The new Evanston-based wellness hub is “dedicated to healing, wellness, and racial equity — a space co-created and owned by the community.”
To push its mission forward, the organization’s collective acquired a former potato processing plant that will undergo renovations to create a community business center, Evanston Roundtable reported. The company is excited to begin the development of its new 16,000-square-foot building after working the past few years to raise 60% of the funding needed for the $10 million financial plan with the help of donations.
“We are still raising money, but we are raising this building and today is the acknowledgment and a cause to celebrate that moment so that we can really kick it into the next gear and open these doors this time next year,” The Aux co-founder Tiffini Holmes said.
To continue their support of Black-owned businesses, The Aux partnered with Jimmy Akintonde’s management firm, Ujamaa Construction. The collaboration seems to be the perfect fit since the entrepreneur created his business with the vision of rebuilding “our community one block at a time,” according to its site.
Les Bates, VP of Ujamaa Construction, shared with the Evanston Roundtable why a working relationship with The Aux tied into the company’s core values ahead of his toast at an event commemorating the alliance.
“We feel like we’re much more than a construction company,” he said. “A lot of people like to build buildings, but we like to provide long-lasting impacts that go beyond the bricks and mortar.”
Through this project, over 10 small minority-owned businesses focused on health improvement will now have a home, and 30-plus local jobs will be available to the residents of Evanston. Some of the health and wellness businesses consumers can expect to see are Chef Q’s Kitchen, Embrace Your Crown, The Laundry Cafe, Sunshine Enterprises, TBF Diagnostic, The Growing Season, The Fitness Representatives Gym, Cielo Agave, Smooth Rx and Sokana Collective.
Carlos Callahan, the co-owner of the organic and non-GMO juice clinic Smoothie Rx, shared the goal franchise’s goal is to provide more nutritious food options.
“The Black community is plagued with all types of unhealthy options,” he told the Evanston Roundtable. “Most of us don’t know what sugar does to the body. Most of us eat an [unhealthy] amount of sugar … so we just want to be conscious of that here and also deliver that message to the people so they can be conscious of it, too.”
The Aux is expected to be open for business next summer. To stay informed about the work they’re doing or donate, check out the video below and the website.