandfather Louis Glunz Sr. from Westphalia, Germany to post-great fire Chicago.


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is a successful nationwide woman-owned business that has been in Old Town since 2017. Jeni Britton started making ice cream in 1996, as a 22-year-old art and art history student.


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams officially opened in November 2002 in Columbus, Ohio. For years, Jeni worked the counter, tweaking her recipes, and scooping for long lines of customers. Today, Jeni’s has more than 65 stores nationwide and a strong presence in grocery stores across the country.