‘Secret Millionare’ keeps gluten-free bakery in Evanston from closing

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It’s not quite a ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ but a story of hope is unfolding this Christmas Eve in Evanston.

Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery and Cafe would have closed up shop Monday if it hadn’t been for customers and donors coming together to save it.

Closing on Christmas Eve would put the shop’s 22 employees out of work, and deprive people with food allergies from having the tasty, special restaurant food.

“We drive all the way from Crystal Lake, which is over an hour away. And we don’t have anything out there where we can eat like this,” said customer Holly Maychszak.

But in the spirit of the season, a kind stranger stepped up — someone who recognized a good business deal when he saw one. His name is Marcus Lemonis.

“He called and then he said, ‘Well, I’ll take care of everything,'” said owner Rosemarie O’Carroll. “And I was like, ‘Well what does that mean?’ you know?”

What it meant was that Lemonis was going to write O’Carroll a very large check: “He’s writing a check for $200,000.”

Lemonis is the CEO of Camping World. He has also appeared on the TV show “Secret Millionaire,” meaning he is no stranger to wonderful deeds. He made O’Carroll a partner, paying the bills and clearing away the debt. Now he plans to help the business turn a profit.

“This is a business investment as well. So as I said to Rose, ‘I’m glad we’re staying open, I’m glad the employees are all keeping their jobs, but we’re going to have to figure out how to make money,’” Lemonis said.

“We’re all very happy here. The people, customers are coming in and high fiving,” O’Carroll said.

“A lot of people came to pick up the product today, whether its quiches or desserts, a lot of folks would not have had this on their Christmas table and for me that’s enjoyable,” Lemonis said.

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