Despite facing the challenging landscape of post-pandemic business closures and financial strain, Mary Mucci’s art studio, ‘Mucci World,’ has not only survived but thrived, showcasing remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of adversity. SDA is proud to have been of assistance on her journey to success.

Mucci’s entrepreneurial journey, epitomizing resilience and dedication, has brought her art studio to the forefront of wellness and creativity in the Tinley Park community since 2015. Named in honor of her father, Mucci World’s unique approach has profoundly impacted lives throughout the south suburban city, offering solace to individuals facing various challenges, from battling dementia to navigating custody battles.

Mucci’s journey has been marked by determination and compassion. Through the years, Mucci, the second of six children, paved her path as an entrepreneur. From a young age, she worked as her father’s secretary, with a little pink notebook in hand.

“It kind of grew in me—and I began to dream,” she said, reflecting on entrepreneurship and her childhood.

In 1999, Mucci founded Mucci’s Sensational Events. Her first event, which she described as, “a disaster,” did not deter her. She pivoted to hosting business expos in various malls throughout the Chicagoland area. 

“I called it A to Z Business Expo,” she explained. A to Z Business Expo wasn’t a non-profit, but in ways, it operated like one. Often, Mucci would offer free expo spots to aspiring artists and entrepreneurs. 

Later, she opened a gift shop—but a big-box store across the street would put her on the brink of going out of business. The turning point came when Mucci’s grandson, Jovanni Hall, inspired her to change the business to an Arts & Crafts Studio, her greatest entrepreneurial success yet. With unwavering support from Mucci’s mother and children, the studio underwent a remarkable evolution, offering arts and crafts, and serving as a venue for celebrations and events. Mucci’s daughters take charge of managing the two locations, while her son specializes in crafting ceramics, and another son handles logistics.

In August of 2023, Mucci was able to open a second location in Lombard, IL and is happy to report that revenue in that location is quickly approaching the same level of revenue of her Tinley Park location. Mucci has also been able to retain all 8 of her employees across both locations and is looking to contract two additional artists. Through her partnership with the SDA, Mucci is not only securing the stability and growth of Mucci World but also contributing to the cultural and creative enrichment of the community. The forthcoming Mental Health Awareness Month event, co-hosted by Mucci and the SDA, exemplifies their shared commitment to holistic well-being and community engagement.

“The SDA has been very helpful,” said Mucci, specifically pointing to her interactions with Marisela Zambrano, a Relationship Manager at the SDA. “She’s been working so hard to get me some help.”

Since April 2023, Mucci has received no cost business advising services from SDA’s Relationship Manager, Marisela Zambrano.  Zambrano spearheaded a period of strategic introspection and forward-thinking initiatives aimed at fortifying Mucci World’s resilience and propelling it towards new heights of success. Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, Zambrano meticulously identified areas ripe for enhancement within Mucci World’s operational framework. Recognizing the importance of amplifying Mucci World’s outreach and engagement efforts, Zambrano guided Mucci in the development and implementation of a dynamic marketing strategy focused on inclusivity and community.  This strategy aimed to engage diverse groups, including veterans and individuals with disabilities, through strategic partnerships with relevant organizations.

Zambrano also played a vital role in enhancing Mucci World’s financial management practices, emphasizing the importance of prudent financial decisions and facilitating connections with expert consultants. Recognizing the need to strengthen her financial capabilities, Mucci embraced the opportunity to work with Ringold Financial Management Services, facilitated by Zambrano, to address her tax preparation and financial statement needs. Marking an important milestone, this collaboration not only alleviated financial burdens but also empowered Mucci to make informed decisions for her business’s future.  With the unwavering support of Marisela Zambrano, Mucci received expert guidance and resources to navigate financial challenges. 

Mucci’s altruistic spirit and recognition of the therapeutic power of art have not only shaped Mucci World’s mission but also its impact on the community. Beyond financial success, Mucci’s focus remains on enriching lives and fostering cultural growth.

Zambrano remarked, “Her courage and determination serve as an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs. I admire Mary’s fearless spirit in expanding her business to a new location in Lombard.”

In partnership with the Southland Development Authority, Mary Mucci continues to inspire and uplift, proving that with determination and support, even the most challenging journeys can lead to success.

About Southland Development Authority

The Southland Development Authority is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, and real estate. Our mission is to bring the resources and capacity needed to achieve transformative, inclusive economic growth for the south suburbs with a focus on investments in the Southland’s communities, industry, housing, and workforce.

We work steadfastly to connect Southland business owners, investors, and individuals with key resources to operate and thrive in the region, from equipping mid-size and small businesses in our Business Growth services Program with customized advice and consulting services, to helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With a deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history and our multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.

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