Beloved Small Bakery in Pilsen Fights to Stay Open

Jordyn Gaines started baking in high school, and she quickly found success, eventually making cakes for celebrities including Dwyane Wade, Steve Harvey and New Edition. “Being able to create edible art was a God-given gift,” said Gaines. “I’m self-taught.” She opened Jordy’s Cake shop in the 2100 block of South Canalport in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in 2019. Things were going well for her business, but like many she faced massive challenges just a year later when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “It brought the foot traffic in the building to a halt,” she said “Customers were cancelling cakes because venues were closing. They wanted refunds.” In 2020, Gaines did get a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Soon after, her rent went up, and Jordyn says she fell behind. She now owes $25,000 in back rent and faces eviction if it’s not paid by the end of April. “I have paid something toward my rent every month through the pandemic,” she said. “I just need a little more time.” Trying to stay afloat, she’s now focused all her attention on making what she calls Jordy Jars. “They are layers of cake and frosting in a mason jar,” she said. “This is a way to scale my business. Everyone is custom – we put our love into them.” The jars are selling fast, with her online fundraiser picking up steam. Jordyn says all she is asking her landlord for now – is a little more time to come up with her rent. “I really just want us to stay alive,” she said. “Six hundred thousand businesses closed during the pandemic and i just don’t want to be one of them.” NBC 5 reached out to Gaines’ landlord, but had not heard back when the story aired Thursday.

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