In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Navy Pier is highlighting some of the fierce, female business owners on the Pier, including Stephanie Hart of Brown Sugar Bakery, Colleen Flaherty of Tiny Tavern, Nakamol Sussman of Nakamol Chicago, Sandy Shrestha of Fashion Bazaar, and Alix Record of Sitara. Each of these businesses contributes to the success of the Pier and to Chicago’s unique cultural landscape.
Stephanie Hart, a 2019 James Beard Award semi-finalist, is the founder and owner of Brown Sugar Bakery. Inspired by her grandmother’s at-home bakery recipes, Hart opened the first Brown Sugar Bakery in 2004 on 75th and Calumet Ave in Chicago. Her unique flavors soon became a hit.
In 2016, Navy Pier welcomed Hart’s business. The kiosk serves staples like her award-winning caramel cake, a wide-selection of cupcakes, bread pudding and more! Brown Sugar Bakery at Navy Pier is open year-long, which means guests can enjoy the sweet life whenever they visit.
Hart is the definition of a boss-woman! You can often find her and her husband, who also shares a love for desserts, behind the glass at Navy Pier. Both are committed to ensuring that every delicious treat includes the extra special ingredient: love.
Colleen Flaherty is the co-founder and owner of Tiny Tavern, an upscale, trendy restaurant at Navy Pier. It’s also the first and only crafted cocktail destination at Navy Pier.
Opened since 2016 at the Pier, Tiny Tavern offers eclectic cuisine. It is an extension of the beloved Tiny Lounge, a sleek bar with a cult-like following, formerly located in the North Center neighborhood. Tiny Tavern is the perfect location for group gatherings, intimate events or large parties.
Come during lunch, happy hour or at night. Some of the must-try menu items at Tiny Tavern are their famous Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, Sweet Potato Empanadas and their signature house-made Subourbon.
Nakamol Sussman is the founder and owner of Nakamol Chicago, a Chicago-based, handcrafted jewelry brand, offering fashionable accessories that compliment the femininity of all women at reasonable prices.
Inspired by women around the world, her mission is to celebrate femininity and promote an appreciation and pride that arises when wearing a well-made, handcrafted item from natural materials.
A Thailand-native, Sussman came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree. Her love of fashion and need for maintaining a steady income led her to sell jewelry throughout Chicago. In 2010, she changed her business’ name to “Nakamol Chicago” to show she is a true Chicago-native.
Sandy Shrestha is the owner of Fashion Bazaar, a boutique offering a selection of the finest Indian rayon, silk, cotton, and tie-dye clothing along with rich tapestries and other lifestyle artifacts originating from India. The boutique also provides a range of contemporary jewelry and fashion accessories from around the world that is hand-picked by Shrestha herself through her travels to India.
Shrestha has been on the Pier for 24 years. With humble beginnings as a cart vendor at Navy Pier, she now operates her own large-scale kiosk in the newly renovated Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion.
Shrestha is grateful for the many opportunities that have risen at her business at Navy Pier. She loves to educate people on her culture and appreciates the ability to share her knowledge with the diverse guests the Pier attracts.
Alix Record owns Sitara, a kiosk dedicated to the craft of henna tattooing and selling Indian accessories. Guests can choose from an array of scarves, bracelets and rings at affordable prices. Plus, there are hundreds of henna designs to choose from.
When asked how she started her business, Record explained that it was a personal hobby. She later made it into a business after practicing on friends.
Her passion is reflected in her work as she often wears her hennas with pride. If you’re at the Pier, you might even catch her practicing some designs on herself!