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In & Out Mini Mall – BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT By Jannise Bush

Andre Ware is a second-generation entrepreneur. The first black-owned bakery in Peoria (The Cookie Shack) is owned by his parents, Brenda and Lee Ware. Andre calls himself the son of The Cookie Shack, but he’s not in the cookie business. He owns the In & Out Mini Mall located at 4530 N. Brandywine Drive in Peoria.

The In & Out Mini Mall is not a typical mini mall—a large building with lots of smaller shops inside. It’s a large store with a wide variety of items for sale. The concept sort of combines the mini mall and consignment shop models. Vendors rent space for their products and Andre manages sales for them. The vendors’ only other responsibility is to promote their products.

Andre is passionate about not only being successful in business but helping others succeed as well. From the customers’ perspective, the name In & Out represents the ease of shopping. From the vendors’ perspective, the name represents the ease of starting a business on a small-scale with potential for growth into their own locations. Andre states, “What started as a hobby can become a business. This can be a testing ground. The In & Out Mini Mall also helps connect the vendors with their customers and provides networking opportunities with other small businesses.”

Andre is expanding beyond selling merchandise into offering classes on how to run a business. He also wants to partner with the school districts to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. “Not everyone will work for someone else. The Peoria area is going through a cleansing with businesses and people leaving for better opportunities. Even my three brothers have all moved away. I am hoping to help change that. I want the Peoria community to start building itself by building small businesses. We can start helping small businesses, black and white, by spending money with them. This will also create jobs and empower the community to help itself instead of waiting for big companies to see the need to return to Peoria.”

Andre started his business in early 2018, and moved to his current location in October. There are approximately 20 vendors renting space with a goal of 50. There are a wide variety of unique items available, unique because all of the vendors are artists and crafters. Vendors can rent space for $2.50 per square foot on a month-to-month basis. The In & Out Mini Mall is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

The In & Out Mini Mall also hosts events, including Family Night and Quarter Auctions. Andre also plans to partner with Activate Your Marbles to offer classes on a wide variety of topics. To see some of the items for sale, visit the In & Out Mini Mall Community Group on Facebook. To learn more about rental space, contact Andre Ware at 309-258-9542.