CHICAGO As Black History Month comes to a close, WGN takes a look at a coffee shop that has continued to persevere through nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Western Avenue near Polk Street sits Muse Coffee Studio, where George Davis Jr. is pouring up lavender lattes and much more.

“You come in for the coffee and you stay for the experience,” Davis Jr. said,

Davis Jr. said the seeds of his business were planted when he was an undergraduate student, aspiring to transfer his business vision into a comfortable coffee shop.

“The biggest thing was just for me, not having come from a situation where certain information was readily accessible or having somebody who has been through or who has done it before. I had access to ask questions so a lot of times you just don’t know what you don’t know,” Davis Jr. said.

Muse opened in the middle of the pandemic’s uncertainty, a time that has proven to be especially detrimental to Black-owned businesses, which saw a 41% decline at the start of the pandemic.

But since then, the numbers are rebounding.

“The increase in Black businesses was about 38% and Latino businesses was 52%, but one of the things that we’re seeing is that these businesses increase out of necessity and not necessarily out of opportunity,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.

Freeman-Wilson, also a member of the Kauffman Foundation’s Mayors’ Council, says they are working to provide critical support to help businesses succeed.

“Black businesses need your support 365 days of the year and that’s something that we’ve been very intentional about,” she said. 

Muse shares a space with the art of gallery and is also hosting a pop-up shop for Latrina Spaulding’s Chicago Culture.

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Davis Jr. said he hopes to continue centering culture, community and kindness all-around coffee.

“The biggest thing that I wish for Muse is that we can continue to grow in a way that allows for more partnerships, more collaboration, more opportunity to engage with the community both locally and beyond in a way that continues to inspire people to do great things,” Davis Jr. said.