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Women and Children First Owners Win 2010 Mathiasson Award
From a News Release
2010-06-07

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Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen honored with Andersonville's award for community service

( Chicago ) The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Mathiasson Award for Community Service in Andersonville: Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen of Women and Children First Bookstore.

The award will be presented at the opening ceremonies of the Andersonville Midsommarfest street festival on Saturday, June 12 at 11:30 a.m., at the south stage, located the corner of Clark Street and Foster Avenue.

"Andersonville, and indeed, the world of independent businesses, have been deeply supported and even transformed by Ann and Linda," said Ellen Shepard, executive director of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce.

Bubon and Christophersen were considered pioneers when they moved their bookstore from Lincoln Park to Andersonville in 1990. They coordinated the move with the launch of Woman Wild, which opened next door and sold women-made arts and crafts. Book lovers, feminists, lesbians, and parents who had found a welcoming environment in the prior locations followed Women and Children First north to Andersonville, and the business enjoyed a 30% jump in its first year in Andersonville.

The bookstore's arrival helped usher in a new era of vitality for the Andersonville commercial district. Women and Children First increased the amount of foot traffic and complementary business on Clark Street. It also served as a magnet for people moving into Andersonville, reinforcing the foundation of the welcoming and vibrant neighborhood.

Women and Children First continues to strive to serve the community with book groups, readings by authors, and children's programming, in addition to carrying an outstanding collection of books and supporting a staff passionate about books and reading. Their commitment to the community runs from small to large — from volunteering for events to investing in activities for women and children. They give countless donations to charities and causes each year. They both have been active in the Chamber and volunteer for a myriad of community activities, including Midsommarfest. In 2005, they established the Women's Voices Fund to support all of their free programming. They have also demonstrated a commitment to local independent businesses on a broader scale, with Ann serving as president of the national American Booksellers Association, and both of them supporting Local First Chicago.

The Kurt Mathiasson Award for Community Service in Andersonville was established in 2000 to honor the man known affectionately as the "Mayor of Andersonville." As the founder of the Swedish American Museum and owner of Svea restaurant, Mr. Mathiasson was the driving force behind the preservation and celebration of Andersonville's Swedish culture. After his death in January, 2000, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce established the award in his honor. Each year, the Chamber bestows the award on an individual or organization who most exemplifies Kurt's devotion and commitment to the ongoing vitality of the Andersonville community.

A complete schedule of Midsommarfest events is available at www.andersonville.org .


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