IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship

Success Stories


After years of waiting, hoping, dreaming, planning and praying, Denise Nicholes and Julie Welborn have opened the doors to Perfect Peace Café & Bakery.  When customers walk through those doors, they not only enter a friendly, bright, clean eatery, but also a new era for a beleaguered block in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

The block where Denise and Julie rented space was a series of empty storefronts in a neighborhood that residents and block clubs have been slowly reclaiming from gangs.  With true entrepreneurial vision, Julie and Denise saw a host of opportunities there:  an opportunity to serve customers who did not have many local options for good food; an opportunity to rent and renovate two storefronts in their price range; an opportunity to combine Julie’s managerial experience with Denise’s culinary training; and an opportunity to initiate a positive change in the neighborhood where they go to church.

In March 2006, when they came to the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship for help negotiating the lease, Julie and Denise planned to open Perfect Peace in June of that year.  But setbacks and delays began to multiply.... Read More



Chicago entrepreneur Shawn Smith received free legal help at the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneur-ship at the University of Chicago Law School to develop and organize his business.


IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship client Shawn Smith specializes in transforming mundane or unappealing things into whimsical, plush toys. The characters are called Shawnimals, of course.

Shawnimals started as a fun pastime, grew into a hobby and is now a serious business.  In 2006, the small company run by Smith and his wife, Jen Brody, sold more than 5,000 hand-made Shawnimals, far more than doubling the sales of the previous year.  The Shawnimals website regularly receives 2,000 visitors per day.  In December, as the holidays approached, the growing company was featured in The New York Times and the Chicago Sun-Times.  Mentions on blogs and websites further propelled Shawnimal’s popularity. ... Read More

Among the many stars in the constellation of clients at the IJ Clinic, none shines brighter than Carmen and McKinley Wells, the brother and sister entrepreneurs and owners of Chicago’s McKinley Design Ltd. The company designs, fabricates and installs handmade furniture for residential and commercial clients.


Entrepreneurs Carmen and McKinley Wells turned to the IJ Clinic for legal advice. They are among the dozens of inner-city small business people the Clinic has assisted since its founding in 1998.

McKinley Wells, the founder, president and principal designer, studied theatre at Columbia College. He began to design furniture as a side job while designing commercial studio sets and received encouraging responses to his work from architects and interior designers. He followed his entrepreneurial and artistic urge to found the company in 1999 and has not looked back since.

Carmen Wells soon moved to Chicago from the family’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich., to lend her organizational, marketing and financial expertise and her unflappable energy to the venture.

The IJ Clinic helped Carmen and McKinley perform a corporate reorganization that will make Carmen a shareholder and continues to offer critical advice on sales as well as other contract and regulatory issues. The Clinic has advised the company how to protect its unique designs.

The IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship is the nation’s first program to help those entrepreneurs seeking to develop businesses in the private sector on the basis of their own energy and ingenuity, rather than those depending on government grants. It is a pleasure and privilege to help entrepreneurs who are as dedicated, talented and hardworking as Carmen and McKinley, to see their dream of economic freedom increasingly realized. One of the “problems” accompanying Carmen and McKinley’s success is deciding just how big to grow. McKinley expresses the desire to generate a steadily high level of profitability without work becoming a steady grind and without losing creative fulfillment.

With the well-deserved growth of their reputation and continued assistance from our Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, the biggest problem Carmen and McKinley will likely face as they near a point of economic self-sufficiency from the Clinic’s free legal services is finding time to take a vacation.

“Tasty Delite's Darryl Brown had drive, charisma, and the downhome version of Shake 'n Bake. All he needed was a little expert help from a group of U. of C. students.”
—The Chicago Reader, With Liberty and Law Advice for All,
November 24, 2000

Mr. Darryl Brown and his partner Michael Davis were entrepreneurial clients of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship located at The University of Chicago Law School. These two aspiring entrepreneurs are both members of a startup business named Tasty Delite International, Ltd. which sells the product Tasty Delite Seasoned Coating Mix. The seasoned coating mixture is designed to add a distinctive flavor to foods; provide evenly blended seasonings; and produce a coating for both baked and fried poultry, seafood, red meat and vegetables.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Davis launched the business in 1998 after sharing their desire to mass market a family recipe to Patricia Lee, Director of The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJCE) and to law students who were participating in the program. "Our goals are to develop a global market, develop new products and provide employment opportunities for the community", says Darryl Brown.

IJCE was listening. Today, Tasty Delite Seasoned Coating Mix can be purchased at Walgreen's, Jewel's, Dominick's and many of your finer food stores throughout the Chicagoland area. For more information on how to bring Tasty Delite Seasoned Coating Mix to your state, call Tasty Delite 773-483-7380.

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