The Schick family has always had a connection to the Chicago Bears.
That connection, though, grew a lot stronger after a busy Sunday last summer when a certain Bears quarterback stopped by the store.
Lauren, Schick, who also goes by the nickname ‘Lolo’, is the owner of Lolo’s Bowls – a family-run business in Libertyville, Ill. that has been serving its customers a variety of acai bowls and smoothies for the last three years.
Her father, Brian, grew up listening to Bears games on the radio in the 1970s and vividly remembers watching Walter Payton play.
After retiring from United Airlines, he decided to join the new family business, which consists of his wife Darlene (Dolly), his youngest daughter Jennifer (Jenny) and Jenny’s boyfriend Jake. Since Lolo’s Bowls has opened, there have also been employees outside of the family who have been hired.
On that Sunday last summer, Brian had a fantasy football draft and had to leave work early.
“I’m like ‘I can’t work. I need one day off. I have a fantasy football draft,’” Brian said. “So I’m at my draft here, locally, a bunch of guys and we’re drafting. Then all of a sudden, on my phone I get a text.”
Lauren texted her dad a picture of a customer’s ticket. The name on that ticket was Justin Fields. Fields and former Bears cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. stopped in to Lolo’s Bowls for the first time that Sunday and sat on the bench to eat their bowls.
Brian was of course surprised and so was Lauren.
“We thought it was going to be like a one-time thing, but then he (Fields) was coming back every few days,” Lauren said. “Then it was literally every day.”
The Bears’ franchise quarterback had soon become Lolo’s Bowls No. 1 customer. For Fields, who does follow a vegan diet, Lolo’s Bowls provides plenty of options that cater to his diet, but he also kept coming back because of one ingredient.
“It’s their granola butter,” Fields said. “That’s the best thing there. I forgot who told me about it initially, but after I went there once, I literally go there, especially in the offseason, at least five times a week.”
And, of course, Lauren and the rest of the staff know Fields’ go-to order: A Lolo’s Bowl — which contains an “acai base topped with strawberries, bananas, honey and granola,” but also topped with cacao nibs, coconut shreds and that granola butter. Now, customers can actually order their own “Fields#1” bowl.
Lauren got the idea to open up an acai bowl place of her own after coming back from a vacation to Hawaii – a trip the family had been making for the last 10 to 12 years. On one of the earlier trips, the family discovered acai bowls.
“We would come back, me and my family, and there was nowhere really around here to get an acai bowl,” Lauren said. “I was like, ‘well, let’s just do it ourselves.’”
To get an idea of how to run their first business, the Schick family received some guidance from an acai bowl shop in Arizona called “Berry Divine Acai Bowls.” The family discovered the business while they were dropping off Jenny at college.
“We talked to the guy, Todd, that was running that shop,” Brian said. “Turned out he had several places, but he is the manufacturer of the acai. We were actually his first licensee.”
And the idea for the name came from Marquone Edmonds, the head trainer at Orangetheory Fitness in Lake Forest, where Lauren used to work.
Now, cemented in the corner of the Cambridge Plaza on 854 S. Milwaukee Ave is Lolo’s Bowls – “the best acai bowl place in the country,” according to Fields.
“I think Lolo’s is different than the ones that are from around here because it’s like the soft serve consistency,” Lauren said. “A lot of them are blended bowls. What I like about ours is the thick, soft serve consistency and it’s just like fresh and consistent every time.”
And it’s more than just the actual acai that makes Lolo’s Bowls unique. It’s the people and sense of community that is represented at the store.
“That’s why I retired. It was to be with the family,” Brian said. “To me this isn’t work. This is fun. You get out there, you’re being with people, you’re with your family all the time, you’re part of the success. To me I get up I do this and to me this is like I’m on vacation permanently.”
Lauren also knew she wanted to give back when she opened up a business, and she does so by donating to the Feed My Starving Children nonprofit organization each quarter.
“She likes giving back,” Brian said. “Really proud of her for that. She’s a good one.”
And the generosity is also felt by the other Bears players who have stopped by Lolo’s Bowls.
“Shoot, I mean the service,” Bears running back Khalil Herbert said. “Everybody comes in there and makes you feel like family. Obviously the food is good, too. I can eat it every day, so it’s good.”
Graham also felt that connection with the Schick family while he was with the team. He would stop by six days out of the week sometimes and referred to Brian as “Pops” and Dolly as “Mom.”
“It feels good in aspects because they are very respectful, calm, relaxed people,” Graham said. “At the same time with Pops we will talk more about football and stuff like that. Mom, she is just Mom. And Lauren is Lauren. They were more outgoing and then we started communicating more.”
Fields has become so close with the family that they have actually watched his dog Uno for a few days when the team is on road trips.
Bears running back David Montgomery, wide receiver Darnell Mooney and offensive tackle Larry Borom have also stopped by to try out the acai bowls. Recently, too, Lolo’s Bowls has begun catering for the Bears and will stop by twice a month to deliver about 150 acai bowls to Halas Hall.
“Libertyville has been great to us and then when the fellas started coming, it just seemed like it really validated, especially with the whole social media that it picked up a lot,” Brian said. “It’s cool. I like the fact that the guys, the players, it gives them a connection to the community.”
Next up for Lolo’s Bowls is to eventually have some merchandise, and there have already been discussions about opening up another location. But that will come with time, so for now Lauren is focusing on continuing to build up the business one acai bowl at a time.
“I’m hoping we get to meet a few more players,” Lauren said. “Hopefully more come in the store. And I hope they win a Super Bowl and then say, ‘I’m coming to Lolo’s Bowls. Not Disney World. Lolo’s Bowls.’”