Munchiez, a Black-Owned candy bar, and cereal store is owned by Qiana Norshea and is a sweet and salty wonder-dreamland, where both children and adults can escape from life while creating beautiful and lasting memories. Amid the 2020 pandemic and economic recession, black business owner Qiana Norshea opened the novelty candy bar and cereal store in the Beverly area of Chicago. Her store offers a wide array of cereals, snacks, and delectable treats to awaken the palate. It’s a warm and bubbly place that’s inviting, a magnetic multiplicity of magic, and a sanctuary of splendor and enchantment during these difficult times.
Munchiez has already become the popular spot in town, a sweet spot Chicago, a place for the sweet tooth of our times, and heavenly sweets on earth. At Munchiez, you will find Gummy bears, licorice, lollipops, soda pop, pickles with peppermint sticks, cotton candy, cereal with multi-colored milk, ice cream shakes and sundaes, whipped cream, sprinkles, glitter, and much more.
You may want to try the savory “Walking Taco” and the cereal infused shakes, which can be a fantastic feast for the day. Make sure you come in on an empty stomach because you will walk away full. Remember to pace yourself too. It will satisfy that hunger and the rumble in your tummy. We sat down with Qiana Norshea, Founder and CEO of Munchiez, to discuss her new business.
Why did you decide to create Munchiez, and what is your motto?
QA: Munchiez was created to help teach my children about entrepreneurship. It was also one of my childhood dreams. This place is unique because the southside doesn’t have a snack/cereal bar like this. Our motto is “The place where childhood lasts forever.” When I was twelve years old, I had my first candy store two summers in a row in front of my house. Munchiez is very similar to this but on a grander scale, and it’s for both children and adults.
What is your favorite Munchiez snack or meal?
QA: The Walking Taco with chips, cheese, and meat and a shake. (You can add sour cream and salsa to your taco). My favorite cereal is Captain Crunch! We have cereal infused milkshakes, pickle and peppermint, cotton candy and pickle combo, etc. There are 33 different types of cereals, so that means every time you come, you can try something different and new. Take a look at our menu. You’ll see!
- What has been the response in the community?
QA: We have had overwhelming support for our store since it’s opening. When kids come, they want to touch and taste everything. The adults want to come in just for themselves. They want to experience it all too! Munchiez is very special because it’s nostalgic. Kids want to create memories, and adults want to remember their childhood.
- What was your immediate reaction after your store, Culture’s Closet (close proximity to Munchiez), was broken into?
QA: I was angry, hurt, and violated. There were so many ranges of emotions. I saw the group of young people break in via the store camera. My sons Keenan (20) and Kameron (16) and I jumped in the car and drove to the store. Luckily, they were gone before we got there because it could have been worse if we had gotten there because emotions were running high. I know that God was protecting us. On camera, saw that the perpetrators were some black boys and a girl directing the group what to steal. I thought, “do they know what they are doing?” Then, I realized these boys are just around the same age as my sons. Who are the parents? I wanted to teach my kids a better way and to work hard for what they need. I wanted to show them a better way. So, I opened the store despite all the obstacles and forged ahead.
I had been slated to open the store in March and February 2020, then COVID 19 hit, and we had to push back the opening. The Culture’s Closet (clothing boutique) got looted the same day as its anniversary on May 31. I didn’t want this to affect my sons negatively. I continued with my plans, and we opened Munchiez two months after the other store was damaged. I was discouraged at first, but I endured. You got to thrive and push forward, no matter what. I wanted to show my sons not to give up and that God has been so good to us. They are learning how to adjust and figure out their strengths and collectively run a family business successfully.
What message do you want to give the youth and business owners?
QA: Pay attention to what is going on around you. As black and brown people, we must respect our communities. Other businesses won’t be able to capitalize on us if we stick together. We have to mentor and inspire. We have an obligation and an opportunity to take over the world as entrepreneurs. There will be trials, but we encourage and motivate the children to do better and be better. We must fight this fight together.
What is your favorite Munchiez memory or whacky story?
QA: On our grand opening, it was so chaotic. We had a cereal eating contest of seven contestants, one woman and six men. The woman was holding her own. All of them had milk dripping down their mouths, and people were shouting and cheering them on. At the last minute, a man came in and sucked up all his cereal and milk like a vacuum. He won the $100 prize! People want to do the cereal eating contest. This is incredibly fun and brings a smile to people’s faces amid the pandemic and the economic crisis.
What do you want people to know about the woman, the mother, the entrepreneur: Qiana Norshea?
QA: I have always wanted to be a businesswoman. My uncle had a comic book series (catalogs of 20-30). I watched him and admired him growing up. Because of him, I was inspired to own businesses of my own. I want people to know I persevered, and it IS possible to achieve your dreams.